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FA Cup Preview: FC Anyang vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Having scored his team's third goal, Lee Dong-gook celebrates Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors win over Suwon Samsung Bluewings
Having scored his team's third goal, Lee Dong-gook celebrates Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors win over Suwon Samsung Bluewings (Photo Credit: Korea Joongang Daily)
Having finally won away at the weekend with a 3-2 victory over Suwon Bluewings, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors now look towards Wednesday night where they will take on FC Anyang in the FA Cup.

With their eyes set on bigger targets, it is likely manager Choi Kang-hee will justifiably rotate his squad for this trip to Anyang, offering an opportunity for fringe players and those who have yet to receive the amount of game time they deserve to stake a claim for a place in the first team.

This is not to say Jeonbuk will not be out to win come kick-off. With such a large squad at his disposal, Choi Kang-hee has most likely bust a few noses out of joint with his selection policy and this will be a prime chance for those players to show their worth to this team. Against other teams Anyang may relish the thought of a giant-killing, but some of Jeonbuk’s reserves would easily walk into most other K-League Classic sides.

Many fans will be wondering if this will be Erik Paartalu’s chance to return the squad, having recently fell out of favour with the manager, and bizarrely not featuring in the match day squad for the last seven games across all competitions. Kim Hyung-il may also be returned from exile, perhaps still not forgiven for his clumsy red card in Vietnam.

In form goalkeeper Kwoun Sun-tae may also take his unlikely place amongst the substitutes, offering valuable game time to one of their reserve keepers. All three of Jeonbuk’s keepers have featured on the bench at some point this season, but it is most likely that, if a start is to be afforded to anyone, it will be 21 year-old Hwang Byeong-geun who will get the nod, having featured in the most in the K-League this season, and also most recently.

With striker Lee Jong-ho needing goals, and Ko Moo-yeol facing stiff competition for a start in other competitions, it is likely they will also feature from the off.

FC Anyang

FC Anyang have been having a difficult time in their league of late. The K-League Challenge team find themselves in seventh with one win and four draws. Their most recent result saw them lose to Busan I’Park 3-1 who had also been undergoing a patch of bad form since being relegated from the Classic.

Having scored on Saturday, and being the team's top goalscorer in the league with only two goals, 22 year-old Kim Young-do will be on Jeonbuk's radar. Anyang also boast a couple of foreign players in the guise of attackers Jairo Silva (Brazil) and Nicolas Orsini (Argentina). Having failed to set their home countries alight, both joined Anyang in 2016 and have featured in most of the club's games this year.

Anyang have also been fielding their back-up goalkeeper in the last two games, with Choi Pil-soo taking over the reigns for Kim Sun-kyu, although both have been in the match day squads meaning that their change is purely tactical in a bid to stop the goal influx. After shipping five goals in their last two games however, Choi may soon be returning to the bench. Anyang have only kept two clean sheets in the league all season. That said, so have Jeonbuk.

Predictions

Despite the probable squad rotation, I see little for Jeonbuk to worry about except complacency. The champions have enough strength in depth to see off the threat of the home side and, with players fighting for a chance in the starting team, will come out to make sure the tie is seen off quickly.

Unfortunately, FC Anyang have struggled this season and have leaked goals at the back. While I am sure they will relish the occasion to welcome the reigning champions to their ground, an upset may be too much of an ask.

Predicted Scoreline: FC Anyang 0-3 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

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