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FA Cup Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Bucheon FC 1995

They've had the time of their lives: Jeonbuk's Leonardo and Lee Jong-ho dirty dance all over Pohang Steelers in a 3-0 rout last Sunday evening. (Photo Credit: Hyundai-MotorsFC.com)
They've had the time of their lives: Jeonbuk's Leonardo and Lee Jong-ho dirty dance all over Pohang Steelers in a 3-0 rout last Sunday evening. (Photo Credit: Hyundai-MotorsFC.com)
Wednesday night sees the focus shift towards the FA Cup Quarter Finals where Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors face the only remaining K-League Challenge team in the competition, Bucheon 1995. 

Squad Rotation

Like the previous two rounds, it is expected that Jeonbuk manager Choi Kang-hee will use this fixture to significantly rotate his squad in order to ideally have a rested team for the away trip to Jeju this coming weekend. I expect a number of players who started the friendly match against AFC Tubize last week to reclaim their spot in the starting line up. It is therefore likely we will see Kim Shin-wook leading the line with support coming from Seo Sang-min in attacking midfield. I also expect Ko Moo-yeol to be given a run out. I doubt both Lee Jae-sung and Kim Bo-kyung will be dropped as Bucheon do pose a reasonable threat, however I think one will make way (perhaps Kim Bo-kyung) for Jang Yun-ho. In defence, I predict Choi Kyu-baek will be replaced by Kim Young-chan. As for other changes, it will depend on how seriously the manager wishes to take this competition. If it looks as if Motors are struggling then it is likely Leonardo and Lopes will be brought into play to try and create something.

Will Jeonbuk Make a Meal of it?

The prospect of squad rotation leads nicely into some of Jeonbuk's more frustrating performances this season. In the FA Cup, Jeonbuk let Anyang equalise to 1-1 before they proceeded to score 3 more goals deep into the second half. The 4-1 scoreline flattered Jeonbuk however as it was clear Anyang gave up once the third had gone in. Then we nearly saw one of the biggest upsets of the year as Dankook University took the lead in Jeonju before conceding an equaliser and having to fight through 30 minutes of extra time where they eventually let in two more goals. Jeonbuk have made both of their wins in the competition this year unnecessarily difficult.

Rotation was also one the season's early criticisms as Jeonbuk proceeded to take an unusually long time to record two consecutive K-League wins with thanks to the manager's often questionable personnel changes between games. While this has become a lot less frequent since those early rounds, sending out a line-up with five or six changes from the 3-0 win against Pohang is probably going to cause some headaches for the home side.

Bucheon FC 1995

Bucheon 1995 celebrate a goal in style against Gyeongnam back in April. (Photo Credit: SPOTV Live & Modern Seoul)
Having started the season strong up until recently, everyone's favourite team with 1995 in their name Bucheon FC have most recently found themselves losing three games in a row to Daejeon Citizen, Seoul E-Land and Gangwon. Admittedly, the last two were particularly tricky fixtures given E-Land's upturn in form since Martin Rennie left, and Gangwon's higher league position. However, Bucheon are play-off contenders themselves, currently sitting in fourth and having occupied a play-off position for the majority of the season. They were also looking the most likely to challenge Ansan at the summit during the first few months. Jeonbuk certainly cannot go into this game expecting an easy ride.

Bucheon's top two scorers this season have been two of their three Brazilian players, Waguininho and Lukian, who have scored six and five goals respectively. Perhaps coincidentally, the former of these has been absent for Bucheon's two most recent losses after being sent off in their 2-0 defeat to Dajeon Citizen for a malicious tackle on Daejeon's keeper Park Ju-won. I believe he should make his return to face Jeonbuk though.

Elsewhere on the pitch, defenders Han Hee-hoon, Lee Hak-min and Kang Ji-yong have played the most minutes for outfield players this season, creating a consistency and familiarity that has seen them only ship thirteen goals, the league's lowest.

In reaching the quarter finals, they have seen off one university side (Halla University), a K-League Classic ACL competitor in Pohang Steelers, and a fellow Challenge competitor in the last round when they faced Gyeongju Citizen. Normally facing the reigning champions and the team sitting clear in first for the country would be a big ask, but Bucheon will be hoping Jeonbuk's ability to underestimate their opponents will be on show here. If Dankook University can take Jeonbuk to extra time at home, then there is no reason why a Challenge side playing as well as Bucheon could not.

Predictions

This is actually the first time these two sides have actually met, although I doubt that particular milestone will have any effect on the outcome of the game. Based on this weekend's strong performance, I it feels pessimistic to predict this as a narrow 2-1 victory to the home side. Given the likely rotation though, I feel this will be the case, although Jeonbuk could run away with it if Bucheon are forced into coming forward to chase the lead.

I see Bucheon giving a good account for themselves also and most likely finding a way onto the scoresheet, perhaps even scoring first. I do not see them having enough to handle Jeonbuk's fire power if this turns out to be the case though, as it is likely the first team players will then called upon to ensure Jeonbuk come away with the win.

Predicted Score: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2-1 Bucheon 1995

Have Your Say

Have a different view on the outcome of this game? Make sure to leave them in the comments below or tweet me directly. Also make sure to vote in the Twitter Poll below to see what others are thinking ahead of the game.

1 comment

  1. It has been announced today that this will be Luiz's last game for the club and he will likely start. Therefore I can now see him taking the AM role from Seo Sang-min.

    If you are someone who likes to subscribe to footballing narrative, then perhaps he will also score on his farewell

    ReplyDelete

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