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Relegation half preview: Busan

It's been known for awhile, but Busan finds themselves in the relegation half of the table once again.


Team: Busan IPark
Team rank: 5th in Relegation, 11th overall
Points: 24
Last 5 matches: LLDDD

Is Busan's current spot an achievement of disappointment?
Surely it must be considered a disappointment. I don't think many (perhaps my extremely biased self excluded) thought much of Busan's chances this season, but few would have pegged Busan for (potential) relegation.

How does Busan's current spot compare to pre-season expectations?
Prior to the season, I think Busan finishing somewhere between 8-10th would have been fair, and with due respect to Daejeon, Gwangju, and Incheon I think most would have tipped two of those three to occupy the relegation spots. So lower, but not by a whole lot.

Why is Busan where they are?
Lack of goals and a leaky defense that formed a habit of conceding late. Only Weslley has chipped in a reasonable number of goals (8) with the team's next highest scorer being captain and centerback Lee Gyeong-ryeol with three. The team's three other Brazilian signings: Bergson, Elias, and Bill all have a big zero next to their names. Other forwards like Han Ji-ho, Bae Chun-seok, and (the now departed) Park Yong-ji have scored just one a piece.

It's a point I've been banging since the beginning of the season, but I'll bang it one more time (that sounds kinda wrong). After minute 75, Busan has conceded 18 goals all season. After minute 85 they've conceded 10. How many points have been lost late? My guess is enough that could have seen the team in at least 10th place or with a chance of getting there.

What's the best Busan can do in the next 5 weeks?
In theory, if Busan won all their games and Gwangju lost every game safety is still possible. But I think we all know that won't happen. Best case for me is that the team plays well, wins a few games and builds some confidence/form/momentum leading to the playoff match.

The worst?
They continue their habit of not scoring much and conceding late. The players' confidence levels remain low and they enter the playoff match on a down note.

Will next year be better or worse?
Hard to say without knowing which league they'll be in. If in Classic, I'll be optimistic and say slightly better. Hopefully the flirt with relegation will kick some sense into the ownership and we'll see some more investment and better recruiting. Lee Jeong-hyup will also return from his military duties to add some higher quality to the forward line (and we can dream of the return of Lee Sang-hyub as well).

If down in Challenge, I'm slightly more pessimistic. The already low number of fans will likely drop lower. While not as bad as other leagues, I suspect some of the better players, namely Joo Se-jong and maybe Lee Bum-young will likely head to other clubs (I suspect the latter will leave anyway but that's another story). And in that situation I'm not entirely convinced the ownership will see the tragedy of Busan being in the second-division and put significant resources in keeping the team's core and strengthening to withstand the long grind of the Challenge. I can see Busan spending a couple or more seasons down there ala Gangwon, Gyeongnam, and (if they don't get promoted) Daegu.


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