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Writers' Chat: Suwon Bluewings vs Jeonbuk Motors Preview

With the final week of the season approaching, Lex Nande and kleaguefootball.com’s Steve Price look at Suwon Bluewings' match against Jeonbuk Motors. Jeonbuk have already secured the title but Suwon need a win to guarantee second place.

He Asks, I Answer

Lex: Does this game have anything more to it for Suwon than securing an AFC spot?

Steve: Getting the automatic AFC spot is vital for two reasons; first is the guaranteed money and ability to entice new players with Champions’ League football, and second is that they can avoid the extra qualifying matches at the start of the season. The sides in the AFC often struggle at the start of the season, and if it is possible for Suwon to avoid those extra qualifying fixtures then that can only help them next season. It is also the time of year when players will be trying to sort themselves out with a new contract, so individually, they will all be hoping to make strong final impressions.

Lex: Looking back on the season, Suwon were unable to catch Jeonbuk for about 20 weeks running as they remained in second place. Was it as disappointing a season as one could imagine?

Steve: Only one team can win the league and Jeonbuk have had it wrapped up for a while now. This season could have been a lot worse for Suwon, and towards the end it looked as if they might completely fail and miss out on the ACL altogether. Luckily FC Seoul did them a huge favor by winning the FA Cup, and Seongnam choked in the final few rounds. If Suwon do manage to hold on to second place then that is a decent achievement. Truth be told, their squad is a long way behind Jeonbuk’s at the moment and the league table reflects that.

Lex: The fans are doing their end of season protest in various stadiums; has it effected the players and what is in store this offseason?

Steve: I don’t think that stuff like that bothers the players too much, they are professionals and will be focused on doing a job. It does make the off-season a bit more complicated as it will be harder for the team to be able to budget for new signings and it is one more thing for the club to worry about in the summer.

Korea vs Myanmar at Suwon World Cup Stadium
Lex: Could you really see the Bluewings in another stadium / city?

Steve: I could see them playing at the civic stadium for a season, ground-sharing with Suwon FC. But I don’t think that they will leave the Bigbird stadium permanently. Hopefully they can sort the advertising issue out sooner rather than later as the World Cup Stadium is a great stadium for the fans. The seats are close to the pitch, it has a good atmosphere, and it is the perfect size for the club. The civic stadium in the other hand has a running track to ruin the view and is so open that all the sound escapes, leaving a flat atmosphere.

Lex: Who do you expect to see play their last game on Sunday? There are talks by the fans of a couple of foreigners needing to leave the squad. 

Suwon FC play Seoul Eland at Suwon Sports Complex
Steve: I wouldn’t be surprised if they cleared out all of the foreigners with the exception of Santos. Foreign players are brought in to make a difference and Suwon’s foreigners haven’t managed that this season. There are reports that Kaio is off to the J-League, which I’d imagine Suwon fans are very happy about. It looks as though error-prone Korean international ‘keeper Jeong Seong-Ryeong is also following him across the East Sea. It is quite likely that Suwon’s team next season has a very different look to it than the current team. Hopefully the club can keep hold of Kwon Chang-Hoon after his great season.

Lex: How is it going to play out in your eyes?
Steve: Hopefully we will see some goals. In their last two games, Suwon have scored five and conceded five. With a win needed to guarantee second spot, I am hoping that Suwon are attacking from the first kick of the game.

I Ask, He Answers

Steve: With nothing to play for, will Jeonbuk introduce any new faces for this game?

Lex: We might see a keeper change and maybe a midfielder or two. I can't remember the poor chap’s name who got his first start against Seoul three rounds ago and missed two goals, one being over the bar as the last play of the game. Instead, look for players who are on their way out to get playing time. Wilkinson is leaving, Lee Geun Ho is going back (maybe) as well as Choi Bo-Kyung to Sangju Sangmu.

Steve: Lee Dong-Gook is now thirty-six. Can he keep playing into his forties like Miura Kazuyoshi, or will Jeonbuk have to start thinking about how to replace him?

Lex: I think they have be considering it for years now. Rumor is that he will sign for two more years. I don't want to use replacement because that won't happen, but I think Edu was perfect. Let's say we have an Edu when done LDG calls it quits. That will give us goals and stability up front.

Steve: Do you think that Jeonbuk could have got further in the ACL if they had kept hold of Edu?

Lex: Yes and no. Vera scored in Japan. Our problem was not putting the ball in the net at home and that's where I think Edu would have gotten us into the semi-finals.

Steve: Which young players do you think we should look out for next season?

Lex: Lee Jae Sung is only going to get better until he goes to Europe.

Steve: Why didn’t Urko Vera’s signing work out?

Lex: He has had big shoes to fill. There are foreign players here that come in and do well and are sent home shortly afterwards. Alex Wilkinson is the first foreigner to come in mid-season and last more than 6 months. I'd just label it as 'chemistry'.

Steve: Predictions for the match. 

Lex: If Jeonbuk's defence can hold off a Suwon attack for 90 minutes, we should see a goal or two off Luiz or a striker. I don't expect us to be blasting them non-stop though.

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