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FA Cup Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Dankook University

Kim Shin-wook struggled to take a number of decent chances during Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors' goalless draw against Incheon United  (Photo Credit: Hyundai-MotorsFC.com)
Kim Shin-wook struggled to take a number of decent chances during Jeonbuk's goalless draw against Incheon United
(Photo Credit: Hyundai-MotorsFC.com)
After a disappointing goalless draw away to a struggling Incheon United side, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors will be looking to get back on track with a favourable tie at home against Dankook University.

Tactical Experimentation

After finding success with a 4-2-3-1 formation for nearly the entirety of the year, Choi Kang-hee saw last weekend as an opportunity to try something new, but something far from unique. Having stifled Seoul back in March by deploying a matching 3-3-2-2 formation, yet creating very little when doing so, the Jeonbuk manager felt that an away trip to a side eleventh in the table, threatened by relegation, was bizarrely reason enough to employ it one more time, switching a large portion of the personnel in the process.

Predictably, Jeonbuk lacked creativity with Kim Shin-wook being afforded numerous chances to add to his solitary league goal. His effectiveness off the ball and the havoc he causes may be an attribute, but when one of last season's top scorers is presented such glaring opportunities, it is not wrong for the fans to expect a return. We also saw a rare start for Lee Jong-ho who offered little in terms of chances but in fairness he did seem unsure of the system as did most of the other players on the pitch. The team did keep a rare clean sheet however, although Incheon created a number of chances that perhaps a team higher up the table would have taken without issue.

Unlikely to risk his first team against a university side, Choi Kang-hee may see fit to rest Lee Dong-gook and offer further playing time to his two aforementioned striking alternatives. The line-up may also see the inclusion of forgotten winter signing Ko Moo-yeol as well as another appearance for Kim Young-chan who the manager seems to prefer as a back-up central defender of recent. While he may be tempted to try one more time with the formation use against Incheon, I expect the tactics to be something different, most likely a 4-4-2 or a return to the more successful 4-2-3-1.

A Last Hurrah for Some Players Perhaps?

With sweeping changes expected, Choi Kang-hee may offer playing time to some of the players who have fallen out of favour this season. With the transfer window fast approaching, it would make some sense to remind possible suitors of these players' availability.

However, looking back at the previous round of the tournament, Choi Kang-hee's changes were made mainly to include younger talent on the fringes of the senior squad as well as players he still has plans for, even if they are not playing as much as they would like. Unfortunately, for the likes of Kim Hyung-il and Erik Paartalu, they may also not see minutes in this match.

Potential for a Giant Killing?

Dankook University took a K-League Classic scalp in Sangju Sangmu to advance to this stage. The student side led the army players by two goals before conceding what only turned out to be a consolation in the final minutes.

With the KFA not televising that game (as is the case with most of the FA cups until later rounds), nor match reports being available from the KFA, Sangju or the university, it is difficult to acquire information on the Dankook University side. Scrawling through Sangju Sangmu's Twitter feed though, there is a photograph of that game's line-up sheet as well as a tweet to indicate full-time. There's not much in terms of detail ahead of this clash unless you follow the university leagues, meaning they are somewhat an unknown for the supporters.

However, with Choi Kang-hee most likely looking ahead to a very awkward game away to Gwangju FC at the weekend and thus holding a number of first team regulars back, this will likely be the university side's best chance at causing an upset.


Jeonbuk are one of the league's most arrogant teams when it comes to weighing up their opposition, despite their position of 1st and still unbeaten. If their title adversaries weren't a somewhat recently stuttering FC Seoul, their many draws against arguably weaker opposition should really see them in 2nd place. In the previous round of the FA Cup, they also found themselves level at one a piece in Anyang before the introduction of substitutions ensured they crossed the finish line comfortably.

Combined with Choi's uncontrollable urges to change things when it should be "easy", I would not be surprised to see the university boys giving Jeonbuk a couple of scares in the first half before quality, endurance and/or substitutes ensure Jeonbuk lead out comfortable victors again.

Predicted Score: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 3 - 1 Dankook University

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