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Writers' Chat: Daegu FC vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Saturday's late kick-off sees recently humbled Asian Champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors travel to face a Daegu FC side who are still unbeaten at home. Our Daegu FC columnist Jung Muyeol sat down with Jeonbuk columnist Matthew Binns to preview this weekend's fixture.

Muyeol asks, Matthew answers

Jung Muyeol: It was a shocking to see Jeonbuk massacred by Jeju 4-0. The last time you conceded four gaols in a game was 12 years ago. What are some reasons for the big defeat?

Matthew Binns: I considered it a possibility before kick off that Choi Kang-hee may try to match Jeju's formation but felt he would be foolish to do so and anticipated he would stick with the successful single striker line-up and four at the back, a tactic that has proven to work well for Jeonbuk. It turns out I predicted wrong on this occasion. Jeonbuk operated with a back three which caused them particular distress. They also played Kim Min-jae, a promising 19 year old who has featured only as a centre-back so far, on the right wing for the absent Lee Yong and Park Won-jae, a player who does admittedly have the experience for the role, on the left for the suspended and superior Kim Jin-su. A defence that has looked fairly organised all season just looked at odds with one another, further compounded when Jeonbuk had to chase an increasing lead, making them more susceptible to Jeju's quick counter attacks.

JM: Your side has hit the bar five times from last two games in a row. It’s significantly unlucky to you. This year, the Green Boys scored only 12 goals from 9 games, which doesn’t suit your "Dakgong" identity properly. Compared to us, there is only a goal difference. How can this be improved?

MB: I think a lot more has been made of Jeonbuk's attack this season than it should be. Last season Jeonbuk benefitted from the now departed Leonardo and the currently injured Lopes on both wings, as well as the injured Lee Jae-sung in central midfield. All three of these players led Jeonbuk's assist charts (and goals) last season as well as all three featuring in the K League Team of the Year. Their absence has been strongly felt and, especially in terms of Leonardo's departure, not enough has been done to replace them. Éder and Kim Jin-su have looked solid signings, but Jeonbuk do look significantly weaker in the middle third of the park when compared to 2016. Hopefully the return of Lee Jae-sung and Lopes should see Jeonbuk start to score more and pull away once again later this season.

Also, as often mentioned, Jeonbuk's three strikers Kim Shin-wook, Lee Dong-gook and Edu all lack pace and have often struggled to find the net at times both this and last season. It is beating a well-banged drum, but Lee Jong-ho looked the most promising striker last season and one for the future, but Choi Kang-hee had other ideas and offloaded him to Ulsan in a deal to acquire stronger defenders.

JM: Even though you have been defeated two times in a row, you are still likely to beat Daegu easily. How do you think Jeonbuk will pick up the pieces?

MB: Hopefully for Jeonbuk supporters, the team will have treated Wednesday as need for a call to action, with players itching to set the record straight. Ideally the manager will have learned from his mistakes and opt for a formation and team selection that suits the players available as well as respects the threat posed by Daegu, something that Choi Kang-hee does not do enough of when considering his opponents in my opinion. Kim Jin-su will also have returned from suspension which will be a welcome boost.

JM: Your prediction?

MB: As you mentioned, Jeonbuk are favourites for this match. I could have seen Daegu edging a draw based on Jeonbuk's surprisingly poor away record but, given the manner in which they were defeated on Wednesday, I expect the Asian Champions to come out with a point to prove.

Matthew's Predicted Score: Daegu FC 0-2 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Matthew asks, Muyeol answers

Matthew Binns: Wednesday saw Daegu fall narrowly to Ulsan by a goal to nil. How did you feel the match went as a whole and was the result fair?

Jung Muyeol: The result looked pretty fair, but it was a bit of a shame for us. We didn’t show what we were supposed to do at all and players looked significantly worn-out after a fierce fight with Seoul last Sunday. Furthermore, having Kim Sun-min out in the middle of the first half was unexpected and seriously critical for us because he is the only player capable of creating chances in the midfield area.

MB: New signing Léo Mineiro has certainly settled in well since joining in the winter transfer window, scoring four goals so far in this league campaign and grabbing a lot of the headlines. What did you think of Daegu’s transfer business in pre-season and who else has particularly stood out since arriving?

JM: Actually, Leo wasn’t fully welcomed when we heard the signing because he spent last two seasons in the second division of J League and his video highlights were not very impressive. However, unlike the concern, he has performed very well by exploiting the flank. I don’t know the hidden secret of finding decent foreign players but having a Brazilian coach, called Andre, would be one of reasons as he already experienced Korea as a player. So the presence of him would be very helpful for young lads in many ways, on and off the pitch.

The most outstanding player, I would definitely say, is Evandro with 4 goals. Actually he was not in our plans during the pre-season and he joined us to replace Junior who was injured in the opening match. The first time he made his debut against Jeonnam, he faced huge jeers and criticism for wasting two clear cut chances with a less than eager attitude. After that his attitude has changed completely and he has been quite on fire, making it up to us.

MB: How do you think Daegu will approach this game tactically?

JM: Our manager, Son Hyun-jun must feel frustrated as key players – Cesinha, Shin Chang-moo, Kim Sun-min, Park Tae-hong are currently out due to injuries. As a result, more chances are likely to be given to youngsters like Kim Kyung-joon, Kim Dae-won and Park Han-bin. Tactically, I think Daegu would be retreating and try to find a chance to counterattack swiftly through each side.

MB: What do you think will happen?

JM: Daegu has been unbeaten at home for this year with two wins and a draw from 3 games. I hope Jeonbuk doesn’t tread on children’s hope mercilessly as many children are expected to come and see in celebration of Children’s Day.

Muyeol's Predicted Score: Daegu FC 1-1 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

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