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Will $h*tember ever end?

(from Ilovefcseoul.tistory.com)
This year has been quite frustrating.  When I write Seoul off, they proceed to play football of the most sublime quality such as against Jeju and Incheon in July and Suwon last week (a bit of a stretch- they just play better).  When I big them up, they go to shit.  I just don't know any more.

Last year, Seoul was pretty dull and a difficult proposition to digest usually.  However, I gave Choi Yong-soo the benefit of the doubt because the team had lost Dejan and Ha Dae-sung and Adi had retired.  In other words it was a year of transition.  I really think that this should not be the case this year.

So, how has Seoul progressed this year?  During these last two seasons, it feels as though there has been no progress whatsoever.  In some ways, it feels as if there has been a bit of regression.  Let's compare how Seoul did in 2014 before the split and this year how they have done before the split will occur.

Record Before the Split
2014 Record
PlayedWinsDrawsLossesPoints% of pts. Collected
33131195051% (50/99)
2015 Record
PlayedWinsDrawsLossesPoints% of pts. Collected
31131084953% (49/93)

On the face of things, it looks like Seoul has improved slightly this year.  They have the same amount of wins and are at one point less with two games to go compared to last year.  However, they did much better against the top sides last year.

Record against Sides in the Top Six
2014 Record
PlayedWinsDrawsLossesPoints% of pts. Collected
156542352% (23/45)
Without Ulsan
125522056% (20/36)
2015 Record
PlayedWinsDrawsLossesPoints% of pts. Collected
154651840% (18/45)
Without Incheon
122551131% (11/36)

As you can see Seoul did much better against the top sides in 2014.  This year, their record has been abysmal against the top five sides.  Out of a total of 45 points, Seoul has only collected 18 (40% of the points available), which is a woeful return rate for a team that fancy itself as a contender.

Hell, two of the four wins came against the sixth place team Incheon.  So, if we eliminate Seoul's two wins and a draw against Incheon, their record against the top four teams above them stands at two wins, five draws, and five losses.  That is 11 out of 36 points (31% of the points available), which is an even worse rate of return for a team that, once again, fancies itself as a contender.

I did the same with Ulsan, who were in 6th place in 2014.  Surprisingly, getting rid of the 6th place in 2014 increased the percentage of points collected.  Now let's compare how well Seoul has done against the bottom teams.

Record against Sides in the Bottom Six
2014 Record
PlayedWinsDrawsLossesPoints% of pts. Collected
187652750% (27/54)
2015 Record
PlayedWinsDrawsLossesPoints% of pts. Collected
169433165% (31/48)

Seoul did alright against the top sides in 2014, but were woeful against the bottom sides last year.  They drew against Gyeongnam three times and lost twice to Sangju Sangmu, both of whom were relegated.  They only managed to collect 27 of 54 points against the bottom sides, which is not a good rate of return.

This year, I think the term "flat track bully" is applicable.  They have done well against the lower sides and won the games they should.  Therefore, I feel their record against top and bottom sides position merits their position in the league.  In sum, they are the fifth best team in the league, which is quite frustrating because no one sets out to be the fifth best, especially when Seoul was competing for the top spot in years past.

Last year Seoul lucked out and finished in the top three.  It had nothing to do with the results as they dropped too many points against sides they should have beaten.  Instead, Pohang had an epic collapse.  Maybe it wasn't on par with Newcastle losing the title to Man Utd. in 1996 or the Boston Red Sox pissing away a nine game lead and missing the playoffs in 2011, but it was pretty brutal.

From September 20th until the end of the season on November 30th, Pohang only one once in 12 games.  In that time they drew five and lost six, collecting just 8 points out of 36.  If Pohang was not so horrendous during that time, or if they had drawn once more or won, then Seoul would not have gotten the final ACL spot and Choi Yong-soo might no longer be the coach.

So, even though I am not feeling optomistic, there is always the chance that Pohang might collapse down the stretch again.  Here is the table from last year before the split (via soccerway.com):


#TeamMPWDLFADPLast 5 matches

3320855320+3368WWWWW
233161074533+1258LDWWD
333167104633+1355WLLDL
433131193724+1350DWLWL
533131193630+650LWLWL
633138123934+547WWLLL

Here is the final table from last year after the split (via soccerway.com):

#TeamMPWDLFADPLast 5 matches

3824956122+3981DWWWW
238191095237+1567WLWLW
3Previous rank: 4381513104228+1458WDDWL
4Previous rank: 3381610125039+1158LDLDD
5381412123937+254LWLLD
6381311144443+150DLDDL

It helped that Pohang's form was in the shitter before the split and Seoul did just enough to finish above them.  Here is the table as things stand right now (via soccerway.com):

#TeamMPWDLFADPLast 5 matches
13221565232+2068WWWLW
23216974934+1557WLWDD
332141174128+1353WWWDD
432131273629+751WWLDL
53113993834+448LWLDL
632129113128+345LWLLW

Seoul seem to be emulating Pohang with their recent dip in form.  They really have been shit this month, hence the term Shitember.  Pohang, conversely, has been quite in form with three wins in a row, so based on that I cannot see Seoul overhauling them for the top three spot.  Therefore, the best means to achieve that will be through the FA Cup, which went so well last year.


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