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Preview: Gangwon FC vs FC Seoul

Preview: Gangwon FC Vs FC Seoul K League 1 Round 13
Gangwon FC’s topsy-turvy season continued last week with a 5-3 win over Jeju United followed by a 3-0 defeat by Sangju Sangmu. Gangwon are currently in mid-table, but with Champions League aspirations. As are their opponents at the weekend, FC Seoul, who have four points from two games under new manager Lee Eul-yong and will be hoping to build on that with a run that propels them back up the table. Steve Price and Paul Neat have all the information you need to know for Seoul’s trip to Chuncheon.
(image via K League)

Last Time Out

Gangwon failed to score for their second time in three games when they lost 3-0 to Sangmu Sangju at the weekend. Those two blanks were sandwiched by five goals scored away to Jeju United in midweek. Gangwon also hit the woodwork twice against Sangju, but were undone by their opponent’s more direct style of football.

Kim Do-hyeong opened the scoring for the army team on 40 minutes, controlling a long pass on his chest before turning Jeong Seung-yong inside out and slotting the ball in the bottom corner with the outside of his boot. Shim Dong-woon tapped in a cross to make it 2-0 early in the second half; it wasn’t as spectacular as Shim's midweek goal against Jeonnam, but they all count. Kim Do-hyeong added his second and Sangju’s third on 68 minutes when he reacted quickly to a save by Lee Beom-young.

Seoul come into this match on the back of a 2-1 win against Suwon Bluewings. Seoul scored early when Evandro got the better of the Suwon defender before cutting the ball back across goal for Anderson to tap into an empty net. The pair linked up again for Seoul’s second, with Anderson getting on the end of Evandro's sublime crossfield pass before coolly finishing. Suwon scored with a penalty late on and had two goals disallowed for offside.

The K League Coach's tactical assessment of FC Seoul against Suwon Bluewings: here

Previous Meetings

Gangwon beat Seoul 2-1 in Sangam in round two of this season. A rare Park Chu-young goal from open play gave Seoul the lead on the stroke of half-time when Kim Ho-jun couldn’t quite do enough to stop Park's header from crossing the line. Gangwon equalised from a set play on 50 minutes; Lee Geun-ho got in front of his marker and headed the ball towards goal, but the ball crashed off Seoul defender Lee Woong-hee’s chest wrong-footing the goalkeeper. Ten minutes later, former FC Seoul striker Jung ‘Patriot’ Jo-gook smashed the ball home from eight yards out after Đerić headed a cross back across the goal to the 2016 golden boot winner.

The last time these two sides met in Chuncheon, Seoul were on the receiving end of an even worse defeat, with Gangwon winning 4-0 to end Seoul’s chances of a Champions’ League spot.

Team News

Gangwon lined up in a 4-3-3 formation against Sangju Sangmu, but tried a 3-5-2 formation against Jeju United in the previous match. When they last played Seoul they opted for 4-4-2. Either way, expect an attacking formation with Lee Geun-ho and Uroš Đerić both likely to start. Lee Beom-young will probably start in goal again despite conceding three goals at the weekend. Jung Seung-Yong is suspended having picked up his third yellow of the season during the 3-0 defeat to Sangju.

FC Seoul are still likely to be without injured midfield duo Ha Dae-sung and Song Jin-hyeong, neither have featured this season. Kim Seong-jun's hamstring problem is also likely to keep the former Seongnam midfielder out of Seoul's trip to Chuncheon. Lee Eul-yong will have no suspensions of which to concern himself with but midfielders Hwang Ki-wook, Jung Hyeon-cheol and Shin Jin-ho,  as well as full back Park Dong-jin are all one yellow away from a one match suspension.

The Adversary

FC Seoul will no doubt be buoyed by their Super Match victory over fierce rivals Suwon Bluewings on Children's Day last Saturday. Whilst the victory in itself will have given the players a much-needed boost of confidence, the manner in which Seoul took the lead will also help the likes of Evandro, who seems to get better and better each time he pulls on an FC Seoul shirt, as well as Anderson whose brace effectively secured Seoul the victory.

In the Super Match Seoul played a bit like how an away side would, waiting to hit their opponents on the counter attack. So, this Saturday's trip to Chuncheon may suit them as Gangwon, coming off the back of the 3-0 defeat to Sangju, will most likely want to come out an attack. In doing so, it will allow Seoul to use the counter-attacking game that saw them pick up all three points against the Bluewings. Seoul struggle to break teams down who get men behind the ball, when there's scope for a counter attack or space in behind the full backs, Lee Eul-yong's men may be able to punish teams.

In terms of team selection, the same XI that drew 0-0 with Sangju Sangmu started against Suwon Bluewings and so it stands to reason that, barring any injuries in training, Lee Eul-yong will field the same team against Gangwon on Saturday

by Paul Neat

Who To Watch

Shin Tae-yong will be making his final selection for South Korea’s World Cup squad soon and Lee Geun-ho will be hoping for a strong performance to guarantee his spot on the plane to Russia. The Gangwon forward tops the K-League assist table with four assists to his name, but surprisingly hasn’t scored yet this season. He’ll be hoping to put that right on Saturday.

For FC Seoul, eyes will be on Anderson to see if the Brazilian forward can follow up his brace against Suwon Bluewings in the Super Match with a strong showing on Saturday in Chuncheon. Prior to Saturday's Super Match, the second of the season, Anderson hadn't found the net in an FC Seoul shirt yet this season but thanks to Evandro, who laid on two excellent assists, Anderson scored twice and will no doubt be full of confidence and keen to add to his tally.

Prediction

Gangwon look like they can beat anyone on their day, but are also very beatable. Once when Manchester United were losing at half-time to Tottenham Hotspur, Alex Ferguson famously said “Lad’s, It’s Tottenham”, before Manchester United came back to win the game comfortably. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Gangwon’s opponents are saying “Lad’s, It’s Gangwon” in dressing rooms around the K League. Gangwon will probably score a few, but they’ve kept one clean sheet all season. Seoul’s strikers will be hoping to boost their confidence by grabbing a goal or two in this match.

Gangwon FC 2-2 FC Seoul

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