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Writers' Chat: Bucheon 1995 Vs Daejeon Citizen

Daejeon Citizen, with just one league win in 2017, head to west Gyeonggi-do this Saturday evening to take on a strong Bucheon 1995 side who are on the back of three straight league wins. Both Bucheon and Daejeon were tipped as being potential promotion candidates but thus far the latter have failed to live up to their billing. Ahead of Saturday's eagerly anticipated clash which, should results elsewhere go in their favour, could see Bucheon go top.

Bucheon 1995Daejeon Citizen

Competition:K League Challenge

Date:Apr 15, 2017
Game Week:Round 7
Venue:Bucheon Civic Stadium

K League United's Alastair Middleton and Paul Neat discussed the ins and outs of all things Bucheon and Daejeon and with Bucheon being the home team, first Alistair asked Paul:

Just the solitary win in the league for Daejeon so far this season and they currently lie in 8th place. Are you disappointed with the start to the season or is it reasonably in line with expectations?

I did expect more, yes. Obviously it takes time for a team to gel but I'd hazard a guess that the vast majority of teams in the division have more or less had to build a new team from back to front so Daejeon can't use that as an excuse. Daejeon had a pretty thorough pre-season this year, compared to most years, and so I'd hoped to see them hit the ground running. 

At present, manager Lee Youngik doesn't seem to know his best eleven, certainly not his best back four or goalkeeper and so any efforts to get them to to gel are being inhibited. Once he stops meddling Daejeon might actually find some consistency.

Last year it was often a case of if Kim Dongchan didn't score, nobody did. This year Cristian Danalache has scored a couple while Lee Hoseok netted three in the first three games but hasn't added any since. With Danalache suspended, where are Daejeon's goals likely to come from? Should the Bucheon keeper prepare a chair and pair of slippers?

That is a worry. Last Saturday Han Seunghyup, an inexperienced striker that only has 11 career league goals to his name, started up top. Lee seems to prefer him to Pedro, the Brazilian-East Timorian, who seldom ever makes the bench, his only appearance was in the FA Cup versus Cheonan. Outside of Cristian Danalache, I do worry about where the goals will come from. Hopefully, Lee Hoseok can step up in his absence and perhaps play down the middle with Levan and Kim Jungjoo on either side.

I know you've predicted big things for Hwang Inbeom. I believe he's been ever present so far this term, so how's he been getting on?

He has been ever present but has been somewhat anonymous and so I have been distinctly unimpressed with him thus far. Perhaps this is because of the high expectations that people have of him, but for me he needs to be bossing games at this level before he can even think about making a move to a big club. 

Rumour has it that is off to a big European club in the summer but in my eyes he is not ready yet. I wouldn't want him to become another Suk Hyunjun, who seems to have built this nomadic football career across Europe. I want more goals and assists and for him to do that he needs to be more assertive. 

He is a quiet young man by nature and it shows on the pitch too.

You've seen quite a lot of Challenge already this season. It's early days but how do you see things playing out? Are Seongnam that bad? Who's impressed you and can Daejeon still mount a promotion push?

I did expect Seongnam to have been the early pace setters but it seems as though they have carried on from last season in terms of with their inability to find the net. They were distinctly average against Daejeon a few weeks ago, and if it wasn't for wayward shooting from Danalache in particular, Daejeon ought to have won that one. 

With Seongnam's poor start in mind, the current top four is more or less how I would foresee the promotion hunt playing out. Daejeon haven't played Suwon or Busan yet but the prospect of going down to the Gudeok in particular to face Cho Jinho worries me, I could see Citizen getting soundly beaten down there. 

Daejeon need to sort themselves out rather soon if they are to push for promotion, it would seem that the playoffs would be the most realistic route back into the Classic as this juncture. But, Lee Youngik needs to decide on a number one goalkeeper and stick with the same back four. Daejeon can't expect to keep many clean sheets when the back four/five is different from week to week.

Gyeongnam have been the team that have impressed me the most so far, but the 2-1 defeat down in Changwon was a bitter pill to swallow after going 1-0 up in the 80th minute.

Prediction for the weekend?

The hopeless optimist in me would like to say a Daejeon win but I think Bucheon will be too strong and so I will go for 2-0 to Bucheon. Daejeon will probably be without their captain and Cristian Danalache and as thus I don't see any leaders stepping up in their absence.

Daejeon correspondent Paul asks Alastair:

After a tricky start, two defeats in the first three games, Bucheon are on a run of three straight league wins and four in all competitions. Do you feel as though things have clicked into place and that a serious promotion push is in the offing?

Things have clicked remarkably quickly given the upheaval in the close-season but when making my perhaps overly pessimistic pre-season predictions, I possibly underestimated just how much other clubs were in flux too. The jury is still out on the new imports with Haris Harba not featuring since being hooked at half-time in second game of the season but ex-Busan man Nilson has since come in and played well. 

Bucheon lost three of their four first choice defenders from last season but the way the new back-four has gelled has been impressive and while I don’t expect them to be challenging for automatic promotion, Bucheon should be targeting the highest possible play-off place in what looks a very open Challenge.

Waguininho has got two goals this term, he managed just nine last year, do you think an in form and firing Waguininho will be the difference in terms of going up this year? Who else is proving to be key thus far? Who should Daejeon fans watch out for?

Last year, Lukian was the key man with Waguininho playing a supporting role that he thrived in; nine goals to the main man’s fifteen was a very good return. Lukian’s gone now (he’s netted a couple but isn’t exactly pulling up trees so far at Busan but that’s beside the point) so there is more pressure on Waguininho this time around. 

Fortunately Kim Shin is proving to be a good acquisition with a couple of goals (including an early goal of the season contender against Busan) and although he’s only completed the 90 minutes once, his all-round contribution has been very solid. This allows Waguininho to take up that supporting role once more. Kim Shin scored three times for Chungju against Daejeon last season – albeit two of them in losing causes, as most of Chungju’s causes were – and he’s another Daejeon need to keep quiet. At least in the first half.

Coach Lee Youngik has not been afraid to wield the axe for Daejeon, changing his goalkeeper on a regular basis and rotating the back four but has mostly been sticking to a 4-3-3, how can we expect Bucheon to line up come Saturday? Do you think the current system needs any tweaks?

Unlike Daejeon’s Tinkerman Lee, Bucheon’s Jung Gap-seok has kept a remarkably settled team with no fewer than nine players having started every game so far. Lately the favoured line-up has been Ryu Won-woo in goal; Lim Dong-hyeok, Park Min, Kim Han-bin and Ahn Tae-hyun across the back with Nilson flitting between defence and midfield where he joins Moon Ki-han, Kim Young-nam and Jin Chang-soo. Kim Shin plays as striker with Waguininho being free to roam. For all his talent, Kim Shin doesn’t usually make it very far into the 2nd half and Shin Hyun-joon is his usual replacement, although he is yet to find the net.

Would I tweak anything? Naturally, if I were the Manager, Bucheon would be playing 4-4-2. But I’m not.

Daejeon will be without Danalache through suspension and most likely captain Kim Jinkyu through injury, any team news, injuries or suspensions to speak of?

As far as I’m aware, there’s nothing to report coming out of last week’s somewhat fortunate last minute victory over basement-dwellers Seongnam, so while I may be proved wrong come Saturday, I’d be surprised if Jung opts to change things up now and the line-up could very well be the one above.

Finally, what are you predicting for Saturday's game?

I can’t see it being a free-scoring affair but bear in mind I had Bucheon’s game away at Ansan as being a nailed-on 0-0 and that ended up a six-goal thriller. However, Daejeon’s lack of attacking threat in the absence of Danalache is concerning and I think Bucheon have the greater chance of sneaking one. Bucheon 1-0 Daejeon.

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