Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Suwon FC
|Lee Dong-gook's 89th minute strike was not enough to secure victory for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors as they dropped two points to Ulsan Hyundai at home. (Photo Credit: Hyundai-MotorsFC.com)|
With the K-League making way for the start of the Olympics last weekend, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors return to action this Wednesday as they play host to Suwon FC. With a Champions League quarter final a fortnight away, Jeonbuk will be hoping to use these next three games to build up momentum and finally offer some playing time to the recently-returned Edu.
Jeonbuk vs Ulsan
With contrasting fortunes for both teams going into this game, it was widely expected that a ruthless Jeonbuk would once again run out winners against an Ulsan team who have surprisingly started to drop points. Having turned round a deficit against Ulsan so convincingly eleven days prior, it seemed a repeat would surely be on the cards.
However, it was not to be. The game was a relatively underwhelming affair, relying on a reasonably fortuitous goal from Lee Dong-gook in the 89th minute to send the home fans into rapturous celebration. Festivities were short-lived though, with Ulsan’s new signing Mendy scoring in the 94th minute to ensure the spoils were shared. In doing so, Ulsan Hyundai became only the second team in the league this season to take something back from the Jeonju World Cup Stadium. Based on the run of play, it would be unreasonable to say a draw was not a fair result.
Full highlights can be viewed here.
Is Edu set to finally feature?
Since signing nearly three weeks ago, fans are yet to see their recently-returned hero appear in the match day squad, most likely due to the significant match sharpness he is probably lacking. Going from his arrival interview, the player expects to be featuring in the Champions League and therefore will need to be involved in these next three games if he wishes to be up for inclusion. Having featured in warm-up games between recent league fixtures, and also starring as the focal point of this game’s Suicide Squad-themed marketing campaign (while also deeming the occasion "Edu Day" by the club), it is incredibly likely we will see Edu take to the field at some point through this match.
It is difficult to know what to expect though. Whilst his record in Asian leagues is very good, Edu has not played since the end of last year. This has been further shown with the hesitancy Choi Kang-hee has taken in including in the team up until now. Furthermore, as I mentioned when he signed, Jeonbuk have not really needed him in recent weeks, especially now the team has found a formation and line-up that saw them win five games in a row recently against difficult opposition. Shoehorning his inclusion into the current tactics could upset the new-found rhythm of the team.
He will provide options though, in addition to hopefully supplying some of the goals that have been lacking from the likes of Kim Shin-wook. It will be interesting to see what transpires come Wednesday.
Suwon’s recent form
Suwon have had four additional days to rest unlike Jeonbuk, something which they may not have wanted seeing as they had recently found momentum and an unlikely six points against Pohang and Seongnam. They did however lose their most recent game against military side Sangju Sangmu but, unlike seasons past, that is not quite as shameful as it once was.
Suwon FC have also strengthened considerably during the summer transfer window, bringing in seven new faces and letting go four names that were deemed surplus to requirements. Most notably, they have brought in Australian striker Bruce Djite from Adelaide United to bolster their attack. The 29 year-olds most recent season in the A-League saw him score eleven goals in 26 appearances which, whilst not eye-catching, is a rate of return far greater than anyone in the current Suwon set up. He only featured as substitute in Suwon's recent game against Sangju due to his recent arrival, but should now be more likely for a greater role in Wednesday's game.
Jeonbuk's recent visit to Suwon FC took place just before their five game winning streak and implementation of a 4-1-4-1 strategy, with the match itself being a rather scrappy affair that resulted in a 2-2 draw. Whilst poor officiating certainly did not help matters on that occasion, it was ultimately Jeonbuk's defensive lapses that cost them.
With Jeonbuk likely trying to adjust their set-up to include Edu, as well as provide more game time to a recenlty-returned Lee Dong-gook, I fear the team could regress performance-wise, especially after recent matches where Lee Jong-ho has featured and played well as the striker. That said, I still think they will have more than enough quality to fight off a battling Suwon FC.
Predicted Score: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2-1 Suwon FC