Recap: Jeonnam Dragons 0-0 Pohang Steelers
|(image via kleague.com/eng)|
Oršić at Left Wing: Luckily the Oršić as a striker experiment didn't last long and the dynamic attacker was able to revert back to his preferred and much more comfortable position out wide. The difference was noticeable throughout the match as Oršić was more involved in dictating the pace and flow of the Dragons offense instead of doing most of his work off the ball.
Defensive Set Pieces: Lovely to have set pieces on this side of the recap for once. In the first half alone, the Dragons successfully defended four set pieces in dangerous positions (two of which were corners). Not only did they finally manage to keep the ball out of the back of the net, but did so convincingly with strong clears and even caught Pohang offside on a sharp step up.
Offensive Set Pieces: They're clearly working on set pieces... and that ain't nothing. For the majority of the season it's seemed like the Dragons were simply lobbing the ball into the middle-ish of the field on offensive set pieces and hoping for the best. With a relativey short and not overly physical lineup this predictably hasn't gone well. Sunday night, they mixed it up and often played the ball short to try and work their way towards goal with smarter, more insicive passes. Obviously they didn't net a result, but at least there's a plan.
Choi Hyo-Jin: Back in the starting lineup and as badass as ever. Numerous break-saving tackles, confidence on the ball, creative moving forward, and a workhorse for the full 90. Delightful to see the captain back at his usual spot.
Poor Finishing: 17 shots. 17. 12 of them missed the target from yet another poor showing from the Jeonnam attack. Whether it's a rushed shot from distance or simply an inability to hit the target, the forwards continue to struggle greatly at their jobs and the dropped points continue to add up.
Formation: In spite of the fact that Jeonnam still lacks an in-form target striker, manager Noh Sang-rae continues to play the team in lone striker formations. As poorly as the offense has performed, I understand giving Han Chan-hee a shot, but he's 19 years old, under six feet, and lacks the skill set necessary for hold up play. How was he the lone option for saving the offense? Additionally, switching from the usual 4-2-3-1 not only provides less coverage for the back line, but also limits Jugović's ability to control the offense from the center of the pitch by giving him an additionally central midfielder to share space with. I said it at the beginning of the season, I'll say it again: 4-4-2 diamond.
Substitutions: Stop me if you've heard this one before. Noh Sang-rae managed to muddle up the substitutions yet again and potentially cost the Dragons points yet again. Here's a look at all three of his substitutions:
- 69' Stevo for Ahn Yong-woo: Bringing Stevo into the game for the final 30 (or even 20) for offensive purposes makes all sorts of sense. What makes far less than no sense is having him play on the wing. Instead replacing the inexperienced Han Chan-hee, who sat at the top of a 4-1-4-1, Noh elected instead to replace the pacey Ahn Yong-woo who was having a decent game. Stevo on the right wing completely eliminated the offense's ability to play up the right side with any sort of speed. Instead of having Stevo in place up top where he belongs, he was behind the final striker and was the one responsible for getting the ball further up the field. This has never been his job. This should never be his job. Stevo is the definition of a target striker and presumably the reason Noh put his team into a single striker formation to start the year.
- Unsurprisingly this formation wasn't working out and instead of allowing Stevo to play in his natural position for the final 20 minutes, Noh sent Jugović up top instead. That's right, he place a natural CAM at striker and a natural target striker at RW. After ten minutes of Stevo naturally drifting towards the center, the two realized how horrendous the situation was and switched of their own volition in the 83rd minute.
- 73' Kim Pyung-rae for Lee Ji-nam: A near like for like defensive substitution in a 0-0 draw at home when you're in 11th place in the league. Cho Suk-jae and Bae Chun-suk were at his disposal on the bench, but instead Noh elected to go for a defensive substitution instead of playing either striker. At this point in the season, what's there to lose? Why not take off one of the five defensive players on the field for an offensive player and make a push for the lone goal that would surely win the game?
- 84' Bae Chun-suk for Jugović: While bringing on an attacker late in the game makes sense, why wait until the 84th to do so? This is the definition of too little too late. Additionally, why take off one of the essential attacking options? Jugović has proven time and again this season that he has tremendous vision in the final third and can occasionally create goals on his own. So... why take him off when pushing for a late goal? Can it really be considered a surprise the match ended scoreless with five defensive players on the field for the Dragons?
Cho Suk-jae: Another game, another hapless offensive performance for Jeonnam, and another 90 minutes without Cho Suk-jae touching the field. I have no idea what this man has to do to see some time, but this is beyond ridiculous at this point.
Winless at Home: In six attempts the Dragons have yet to pick up all three points at Gwangyang Stadium this season. The closest they've come are two 0-0 draws and a match that shall not be named against some army team. If Jeonnam are going to keep Incheon behind them in the standings and perhaps even gain some ground, winning games at home is an absolute necessity. They'll have another chance to do so this Wednesday when Ulsan Hyundai come calling.
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