[Recent News][6]

K League 1
K League 2
FC Seoul
Korean National Football Team
Seoul E-Land
FA Cup
K-League Classic
Pohang Steelers
K League Challenge
Suwon Bluewings
Seongnam FC
Bucheon 1995
Suwon FC
Daejeon Citizen
Football Manager
From The Stands
K League Classic
Busan IPark
World Cup
Korean national team
Elimination Game
Asian Cup
KNT Women
Chungbuk Cheongju
K League All Star Game
Russia 2018
East Asia Cup
Qatar 2022
Power Rankings
Away Days
Club World Cup
Busan Transport
Inter Korea
North Korea
Ulsan Citizen
Yangpyeong FC
Asian Games
Chiangrai United
Cho Hyun-woo
Final A
Final B
Final Round
Goyang Citizen
Mokpo City
National League
Russia 2020
Winners Circle

Writers' Chat: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Suwon Bluewings

The final game of the season sees this year's K League Classic Champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors play host to a Suwon Samsung Bluewings side in need of a point to ensure Champions League football again at the Big Bird next season.
The final game of the season sees this year's K League Classic Champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors play host to a Suwon Samsung Bluewings side in need of a point to ensure Champions League football at the Big Bird next season. Columnists Matthew Binns and Scott Whitelock sat down to chat about what to expect in the continuing saga of this rivalry.

Matthew asks, Scott answers

Matthew Binns: Johnathan has rightfully been nominated for the league’s MVP and has understandably been one of Suwon’s prized assets this season. Besides him though, who would you pick out as a player who has done well this year and one that Jeonbuk should watch out for?

Scott Whitelock: Without doubt the only other standout performer this year has been Kim Min-woo. The left-wing back has been in scintillating form all season and has been instrumental to Suwon's successes this year. His tally of 6 goals and 5 assists from a defensive position is better than most other midfield players in the league can register but it is his all round contribution to the team that has made him such an important player for Suwon and has earned him a recall to the Korean national team this year.

He has ensured that the loss of star player Hong-chul in the winter hasn't been felt too much, but unfortunately, much like Hong-chul last year, Kim Min-woo will depart for Sangju Sangmu at the end of the season. He is also ineligible for this game through suspension meaning that he may have already played his last ever game for Suwon. There is currently no agreement between the club and the player as to whether he will return to Suwon once his military service has finished but if he is to never return he will be warmly remembered for the passion and skill he has shown representing Suwon.

MB: Both Kim Min-woo and Koo Ja-ryoung are suspended for this game after picking up their sixth yellow cards last time out against Jeju United. With a point required to guarantee Champions League football next season, how much could their absence be felt on Sunday?

SW: The absence of Koo shouldn't be felt too hard as Suwon have far too many centre-backs in their squad. Either Kwak Kwang-seon, Yang Sang-min or the returning Matthew Jurman could slot into the team rather easily and so that shouldn't trouble Seo Jung-won's thinking too much.

However, as I have mentioned, Kim Min-woo has been invaluable to Suwon this season. But he has not only been invaluable because of his standard of performance but because he is also the only left-footed player in the Suwon squad that can play in the left wing-back role effectively. Often, when Min-woo has been injured or suspended, Seo Jung-won has opted to play either a left-footed midfielder in that role or one of the two right-footed wing-backs (Jang Ho-ik and Koh Seung-beom) in that position. And the performances of the team on those occasions have consistently fallen beyond average as a result of that.

However, with only a point needed from the game Suwon don't necessarily require their full-back's to put in an exceptional attacking performance and they can afford to just rely on their central players to produce a moment of magic to book their spot in next year's ACL.

MB: This season has seen Suwon return to the upper echelons of the league and, while they struggled to make an impact in the title race as many predicted, this year should perhaps be seen in a more positive light. What areas do you think need improving to take Suwon to that next level?

SW: It's still difficult to fully assess this season because if Suwon ever have a season where they don't qualify for the Champions League or win a trophy then it should be deemed a failure. It's quite right to think that one of the biggest teams, and the best supported team in Korea, should aspire to be champions every single year. Thus, if Suwon lose this game then they should be labelled as failures.

However, if they do secure 3rd spot, I would, myself, deem it as a good season. They were very harshly treated in their FA Cup semi-final and should realistically be facing an out of form Ulsan in the final. And if it wasn't for some terrible refereeing in that game against Busan they would be very much odds on to retain their FA Cup title.

Seo Jung-won receives a lot of protection from the Suwon board and the Suwon supporters because of his legendary status at the club but next year will be the making or destroying of him. Suwon must, atleast, mount a serious challenge for the title next year and anything less will be deemed as an ultimate failure. He already has the basis of a title winning squad but he will need to strengthen certain areas in the winter transfer window.

At the top of his list should be a creative number 10, a left footed wing-back to replace the outgoing Kim Min-woo and 2 more pacy attacking players. Suwon have shown this year that when they are on form they are almost unstoppable. But they need more players that can produce a moment of magic to turn even games in their favour. In short, regardless of what happens in this game, the months of December, January and February will probably be the most important in the whole of the 2018 season.

MB: How do you see this game playing out?

SW: With Jeonbuk's title already in the bag my hope is that Choi Kang-hee will be a little more experimental in his lineup on this upcoming Sunday. If he does field a slightly weakened team I think Suwon will have enough quality to at least come away from Jeonju with a point and seal their place in next year's edition of the ACL.

Scott's Predicted Score: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 1-1 Suwon Bluewings

Scott asks, Matthew answers

Scott Whitelock: With Jeonbuk's 5th title already in the bag Choi Kang-hee rang the changes in their last league game. Do you imagine he will do the same against Suwon? 

Matthew Binns: I feel it would be a wasted opportunity not to, but a lot of marketing has gone into this match, topped off by the reveal of next season's home strip and a new club emblem. I suppose they have to do something to get the punters in seeing as the league is all wrapped up and the trophy already presented, so there is the slight possibility a strong line up could still feature.

Regardless, I do expect first-team regulars such as Lee Jae-sung, Lee Seung-gi, and perhaps Kim Jin-su to be involved, but I imagine Choi will still stick with the likes of promising youngsters Hwang Byeong-keun (goalkeeper) and  Jang Yun-ho (central midfielder). Final chances may also be handed to the likes of Ko Moo-yeol who has failed to impress and Éder who looks as if he is on the way out. Finally, unless a new contract is signed, Edu is set to retire after this match so expect Jeonbuk's surprising top scorer this season to also feature.

SW: With a much weaker squad than last term Jeonbuk have won the title at a canter this year. I personally think that is entirely due to the manager's performance but some commentators have doubted whether Choi should be in the running for the manager of the year award this year. Do you think that is fair and how do you assess the manager's influence on the team? 

MB: I would agree with you here. Whilst I have been known to criticise Choi Kang-hee heavily on this site, his performance and tactical tweaks such as formation adjustments and the repositioning of players such as Lee Seung-gi to central midfield, especially over these last six rounds, have shown he may be more than the anti-football coach that some quarters would make him out to be. The way long term injuries to Lopes, Lee Jae-sung, and Lee Seung-gi, plus the departure of influential midfielder Kim Bo-kyung were also handled very well, demonstrating his ability to handle team selection dilemmas

If a two goal victory can be achieved on Sunday, Jeonbuk will have amassed more points than they would have last year even if there had not been a deduction. They will have also scored more goals whilst conceding notably less. This is certainly saying something given the ruthlessness that last season's iteration were known for at times, although considering last year's team was battling on multiple fronts, claiming the Champions League and nearly going the domestic season unbeaten, I would say they still edge it somewhat.

It should also be said that, while Jeonbuk are often beaten with the stick of playing unattractive football, they have clocked up some impressive stats this campaign. A few rounds back, they were leading the league in numbers of passes within the final third, within the penalty box and also in terms of pass completion. They were also the second highest for one-touch passing, pointing to a level of tempo that has made them quite deadly. This certainly is not a side just a hitting it to the general area of Kim Shin-wook as they sometimes get written off as. This team are surprisingly incisive and effective. That said, even I too found last year's team more exciting going forward, but what this year's side has not lost is their fight. There have been performances this season where they have looked like a team thoroughly brassed off, and that sense of determination, and perhaps even entitlement, is something the manager has continued to instil in them and deserves credit for doing so.

SW: With Lee Dong-gook look set to sign on for Jeonbuk for another year, they look to be advancing into next year with another group of veteran strikers. Do you think that is the right choice? And should Jeonbuk look to give more young players a chance next season? 

MB: Lee Dong-gook is certainly a strange case. Whilst logic would suggest he should consider winding down, the goodwill and adulation he receives from the fans at the club continues to grow. Whilst he is still contributing on the pitch, then giving him a one year extension with perhaps a more bench-based role (as he has mostly been this season) would not harm anyone. He certainly has things to offer the team in terms of experience and advice. With Edu set to retire however, Jeonbuk will have to recruit attacking talent in the summer, and the hope would be for someone the younger side of thirty. I personally would take all three of Daegu FC's Brazilians tomorrow, but sadly I do not think they are going anywhere. Perhaps Johnathan fancies wearing neon green though?

The club have also been investing in youth, ploughing the majority of their Champions League winnings into academy facilities, whilst also signing a memorandum of understanding with Indonesian side Persija Jakarta to help develop young players showing they have a keen eye on the future. With youthful talents such as Kim Min-jae, Hwang Byeong-keun and Jang Yun-ho getting significant game time this year, hopefully the old guard will slowly be making way in the near future.

SW: What is your prediction for this game?

MB: I think Suwon will want this more, and Jeonbuk could be lulled into treating this match as a bit of a victory parade. Perhaps the best outcome for the home fans is if a second-string is picked as they will perhaps be more motivated. After all, those that came into the side to play against Ulsan certainly fared well enough. With the team sheet somewhat up in the air, I will match you and opt for the draw.

Matthew's Predicted Score: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 1-1 Suwon Bluewings

1 comment

  1. ������ neon green will be the men in black with video as always.... invincible...


Start typing and press Enter to search