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Writer's Chat: FC Seoul vs. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC

The League's 1-percenters come to Seoul's World Cup Stadium looking to wrap up their fifteenth second league title in a row.  Seoul hope to keep their momentum from last week's glorious win going by knocking off Jeonbuk at home for the first time since 2013.  Jeonbuk Contributor Lex Nande and John Emanuelson dissect the match-up and how the season will finish.  

I ask, he answers.

John Emanuelson:  Last week’s loss against Pohang was quite harsh.   Silly question, but do you think there might be a hangover from last week’s loss and that it will affect their performance against Seoul?

Lex Nande:  I think the players have been barely getting on with footy since summer break. There is little motivation and little leadership. I'm not sure where the spark will come from, but it better be there. You could see the same in the boys over the past few years.

JE:  Whether it is the league or the FA Cup, Pohang always seems to come out on top.  Why can’t Jeonbuk seem to beat Pohang?

LN:  Yeah.  It comes down to getting out smarted on the field. Seongnam is the same. 

I want to say that it looks good from the outside and that I know it's stupid to complain when we are in first, but we have also been super lucky and haven't excelled in the other tournaments like we should have.  Going out to Pohang would have been fine, but we didn't take them serious and fielded a weak line up.  That is all good if we would have taken the AFC serious but we fielded a slow starting lineup in the away match where we needed to win.

JE:  Lee Dong-gook had another great season, but at 36 years old, will probably have to retire sometime in the not-too-distant-future.  With that in mind, how do you rate the new signing Urko Vera?

LN:  Rumor has it that Vera has been sent home and that Dong-gook is resigning. I think 36 is his Korean age... only 34 in the system that we all know.

JE:  Jeonbuk has had some bad luck in the Champion’s League over the past five years.  Do you think they will ever win it in your lifetime? 

LN:  Well to be honest, we had a great squad for it in the beginning of the year.  We lost two keys players after the group stages and we killed ourselves in the rest of the games.  The squad is going to look pretty different next year I believe, defensively especially.  I don't think that any of our key players in the middle field will be leaving.  If the rumors about Vera are true (which I am not surprised) then we will need a striker who has played and proved himself in Asia so we can get off the ground running.

Prediction: Seoul 3-2 Jeonbuk

He asks, I answer.

(From FC Seoul's Facebook Page)
Lex Nande:  Jeonbuk's most convincing win (in terms of performance and score) as of lately was against Seoul 5 rounds ago. Did Seoul bomb at all?

John Emanuelson:  Seoul played well for the first 15 minutes, Adriano missed a goal he should have scored, Jeonbuk netted on their first shot, and then the game was over.  It was a really frustrating, rain soaked afternoon.  So yes, Seoul did bomb.

Thing is, I feel as though Jeonbuk was a bit fortunate.  They scored goals on their first two shots and then hit the third one at the end when Seoul had everyone pushed forward.  Still, it is evident why they are going to be the league champions.  They have so much more quality and speed than Seoul or anyone else, Pohang being the exception, than anyone else in the league. 

LN:  Obviously Seoul is favorites to win the FA Cup later this month. Does that take off any pressure of moving up the K-League ladder into the Top 3 for an AFC spot?

JE:  I think that question will be answered on Halloween.  Truth be told, this game reminds me way too much of last year’s FA Cup- heavily favored, against that has difficulty scoring but can defend, etc.  I am not getting my hopes up for a victory and fully expect Seoul to lose in agonizing fashion again.  However, it does make qualifying for the AFC spot a lot easier because I do not think Seoul will overhaul Pohang on points like they did last year. 

LN:  How many goals is Adriano going to score on the weekend and how many this season?

JE:  I consulted with the 8 Ball and the answer was, “Outlook not so good” for the number of goals that Adriano will score this weekend.  I think that is actually a fair answer.  I am not expecting much from him or Seoul this weekend. 

As far as the season goes, I think he has three to five goals in him left.  Right now, he is at 14 or 15 on the season.  I predict his final tally will be 18 goals. 

LN:  Is this Seoul's toughtest game of the post-split?

JE:  Strangely enough, I do not think so.  Not many really expect Seoul to win, so the pressure is off.  I think the FA Cup final will be the toughest game of the post-split.  There will be a hell of a lot more pressure on them since they are the favorites and it is at home. 

If they don’t win that one, then I think the season’s final game at Pohang will be the toughest.  Both teams are vying for the final spot, so neither one can afford a cock-up. 

LN:  I'm finally getting to another Jeonbuk game. As an away fan, any good eats near the stadium?

JE:  If you want to spend your time in the toilet, there is Lotteria.  Other than that, there really isn’t much to eat. There used to be Pizza Hut, but that shut down and became the aforementioned Lotteria. 

If you walk down a block towards Mapo-Gu Office, there is Baby Guinness.  That is a good place to drink and eat.  There is also  a sam gyeop-sal place next to it.  Otherwise, I guess it is either Itaewon, Hapjeong, or Sinchon.

Prediction: Seoul 1- 3 Jeonbuk


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