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Writers Chat: Jeju United vs Jeonbuk Motors

After some poor recent form, Jeju United will be looking to turn things around with a home win this weekend against Jeonbuk Motors. However oppositions don't get much tougher than the current unbeaten league leader. Duncan Elder and Matthew Binns discuss recent form, tactical changes and what could potentially happen.

Matt: Jeju United recently found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-1 with a shock defeat to Jeonnam Dragons. Can you briefly explain what went wrong?

Duncan: Well firstly we didn't make our good second half performance count. Despite not doing much in the first half we created a whole host of chances in the second. However by only scoring one of those chances we were always at risk of conceding a goal.

After this, and in a worrying parallel with what happened in the previous game against Incheon, when Jeonnam really started to push for the equalizer (and then winner) we fell apart and conceded two.
Matt: In addition to last weekend’s defeat, Jeju have also been on a poor run of form, having only earned four points from the last six league games. Can you elaborate on why there has been a sudden drop in results?

Duncan: Well I guess the main thing is our attack has dropped off a bit compared to earlier in the season. When you concede as many as we do it is vital that you score but recently the goals have dried up. While our overall goals per game record is almost two a game, in the last four games it is only 0.5.

What is most disappointing about these games is that we were in second position in the league four games ago. A run of four games against the bottom four sides in the league should have been a great chance to really push on and put us into a decent position to challenge for the ACL spots. Instead we didn't win a game and are now sixth.
Matt: Do you see Jeju making any tactical changes to counter any specific Jeonbuk threats this weekend?

Duncan: We'll probably be a bit more conservative but I don't think we'll change that much. Our default setting is to attack and with the players we have in the team it is hard to see that changing. Perhaps the manager will put in a more defensive player next to Kwon Soon-hyung but to be honest we don't really have that option. Matt. Finally, at the time of writing, Jeju are rumoured to be on the verge of signing ex-Dajeon midfielder Wanderson. If it all goes through, would you see this as a decent signing?

Duncan: Certainly bringing in a player who we know can perform in the league is always going to be a good option. He was by far Daejon's best player in the latter parts of last season so I'm sure he will be able to do a job at Jeju.

While it's good to have options, assuming he plays in attack as he did last season I don't think we particularly need a player in his position. However Daejon originally bought him as wing back so he could offer competition there too.

Either way he is almost certainly going to be more successful than last seasons big summer signing who barely played a game.
Matt: Predicted Score?

Duncan: Despite us usually being better at home it will take a huge turn around in form to beat Jeonbuk. They have struggled to beat teams on the road this year so I guess there is a chance of draw. However our record against Jeonbuk is poor recently so I have to say I think a loss might be the most likely option. Maybe with a goal or two from Lopes.

2-1 to Jeonbuk

Duncan: You mentioned that last weekend's win over Pohang was Jeonbuk's best so far this season. Do you think they will be able to recreate that form against Jeju? Or was it something to do with Pohang's style of play? Matt: I think Pohang changing from the tactics that saw them win against Ulsan and Seoul probably had an effect, but I am not sure was the major factor in Jeonbuk’s improved performance. Motors have threatened to click all season but, until last Sunday, had not dominated a league game. The major difference was the positioning of the three central midfielders. Lee Ho sat in front of that defensive line allowing both Lee Jae-sung and Kim Bo-kyung to venture forward. Previous games had seen Lee Jae-sung usually deployed as an AM with Kim Bo-kyung accompanying a defensive midfielder (usually Jang Yun-ho) or both Lee and Kim together at CM with the slow pairing of Luiz sitting behind Lee Dong-gook ahead of them. Finally, I think without their injured, ageing talisman, they have finally been forced to play Lee Jong-ho who has more pace up front and can come back to win the ball and support the advancing Lee and Kim. With Leonardo and Lopes on the wing assisting, Jeonbuk’s attack looked perfectly set up to both quickly create and counter. I hope Choi Kang-hee opts for the same again this weekend. Duncan: While it is all looking rosy for Jeonbuk, you had a midweek fa cup game. Do you think there is any chance this could affect Jeonbuk's performance against Jeju? Matt: Despite Jeonbuk’s heavy winter investment in the squad, the supposed depth has struggled each time it has been given an opportunity, finally culminating in a loss that has sometimes felt it has been coming for a while now. On one hand, Jeonbuk remain unbeaten in the league. On the other, they have thrown away a chance at a very winnable competition. In addition to this, in order to chase the victory, Jeonbuk introduced the initially rested Leonardo, Kim Bo-kyung and Lee Jong-ho from the bench in a bid to try and secure the result. These players could have done without the game in an upcoming busy schedule but, if they were going to play (which Jeonbuk’s track record in previous rounds would suggest it was likely), why not play them from the beginning, obtain the necessary lead, and bring them off? Not only were these players not given the required rest, but the wind that could be knocked out of this team’s sails, especially given the contrast to such an emphatic result last Sunday, means that confidence could be at a low. It is difficult to call though as there will be a large personnel change from this match, and many will be fired up to prove a point so it will be interesting to see what eventually transpires.

Duncan: It seems like everything is going well for Lopes after his move from Jeju. What are your thoughts on his season so far? Matt: He went slightly under the radar at the start of the season as he adjusted to a new team as well as fought for a place in a revolving line-up. Since his regular inclusion in the starting eleven though, he has been pretty impressive, especially his creativity and his link up play with Leonardo and Lee Jae-sung. Whilst he only has three goals to his name, it feels like a lot more mainly due to his key involvement and assists with some of the season’s biggest goals, such as Leonardo’s winner against Melbourne Victory and Lee Jong-ho’s superb goal in the 95th minute against Suwon Bluewings. He is definitely appreciated by the fans at Jeonbuk and we are keen to see his development at the club continue. Duncan: Jeonbuk are still unbeaten, but that can't go on forever right? Is there anything about the Jeju that worries you? Matt: I think my first fear is that Jeju are at home. When on the island, they are often a very tough proposition to break down. Add to that Jeonbuk’s poor away form which has been mostly draws and you get the feeling this could be another single point to Jeonbuk’s season tally (or less!). Finally, Jeju have one of the most exciting attacks in the league, even if results have tailed off recently. With five players in the islanders team all with four goals or more, you have to think Jeonbuk’s questionable defence may struggle here. Then again, this defence has been predicted to struggle against all the strong attacking teams this season and they have always bailed out by their attack. I therefore expect both teams to score a couple and cancel each other out. Duncan: Prediction?
Matt: Jeju 2-2 Jeonbuk

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