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Busan I-Park vs. FC Seoul: Prediction and Preview

(from FCSeoul.com)
Seoul and Busan play for the third and final time this year on Wednesday.  Seoul currently sits in sixth place right now tied on points with Seongnam and Jeonnam, but because of their inability to score goals this year they occupy an inferior position in the table.  Pohang, the team that just won't die, are third at 40 points.  Therefore, if Seoul wants to keep pace and finish in the top three, only a win will do.

Really, this a game they should absolutely win.  Even though they are on the road and Busan has everything to play for, this is still a game that Seoul must take all three points from if they want to be considered contenders.  There are no excuses for Seoul to drop points tomorrow.

Last year against Gyeongnam, the team relegated via the playoff, Seoul did not get it done.  They played three times and all three meetings resulted in draws.  That is not good enough for a top team.  Anyways, on to the preview.

(It's not a train wreck, it's just your season- from online-instagram.com)
Busan's Season 2015

Their season up until now can be described in a word- shit.  Their season has been a textbook example of how not to do things.  It has just been an absolute disaster- a massive fire within a plane crash within a typhoon within a tsunami within an earthquake followed by an alien invasion and the apocalypse.

They started out alright, winning their first game against Daejeon and drawing against Jeju on the road.  After that though, it has been all downhill.  From March 21st until April 19th, they lost five games in a row.  The ship was steadied a bit after that but the results were still not great- draw, win, loss, etc.  That seemed to be the calm before the storm though.  From June 20th until July 8th, they had another five game losing streak.  This is obviously the reason that Busan is in 11th and a strong contender for the relegation playoff decider.

However, even though they have been terrible and had two five game losing streaks, they are only four points behind Ulsan.  If Busan had won Sunday night's game against Ulsan, they would have only been a single point behind them.  Instead, they drew, throwing away a two goal lead to a team with ten men.  Surely team spirit cannot be high in the locker room after that result.

Oh, they have already fired one coach (http://www.kleagueunited.com/2015/07/yoon-sung-hyo-is-sacked.html) and brought in five new faces during the transfer window.  Their top signing was a guy named Bill.  When I think of the name Bill, I think of this guy below, not someone who could score 15 to 20 goals in a season.

(from Youtube- Bill Nye, The Science Guy)
This seems to be a team that is in obvious panic and does not know what to do.  This is why, again, I say that Seoul should have no excuses for leaving with anything less than all three points.

(Ah, the glory days- from FCSeoul.com)
Head-to-Head Match-ups

http://www.soccerpunter.com/soccer-statistics/Korea-Republic/K-League-Classic-2015/head_to_head_statistics/all/1375_Busan_I%27Park/1381_FC_Seoul

Team                   Win            Draw          Loss           Goals Scored           Goals Against
Seoul                    20                 13               9                    1.52                          0.95
Busan                     9                 13             20                    0.95                          1.52

04/11/2012          Busan    0-0    Seoul 
07/26/2012          Seoul     6-0    Busan 
09/16/2012          Busan    0-2    Seoul
12/02/2012          Seoul     2-1    Busan  
03/17/2013          Busan    1-0    Seoul 
06/23/2013          Seoul     1-0    Busan  
09/08/2013          Busan    0-0    Seoul   
11/24/2013          Seoul     3-2    Busan  
03/23/2014          Seoul     0-1    Busan
08/10/2014          Busan    0-2    Seoul
10/26/2014          Seoul     1-1    Busan
05/10/2015          Busan    0-1    Seoul  
06/17/2015          Seoul     0-0    Busan

Last Matches

This will be the third and final time these teams meet up this year.  Unless Seoul's form goes to absolute shit, they should be in the top six when the split happens in October.  I cannot imagine any scenario where Busan will finish in the top six this year.

Here is what I wrote for my preview when they played May 10th:
In the table, Seoul sits 10th and Busan sits 11th, so again this is a massive game for both teams.  Each needs three points to arrest their current slides down the table.  
Seoul won that game 1-0, but I felt they were lucky to come away with all three points.  Koh Myong-jin scored the winning goal that day and then Seoul sat back and defended.  Seoul got lucky as Yoon Dong-min's shot  hit the bar in the 88th minute after he got past both Lee Woong-hee and Kim Nam-chun.

After that, Seoul began to play better and climb up the table.  Looking back, I feel like this was a big win for them this year.  Before this game, there was not much that had gone positively for Seoul, especially in the league.  From there, they went on to win four of their next five games and things were looking good until the two teams met again on June 17th.

That game finished nil-nil and one more time, I felt as though Seoul was lucky to even come away with a point.  Lee Woong-hee had a nightmare that game as both Bae Cheon-seok and Weslley were able to get past him and had good opportunities to score.  Seoul's best chance came via Park Chu-young of course.  He was through on goal in the 83rd minute but was halted when Busan's keeper Lee Bum-young took him out but was somehow not whistled for a foul.

From there, Seoul's form became a bit erratic.  They would win one, draw two, lose one, draw two,etc.  It seems as though they have righted the ship a bit, winning their last two.  If they win on Wednesday, that will be three on the bounce.

(from namu.wiki)

Players to Watch

Obviously, Weslley is the player to watch.  He is their leading scorer this year with eight goals overall (seven in the league) and in the last contest between these two teams, seemed most likely the player on the pitch to score.  He also scored twice against Ulsan on Sunday, with the second one being quite a beauty.

Busan's next leading scorer is midfielder Ju Se-jong with two goals.  He has played in pretty much all of their league games this year, so I would say he seems pretty indispensable for them.  Besides that though, no one else really jumps out at me.  Right now they probably wish that Fagner had stayed.

It will be interesting to see if Iwamura decides to play the new signings Bill and Elias Fernandes.  No matter what, I think whoever plays on the left wing for Busan will cause Seoul's defenders fits.  I am sure the plan will be to run at Lee Woong-hee if they have the ball.

Line-up

FC Seoul 3-5-2 football formation

Choi Yong-soo this season has been to stick with what works.  I think the same lineup that played on Wednesday's game will start against Busan.  This is an important game and I think he will elect to go with a full strength team and then rotate against Daejeon on Saturday.

However, it would not surprise me if Molina was on the bench and Go Yo-han returned as a starter.  Likewise, I can see Ko Kwang-min getting some time on the pitch as well at the expense of either Sim Sang-min or Cha Du-ri.

Does anyone know what is going on with Kim Chi-woo?  I was surprised that he did not start against Ulsan.

Prediction

On Friday, I wrote a piece about the lack of winning streaks for Seoul as of late.  Here is the link (http://www.kleagueunited.com/2015/08/todays-topic-winning-streaks.html).  Basically, Seoul had 5 streaks of three or more games won in 2012 and a seven game winning streak in 2013.  Since then, it has not been so great.  There were two 3 game winning streaks last year and only one three game winning streak this year.

Having won their last two games against Incheon and Ulsan, this is a great opportunity to gain some momentum and make it three in a row.  Afterwards on Saturday, they play Daejeon, who are the worst team in the league and Jeju the following week.  Considering the success that Seoul has had against Daejeon and Jeju, it is not inconceivable that they could be sitting on a five game winning streak next week.

In September, is going to be a much tougher run of games.  Pohang is at home on the 9th of September, and then they play Jeonbuk and Suwon on the road on consecutive weekends.  Seongnam, Gwangju, and Jeonnam are Seoul's final opponents, all at home, but none of them suffering from the doldrums that Busan and Daejeon are right now.  That is why I think this next week will be a critical one for Seoul's seasons.

Both times, I have gotten my prediction wrong.  The first time, I predicted that Seoul would lose 2-0 and the second time I said Seoul would gut out a 1-0 win.  This time, I am not sure, but I going to go with a victory.  Somehow, some way, they will score two goals, and with a little luck defending, they will walk away winners.

Final Score: Busan 1 - 2 Seoul

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