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How Things have Changed Part 6: Formations

I have written about the coach, what has gone right, the defense, midfield,and attack.  Now,  the final post will be about the formations that Seoul has played.

Formation and Results

Game                       Team                     Formation                      Result   
 1st                           Ulsan                      4-2-3-1                        2-0 (L)
 2nd                         Jeonbuk                  4-2-3-1                        1-2 (L)
 3rd                          Pohang                   4-2-3-1                        2-1 (L)

Seoul started the season playing 4-2-3-1.  In the first three games, Seoul only played well against Jeonbuk and that was in the first half.  Against Ulsan they were poor and against Pohang, they had chances late, but deserved to lose.  It was clear that they lacked creativity in the midfield since very few shooting chances were created.  Molina started on the bench in all three games but at some point, was subbed in. 

 4th                          Jeju                         4-3-3                           1-0 (W)
 5th                          Incheon                   4-3-3                           1-1
 6th                          Daejeon                  4-2-3-1                        1-0 (W)
 7th                          Suwon                     4-3-3                           5-1 (L)

After losing their first three, Seoul then shifted to a 4-3-3 and played that way for three of the next four games until they were decimated by Suwon and in the next four games.  Molina returned to the starting line-up in three of the four games, and even though he was Seoul's best player, there was little he could do to remedy Seoul's offensive struggles.  Just like in the first three games, very few chances were created.  Against Incheon, they scored from a penalty and struggled to get a result at home against the league's worst team Daejeon.

 8th                          Gwangju                  3-5-2                           1-1
 9th                          Seongnam                4-3-3                           1-1
10th                         Busan                      3-5-2                            0-1 (W)
11th                         Jeonnam                  4-5-1                            3-0 (W)

In the next four games, Choi tinkered with his formation and line-ups quite a bit.  On the road, he went with three in the back against Gwangju and Busan.  At home, he played with four in the back against Seongnam and Jeonnam.  I would say the results were mixed.

Seoul were lucky to get a point against both Gwangju and Seongnam as both of these teams, who I expected Seoul would beat, outplayed them.  Seoul then beat Busan and Jeonnam, but I would say neither win was convincing.  Against Busan, they scored and did their best to let them equalize, but Busan wasn't up to the task and ballsed it up.  In the Jeonnam game, they had a phantom goal and own goal stake them to a big lead.  From there, they did their best to let Jeonnam back in the game, but Jeonnam were feeling generous towards their hosts that day.

As with the first seven games, Seoul still struggled to create chances.  Whether that was down to a lack of movement from the forwards or midfield creativity, I could not decide.  Still to get eight points out of twelve was a good return and a step in the right direction.

12th                         Ulsan                       3-4-3                            0-0  
13th                         Incheon                    3-5-2                           1-0 (W)
14th                         Jeonbuk                   3-5-2                           1-2 (W)
15th                         Daejeon                   3-5-2                           1-2 (W)
16th                         Busan                      3-5-2                            0-0

In the last five games, Seoul has been better.  They really should have beat Ulsan at home, but a great save on a Jung Jo-gook header preserved the tie.  Against Incheon, they labored to create anything of note and were fortunate to score the goal they did, but you have to take the chances when they come.  They shocked Jeonbuk in Jeonju and made a phenomenal comeback against Daejeon in their stadium.  They were flat against Busan and were lucky that Weslley didn't score, but the same could be said about Park Chu-young.  On another day, if the ref were feeling EXTREMELY generous, he might have won a PK.    

So it would seem that Seoul's ideal formation allows for three defenders, three midfielders, and two strikers.  I do not think Seoul has anyone, outside of Park Chu-young, who can play alone at the top.  Even he, I suspect, plays better with a partner.  So therefore, even though I am not a fan of this formation, I think it is the optimal one right now until they improve in midfield.  

Seoul has improved so much with regards to league position.  They have been better as the year has went on, but a lot of that is probably down to the lack of quality in their opponents.  That being said, with the exception of the Suwon game, the results have steadily improved even if the performances have not.

There is some cliche about champions winning even when they play poorly, so I would like to take comfort in that.  However, Wednesday's game against Busan is one where Seoul, if they want to compete for the top spot, must win.  Far too often last year during their streak where they did not lose last year, Seoul still dropped points against teams at the bottom of the league.  Rather than winning, many of those were draws..  It was good enough to finish third, but as I have said before, that was down to luck and Pohang's collapse.

I like how things look in the league right now.  They sitting in third place and are in striking distance with a lot of games left to play.  However,  it could go all tits up this Saturday if Seoul loses to Jeonnam.

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