Writers Chat: Pohang Steelers vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Matthew asks Josh
MB: Last time these two teams faced one another, Jeonbuk abruptly ended Pohang’s spell of good form with a 3-0 win, a run of form which they have since struggled to recover. What has been going wrong for Pohang recently?
JB:Yes going into that game confidence was high, team morale was high, they seemed to have gotten back on the proverbial horse, they were ready for the tough task at hand, and then Jeonbuk just crushed their hopes. Since then it's gotten worse then how we started the season. The one glimmer of hope was Yang Dong-hyun's 2 goal game and player of the week recognition vs Incheon. Well one thing that I see every game is our inability to finish in front on the net, we are still bunching around the center of the pitch when we should be spreading out and playing the whole field, and there's no hustle with the defense. You'd think a team managed by Choi Jin-cheul the defense would be a wall. Honestly and this may sound bad but, everything needs to be changed.
MB:With Jeju defeating Pohang 3-0 midweek, the table is slowly beginning to divide into two halves. Are dreams of a Champions League berth dead in Pohang?
JB:Not quite, I think if we can at the very least collect a point from the Jeonbuk game and then win a few key games we could sneak into the playoffs. It all comes down to how much the team wants to be in the Champions League all the ingredients are there we just need to bake the best cake anyone has ever tasted.
MB:Can you see any line-up changes from the Jeju game to counter specific threats?
JB:When I first saw the line-up I was excited I thought we'd be in for a great game with plenty of goals going with the 4-3-3 and having Veselinovic, Lulinha and Shim Dong-woon but, what I got was disappointment. I was curious to know where was Yang Dong-hyun and why wasn't he in the line-up. Here's something interesting I found when Pohang lines up 3-4-3 with Kim Won-il, Kim Jong-su, and Kim Gwang-seok our record is 5-0. Last game's back line was the 9th different set of defenders Choi Jin-cheul has used this season. So I think changes are last thing this team needs, we need structure, a set line-up used for every game. A good start would be having Kim Won-il, Kim Jong-su, and Kim Gwang-seok at the back line.
MB:If you were to single out any Jeonbuk player to sign and improve your team, who would it be and why?
JB:Well I'm not really interested in one player, let me ask you this are you familiar with the movie Space Jam with Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes? If not, watch it i highly recommend it. Consider Pohang as the Monstars and Jeonbuk as the Looney Tunes something to that effect. MB:Finally, what is your score prediction?
JB:I have a doctor's note it reads, "Josh will continue to write previews but, in anything that is described as a score prediction, conjecture, guess, foresight, prophecy, or soothsaying he is excused due to his 0-3 record". So as you can clearly see it's a health hazard for me to predict the score.
Josh asks Matthew
JB:Hypothetically just between me and you how would a team beat Jeonbuk? Please go into as much details as possible, strictly hypothetical for research purposes. MB:Going by the statistics, Jeonbuk have a tendency to underestimate opposition, which has led to a number of disappointing draws against weaker opposition. In fact, all but two of their ten draws were earned from winning positions, with only three of these draws being from opposition currently occupying the top half. Furthermore, Jeonbuk have an underwhelming away record for a team in first place, with only four wins on their travels. These both could prove to be of Pohang’s benefit this weekend. Tactically speaking though, Jeonbuk prefer to play teams who also come forward as it allows them space to counter quickly. Their professional 3-0 demolishing of FC Tokyo still stands as their most ruthless performance this year in my opinion and a perfect example of this. When a team sits back though, parking the bus so to speak, Jeonbuk do struggle to break through, but ultimately they always find a way with their full-force midfield of Leonardo, Lee Jae-sung, Kim Bo-kyung and Lopes having enough understanding and short passing interchanges between them to unlock the stubbornest of defences. Offering these four little time on the ball, would be the best place to start, as nearly of Jeonbuk’s strikers struggle to create for themselves. It would be a highly intensive tactic though with little room for error. Allowing just two of them some space to operate is usually enough for them to make chances. Finally, Jeonbuk’s three defeats across all competitions have come when there has been significant squad rotation. I suppose my point is, based on their current form, just hope Jeonbuk rotate the line-up heavily and that they are away. With ACL knockout rounds still two weeks away though, I think a full strength squad will be lining up come Sunday evening. JB:With Lopes missing another game mid-week what are you thoughts on how the league deals with suspensions? MB:Accumulating three yellow cards for a single match suspension does seem a little harsh, especially when you look at the league’s European counterparts where most allow five to be accumulated. I suppose it is intended to discourage unfair play, but surely the threshold could be increased slightly. With multiple instances of questionable yellow cards this season, it is unnerving that one incorrect caution is a third of a way to a ban. JB:Is there any team who can derail the bullet train that is Jeonbuk? MB:It has got to the point now where it will be a surprise for whichever K-League team can defeat Jeonbuk first. Looking at the upcoming fixtures though, I have highlighted next week’s game against Incheon and the following weekend’s game against FC Seoul as potential banana skins. Incheon United are in good form for a team in a relegation fight, and Jeonbuk are expected to rotate heavily for that game in preparation for an away trip to Shanghai the following Tuesday. Jeonbuk also have not performed well against Incheon this season, with them being the only team they are yet to defeat. I have also picked FC Seoul because, whilst they also have a Champions League game, they are playing their first leg on home soil as well as playing Jeonbuk on their turf and thus have the advantage of not traveling. Also, FC Seoul are slowly finding wins again and should be a different proposition to the team that was defeated 3-2 in July. JB:If you could choose any player from this Pohang side to play in the current Jeonbuk team, who would it be and why? MB:I want to opt for Shim Dong-woon but I am unsure where he would fit in as he would displace either Leonardo or Lopes. That said, perhaps Lopes could move up-front to accommodate him. Jeonbuk have a surprising lack of scoring strikers at the moment, something which they have tried to address with the re-signing of Edu. Whilst Yang Dong-hyun has scored ten goals for Pohang this season, more than any Jeonbuk player, I am unsure whether he would be able to displace club favourites Lee Dong-gook and Edu, as well as the promising Lee Jong-ho. He could take Kim Shin-wook’s place on the bench I guess. I will stick to my former choice of Shim Dong-woon and work out the tactics later. JB:Finally, score prediction? Pohang Steelerss 1-2 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motor
We are trying something different this week. Losing writer must undertake a forfeit. Vote in our Twitter poll for what you think that should be:
For Pohang-Jeonbuk we've decided on a bet. Read our preview for terms & vote. #KLeague [https://t.co/mS05Wow7d0 ]— Josh (@KLeague_Josh) August 12, 2016