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Writers Chat: Gamba Osaka vs Jeju United

After contrasting results in the opening ACL group stage match, Jeju United visit early pace setters Gamba Osaka. Will Jeju be able to up their game to get their first ACL points on the board? Or will Gamba stroll to another convincing win? In this look ahead to the midweek game, Duncan Elder spoke to Alan Gibson of J Soccer Magazine to preview the crucial ACL clash.
(header images via facebook.com/gambaosakaofficial and newsis.com)

Duncan asks, Alan answers.

Duncan Elder: Gamba had a pretty convincing win in their first ACL game against Adelaide. Can you do a quick summary of what went right for you?

Alan Gibson: Gamba played the game they planned. Took the chance(s) early and therefore settled in and relaxed. I think they were confident going into the game and early play only encouraged them.

DE: I noticed you finished fourth in the league last year, but the result against Adelaide has me scared. DId Gamba make many changes to their squad in the winter transfer window?

AG: As opposed to last pre-season, which was underwhelming to say the least, Gamba have made some changes. They've jettisoned some dead wood (but also a couple of players that were impressing, in Abe and Omori) to improve the depth of talent.

Left wing Izumisawa is tricky and will settle fast. Two new centre backs in Miura and Fabio both seem to have become immediate first choices. Young midfielder Ide also promising though not yet fit. Full back Hatsuse and utility (MF-based) Doan two very useful youngsters with a little more experience this year. Gamba seem to be well covered in all positions except centre forward... perhaps one on the way?!

DE: While Jeju have last season's K-League Young Player of the Year Ahn Hyeon-beom, I believe you have the J-League Young Player of the Year? Can you tell us a bit about Yosuke Ideguchi?

AG: Ideguchi was a marvel last year who made national team squads, Season Best XI and young player awards. If he concentrates on his game and not the hype (and agents telling him he's ready for an overseas move already, turning his head) he'll blossom into Japan's (needed) defensive midfielder for the next decade. He's got that bit of malicia, often lacking in Japanese, too. He'll rack up yellow cards, but for the "right reasons". Breakout (if last year's wasn't breakout enough?!) season ahead!

DE: What can Jeju expect from Gamba in this game? Do they play in a certain way? Or have any standout players?

AG: As noted above, it seems that Gamba are trying a completely new central defensive pairing and they don't seem 100% settled yet. Could be pushed, tested by the right players. 

Gamba will pass, patiently build, and break down a parked bus with a killer pass, but they're also adept at suddenly trying one quick, long through ball suddenly, that often surprises.
The creativity of so many excellent midfield players might be stifled by a lack of a dynamic centre forward/real striker. Nagasawa scores often enough but a faster-thinking/moving big man would score a lot more.

DE: What are your predictions for the game?

AG: Nothing less than a comfortable home win expected... preferably with a few goals. Shall we go for 3-0?!

FIFA 17 Preview

Here's a look at what Marc Guay's FIFA 17 simulation predicted.

Alan asks, Duncan answers.

Alan Gibson: What's a realistic target for your boys? Can you win this thing?

Duncan Elder: I think a realistic target will be getting out of the group and then seeing how things go. We aren't ACL regulars and don't have the star players that some of the competition’s heavyweights have. However, as we showed last week we can certainly compete with anyone and as such, you never know what might happen!

AG: Is Ahn Hyeon-beom ready to step up and be counted?

DE: Last season he certainly made his presence in the team count, and he scored a decent number of goals. His aim for this season should be to get a few more starts, add to his goal tally, and really make himself a name the manager can't afford to leave out of the team.

AG: Did you watch the Gamba games last week? Your thoughts?

DE: No, haha it wasn't on Korean TV unfortunately so I didn't catch it. By all counts though it sounds like you played very well.

AG: How are Korean teams in general, yours in particular, treating the ACL compared to the league? 

DE: I think Jeju will realize that while we, of course, want to qualify for the ACL again next year, it may not happen. As such we will want to really make the most of this chance in the competition. We fielded a full strength team in the first game and I expect that to be the case in every game of the competition. 

I'm the last game we pretty much stuck with the team that performed so well last season, with only a couple of new signings starting. However, despite dominating a lot of the game, the final product wasn't there. As such, it will be interesting to see if any more new signings make the starting 11 for this match.

AG: Prediction?

DE: Jeju were arguably the better team in the last game, having only been let down by their final product. As its an away game, we may have to play a bit more reactively, and this could actually suit us. I think we'll create chances and be solid defensively so as long as we can improve our finishing I think we’ll be alright. 

For the final result, I'll go for a score draw. 1-1.

Big thanks to Alan for taking the time to chat. As part of chatting with us JSoccer is currently offering all 22 back issue PDFs for just $20. Simply Paypal $20 to alan@jsoccer.com, leave your email address and mention K-League United when you send your message!

1 comment

  1. HAHA Alan Gibson. You're a pencil dick. JEJU UNITED!


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