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Seoul E-Land FC v Chungju Hummel : Preview

After what seems like a decade-long close season the Challenge is finally back this weekend with the first round of fixtures in the 2016 season. After a mixed bag of form last season Seoul E-Land will be looking to get off to a bright start and position themselves amongst the pack of sides chasing for the title. Last season it took a while for the brand new team to find its top gear with the first win coming after six league matches and the first home win not happening until mid-May. That first Jamsil victory came at the expense of Chungju and was a rather resounding 4-0 destruction of the Bees so that might well bode well for an early three points for E-Land.

Team News:

There's been plenty of transfer activity from both sides over the break so expect both elevens to be significantly different from the ones that lined up to face each other last season.

For E-Land the interesting questions are probably around which combination of his many options Martin Rennie will plump for. He has been known to spring a surprise or two in his selections and it will be interesting to see how many players he gives debuts to in this opening match. My feeling is the lineup will look something like this.

Rennie could give as many as five debuts in his starting eleven but has plenty of options
At the back Kim Dong-chul looks to be a certainty to start and has been named club captain for the season while it's likely Mitchell will line up alongside him. At full-back I expect Lee Kyu-ro to make his first start and on the other side the experienced Kim Dong-jin may just get the nod although there are plenty of options here so it'll be interesting to see if the veteran is considered a regular first choice.

Up front Joo Min-kyu should be partnered by Belusso and I don't expect to see Tarabai pitched in this early so there will be a decision for Rennie on whether he sticks with his normally preferred 3 strikers and starts perhaps Cho Woo-jin or even youngster Ahn Tae-hyun.

This one will probably come too early for Tarabai 
My suspicion is that he might be a little more cautious and strengthen the midfield since much of the chatter from Jamsil has been about making the team harder to score against. This might see a couple of sitting midfielders in Kim Jun-tae and possibly Shin Il-soo with Kim Jae-sung and maybe Yoon Seung-yeul freed up in more attacking roles.

With all of the changes to the squad even the Chungju management might not recognise some of their team
For Chungju there have been so many changes that your guess might well be as good as mine (or possibly even better). They will really miss Cho Suk-jae as he was perhaps their only real goal threat and their Brazilian Marcinho will also be missed as, while far from great, he at least provided them something different up front. It looks like the attacking duties might fall to young striker Kim Shin who has returned to Korea following a spell in France with Lyon. The former Jeonbuk youngster surely has some ability but at 20 years of age and having never scored a senior goal it might be a big ask for him spearhead the attack.

Previous Meetings:

E-Land managed a 100% record against Chungju last season scoring 12 goals in the process so history suggests that they should be too strong for the visitors again. Expect goals as well and look out for Joo Min-kyu to open his account for the season. The striker managed to bag three goals in matchups with Chungju last season.

Min-kyu was the hammer of Chungju last season while Bobby scored 50% of his E-Land goals against them
16/5/15 Seoul E-Land 4 - 0 Chungju Hummel 
Joo Min-kyu, Tarabai (2), Noh Hyun-goo(OG)

E-Land record their first home win of the season with a pretty comprehensive dismantling of the opposition during an impressive run that saw the home side win 9 games in 11. Tarabai terrorised the Chungju defence and was unfortunate not to come away with more than the two goals that he did claim on the night.

10/6/15 Chungju Hummel 1 - 2 Seoul E-Land 
Cho Suk-jae; Cullen, Joo Min-kyu

This one made E-Land sweat for a while as Chungju took an early lead and looked as if they might hold on to it for a while. Bobby Cullen managed to net an equaliser for E-Land just before half-time and sparked a second half revival but it took until the 89th minute for Joo Min-kyu to grab the winner.

5/9/15 Chungju Hummel 1 - 3 Seoul E-Land 
Oh Seung-beom; Joo Min-kyu, Kim Jae-Sung, Mitchell

2 goals in the opening 8 minutes made it look as if this might be another walkover for E-Land but Chungju managed to put up at least a bit of a fight before going down 3-1 eventually. Carlyle Mitchell's second half goal put a bit of a gloss on the final scoreline.

10/10/15 Seoul E-Land 4 - 2 Chungju Hummel 
Mitchell, Tarabai, Choi Yoo-sang, Kim Sung-ju; Kim Do-hyung, Cho Suk-jae

Goals galore as E-Land find themselves 3-1 up after just 30 minutes and look in total control adding a fourth on the hour mark before a Cho Suk-jae penalty provides some consolation for Chungju.

Match Forecast: 

Expect the home team to be celebrating come full-time
Absolutely everything points to a relatively comfortable home win in this one. The only question mark will be whether E-Land can come out of the blocks more quickly than they did last season or whether there might still be a little bit of lead in the legs following the long winter break. Looking at the fire power that E-Land have though they should have enough to dominate. I'm going to go for a 3 goal victory.

Prediction: Seoul E-Land 3 - 0 Chungju Hummel

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