Preview: Suwon Bluewings vs Suwon FC
Sunday night will see the K League Classic's current two worst teams as Suwon Bluewings face Suwon FC in the 2nd installment of this years Suwon derby. And with Suwon FC sitting dead last and Suwon Bluewings only 5 points ahead of them, the city of Suwon is braced for it's first ever derby six pointer.Before I start this piece, I will preface it with this; I have been dreading writing this article because it is the one fixture this year where I am forced to realise that I support a football team whose name is Suwon Samsung Bluewings (and that's not quite football, is it?) So from here on out, I will be referring to Suwon FC as Suwon FC, and Suwon Bluewings as SB. Sorry about that.
Suwon FC have, without a doubt, been the worst team of this Classic season. They have had some competition from Incheon, Jeonnam and more recently SB. However, whereas Incheon's and Jeonnam's recent form has taken a little bit of an upwards trajectory, Suwon FC are in absolute free fall at the moment.
Their season started relatively well with them remaining unbeaten through the first 5 games of the season. Infact, with only one defeat from their first 7 games, some of the K League United writers were speculating that perhaps some SB supporters would switch allegiances to their city rivals.
However, since the end of April, Suwon FC have plummeted from top half of the table to rock bottom of the league. And with 10 losses in their last 14 games Suwon FC look like a team that are on the brink of Daejeon 2015-eque humiliation.
Their Achilles heel this season has been their inability to create chances and score from the few chances that they create. Having only scored 12 goals all season it is obvious to see where their problems lie. And when you consider the fact that their top goalscorer is their veteran midfielder Lee Seung-hyun, with a whopping total of 3 goals to his name, this inability to score becomes more and more apparent. Infact, they have drawn a blank on 9 occasions this term, more than any other team in the Classic.
At the beginning of the season, Suwon FC's strength was their ability to hold their opponent. But since then, leaks in their defence have appeared and they simply do not have the fire power up front to challenge teams when they are conceding so many at the back. Even at this point in the season it is difficult to find any way back for Suwon FC. But 3 huge points in the derby will go some way to clawing their way back.
I am not going to kid myself here, both these Suwon teams are clubs in crisis right now.
If at the start of the season you would have told me that SB would be deeply entrenched in a relegation battle at the beginning of June then I would have laughed you out of Korea. I never expected a weakened squad to challenge for the title but I also never expected them to be in the bottom half of the table, let alone fighting for their lives against the likes of Incehon, Jeonnam and Suwon FC. Nevertheless, this is where we find ourselves, and it is through our own doing.
It has been a disappointing season, riddled with tactical errors, half hearted performances, defensive idiocy and Seo Jung-won tantrums. Personally, I feel that Seo Jung-won should have walked after the shambles in Ulsan last week, but, somehow, he has remained in the job for one more week. But this game will be the last chance for a manager who has appeared clueless in the last few weeks. While his switch to a 5-3-2, on paper, seemed like an inspired move, with Suwon looking a little more solid at the back, his implementation of the system resembles that of a 12 year old playing Football Manager for the first time. Yeom Ki-hun has still been operating as a left winger, which is not how he should be playing in a system where your wing-backs supply the width for the team. Add to that a lack of support for either Kim Gun-hee or Cho Dong-geon upfront and you can see that, currently, has no clue what he is doing. The talent is their in the squad, but Seo Jung-won cannot harness it correctly. If SB lose on Sunday then I hope he will be collecting his P45 the next day.
This game is most certainly not going to be a classic. Both teams are supremely out of form and both teams are struggling to score goals. As such, I feel that it's time for the shackles to come off and for SB's formation to switch back to a more attacking 4-3-3. With Johnathan now available to play it is imperative that Suwon push bodies up the pitch and try to create goalscoring opportunities for one of the few proven goalscorers in the league.
Kwon Chang-hoon is likely to get another start after recovering from injury, and Santos should also come back into the team and be asked to play at number 10. Ko Cha-won got a full 90 minutes in the Reserve League in midweek and it would be great to see him come back into the team on the right of midfield. Other than that, after the recent debacles against Gwangju and Ulsan, I would say that everyone's place is up for grabs. There were some truly awful performances in the month of June and nobody is sure to start.
I think this will end in a draw. I don't think either team has enough quality to break the other down, and not counting personal mistakes (which are almost certain to happen) this will be a game of very few chances.
Score Prediction: Suwon Bluewings 0 - 0 Suwon FC