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Writer's Chat: Ansan Greeners Vs Daejeon Citizen

After a hectic and long winter of preparations, transfers, new managers and even new teams, the 2017 K League Challenge season is finally upon us. Daejeon Citizen, under the stewardship of Lee Youngik - making his management bow, head north to Ansan to take on the newly founded Ansan Greeners. Ahead of Saturday's clash, I sat down with our Ansan Greeners correspondent Kyle Gobler to discuss what we expect for the upcoming season and indeed for Greeners' first ever competitive match.
(Header images courtesy of Facebook.com/ansanfc and Facebook.com/dcfc1997)

Paul Asks Kyle Answers

Paul Neat: A new era in the greenest city in Korea, it's a brand new team with a brand new squad of players so it won't be easy to gauge but how do you think the season will pan out?

Kyle Gobler: I'd be happy at mid-table. Ansan comes in with a very inexperienced team. We just don't want another Goyang scenario.

PN: It's a first time Ansan have had foreign players, you singled out Luka Rotkovic in particular as a possible one to watch, what do you think he will bring to the table?

KG: He is a strong and physical player and even though he is not that tall, he is used to physical battles with Eastern European players. A strong strike could make him a threat from anywhere in the final third. I have actually secured an interview with Roktovic so stay tuned to read what he has to say about this move to Korea.

PN: How can we expect Ansan to line up on Saturday formation wise? What will their approach be do you think?

KG: I predict a 4-4-2 with an emphasis on attacking. Lee Heungsil and the Ansan coaching staff have said they want goals and plenty of them. I just hope the Greeners young defence can keep the ball out of the net.

PN: Who are you most wary about amongst the Daejeon players?

KG: The big Romainain Cristian Dănălache is a scary player up top. Managing to score 19 goals last season at Gyeongnam was no easy task. His former Gyeongnam teammate Lee Hoseok could make things easier for him as they have great chemistry together. Essentially, I am worried about letting Dănălache free in space near the goal. He can finish, for sure.  Also, excited to see what Temor Leste/Brazilian man Pedro Henrique is all about.

PN: Finally, score predictions; Ansan to woo the Wa in their first ever match? Or can Daejeon throw a spanner in the works?

KG: Woo the Wa, I'm stealing that! I see Daejeon as the stronger team coming into this match. I don't expect beautiful play from Ansan in their first few matches. I'm excited to watch that process but for this match-up, I see The Purples over the Greeners.

Kyle Asks Paul Answers

Kyle Gobler: Can Daejeon take advantage of the youth of the Ansan backline? Who should we look for from Daejeon to create the most problems?

Paul Neat: Well, Daejeon certainly have experience up top and so I'd expect the wily veteran Dănălache to exploit any uncertainty or nervousness in a young back line. His partner in crime, Lee Hoseok, is very quick and likes to play on the shoulder of the last man so I'd be expecting Lee to be trying to unlock the Greeners defence for Dănălache to get in.

There's also Hwang Inbeom, having someone like Dănălache with the ability to hold the ball up enables number 10-type players like Hwang Inbeom to receive the ball in advanced positions. And, as we have seen from him he knows how to find the back of the net from distance.

KG: Who do you see as the leaders for Daejeon early in the season?

PN: The former FC Seoul and ex-Republic of Korea centre back Kim Jinkyu is the captain and a very experienced player who is a real coup for Daejeon. I'd expect him to be guiding the younger players through, as any captain should.

In addition to Kim Jinkyu there's also the likes of Kim Daeyeol who won promotion with Daegu last year. He has been there and done it before so I am sure there's some wisdom to be passed on to the younger or more inexperienced players, certainly to the likes of Kim Jungjoo who is making the step up to K League after a spell with Ulsan Dolphins in the National League.

KG: What are your expectations for the boys in "purple" in 2017? What are the main weaknesses in the squad currently?

PN: I am expecting a promotion push, quite simply. The squad is extremely strong, certainly compared to Daejeon squads of the last three or four years. But, having said that, the league is also the strongest it has ever been since its inception in 2013 and as thus, because there are five or six teams that would stake a real claim to be considered genuine contenders for promotion, it would be pure folly to predict anything other than to be in the playoff mix.

In terms of weaknesses, I would only really be worried about experience in the full back areas but other than that Daejeon are well catered for.

KG: Score prediction?

PN: I am going to go for a 2-0 win for Daejeon, a Christian Dănălache brace.

Ansan Greeners Vs Daejeon Citizen kick off at 3pm on Saturday 4th March 2017.

1 comment

  1. Why does everyone forget the legend that is Emmanuel Frances?


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