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Busan I'Park vs Jeonnam Dragons Preview

(photo via dragons.co.kr)

The 7th place Dragons visit Busan looking for their first win in August and a chance to get back above the dividing line before it's too late.

As the month of July came to a close the Jeonnam Dragons were sitting pretty in third place. They had just managed a rare win against Jeju at home and were flying high heading into an extended break. I was personally about to embark on a somewhat lengthy holiday and wouldn't be in the country to watch the majority of their August matches. However, I felt confident with their chances against "lesser" opponents Incheon and Gwanju, and felt the Jeonbuk and Pohang matches could be a great way to solidify top three standing.

I've been wrong before... but not like this.

The Dragons are winless in the month of August, have mustered up all of one goal through four matches, and now find themselves on the wrong side of the dividing line late in the season. The usually potent offensive Chimera that was Mislav Oršić, Lee Jong-ho, and Stevica Ristić went cold and with them may have gone the Dragons chances of earning a Champions League birth through the league. As always, there is some hope to be had. They can still qualify for the Champions League by winning the FA Cup, which they have a very real shot of doing, and the league won't be too bad the rest of the way. They're currently five points behind surging Seongnam, but have a relatively light schedule ahead. Busan (11th), Seongnam (3rd), Daejeon (12th), and Ulsan (10th) all lie in wait for the Dragons and could be the whipping boys the team needs to push back up the table.

First up is the relegation scuffling Busan IPark, a team desperate for a win to give themselves hope of staying up. They currently sit five points behind 10th place Ulsan and freedom from the playoff game against a K-League Challenge team. While it's a home game for IPark, that doesn't exactly do them a world of favors. They've conceded at least one goal in each of their previous seven home games and at least one in 86% of their home games this season. Not surprisingly this has led to Busan losing 64% of their home games in 2015 and a goals conceded mark that's only better than last place Daejeon's. If ever there were a favorable road match-up for the Dragons to get off the schneid, this is it.

But there's a bit of a caveat. 67% of Jeonnam's points have come at home this year and they've struggled quite mightily on the road. They've only picked up 10 of a possible 39 points on the road thus far and are below the league average in points per game, goals scored, and goals conceded on the road. Though the Dragons scored six in their previous five road matches, half of them were in the 3-2 win at Daejeon which was the lone victory in a 1-2-2 away stretch. Add in the fact that the Dragons have failed to score five of the thirteen times they've been on the road and things don't look all that great.

While Jeonnam's road struggles are nothing new, Dragons fans only need remind themselves this is Busan they're playing. IPark has a 1.71 goals conceded average at Asiad Stadium and has only held two clean sheets there all season. Their biggest home win was a 2-1 affair with Daejeon on July 15th, which was their first home victory since June 3rd against Ulsan. While it could be argued that they're due for their monthly home win, it seems unlikely that the Dragons have slid quite far enough to let that happen.

In all likelihood, if Jeonnam sticks to their average time of scoring within the first 40 minutes on the road they should come away with at least one point. If they really get back in the saddle and score more than one goal, three points will assuredly be on the bus home with them. Personally, I don't think they have quite that much in em, but they'll get all three points anyway.

Prediction: Busan IPark 0-1 Jeonnam Dragons

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