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Preview: Gangwon FC vs FC Seoul

Preview: Gangwon FC vs FC Seoul K League 1
Back-to-back defeats for Gangwon FC, three losses on the trot for FC Seoul, one of these teams at least will be able to stop the rot when sixth take on seventh on Saturday. As the winners will find themselves strongly placed for a top half finish, this mid-table match-up is something of a six-pointer.  Steve Price and Paul Neat preview Gangwon's match against FC Seoul on Saturday.
Image via K League

Last Time Out

The new manager bounce has fallen a bit flat for Gangwon who followed up a 2-1 loss to Gyeongnam with a surprise 2-0 loss away at Daegu. It was the first time in seven matches that Gangwon's potent strikeforce failed to find the net, but in truth, they didn't produce that many chances. Daegu on the other hand robbed Gangwon of possession in midfield and broke quickly to produce good chances throughout the game.

The two goals came in the final ten minutes from shots outside the penalty area. The first was a lovely curled effort by Cesinha in the 80th minute, the second was a low powerful drive by Ryu Jae-moon that skidded across the wet surface, although Lee Beom-young will be disappointed that he didn't do better to prevent the shot from finding the back of the net.

Highlights: here

FC Seoul, meanwhile, were thumped 4-1 away to a very much in-form Ulsan Hyundai side at the Munsu, making it three consecutive defeats. Before conceding, however, Seoul were in the game, creating chances and having the odd sight of goal. Bojan Matic looked a bit better than his other performances have shown but it was the hosts who eventually took the lead. Promising attacking midfielder Han Seungkyu put the Horangi in front on 37 minutes before a quickfire double, with goals from leading scorer Junior Negao and Mix Diskerud, his first for the club, had Kim Dohoon's men three goals to the good at the interval.

After the restart Junior Negao added his second and Ulsan's fourth, Lee Sangho pulled one back for Seoul with a goal that proved to be little more than scant consolation for the beleaguered capital club.
by Paul Neat

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Uroš Ðerić might be the leading goalscorer in the K League, but can he do it on a wet, rainy Saturday in May? The answer is of course, yes, although he did leave it until the last minute before scoring last time these two sides met. FC Seoul opened the scoring in that match with Gangwon predictably conceding from a headed goal from a set piece. Kwak Tae-hwi was the man who got his head to the ball in the sixteenth minute to give Seoul the lead, in what was probably his biggest contribution to FC Seoul's season so far.

Seoul, playing with Park Chu-young as a lone striker, couldn't extend their lead, and Gangwon made them pay with a splendid equaliser in the last minute. Ðerić cushioned a long ball on his chest, knocking it into the path of Diego who returned it to Ðerić with a neat backheel. He then dribbled into the box and played it back to Diego who held off his marker for long enough for Ðerić to take the ball back off him and smash it past Yang Han-bin right in front of the poncho-clad Gangwon faithful, rewarding them for spending 90 minutes in the rain with nothing but Whi-ju (Beer and Whisky) to keep them warm. The match finished 1-1, and judging by the weather in Korea this week, supporters may wish to bring their rain ponchos and Whi-ju again this Saturday.

Team News

Diego is back after his one-match ban for picking up two yellow cards against Gyeongnam. Kim Byung-soo went for 3-4-3 for his last match, but 4-3-3 for his last home game against Incheon, and after two defeats in a row, he may well want to go back to the formation that so comfortably destroyed Incheon United. Song Kyung-seop liked to rotate his goalkeepers but Kim has stuck with Lee Beom-young in his four games in charge of Gangwon. That faith might have been tested by the second goal he conceded against Daegu, but with Gangwon's backup Goalie Ham Seok-min reportedly getting busted for drink-driving, Lee will probably retain his position in front of the Gangwon net.

For FC Seoul caretaker gaffer Lee Eulyong won't have any members of his squad ruled out through suspension, however there are a number of players who are just one scribble in a referee's notebook away from a one-match ban. Full back Park Dongjin, midfielder Shin Jinho and club captain Go Yohan all have five bookings for the season thus far whilst midfielder Lee Sangho, full back Yun Sukyoung, and striker Evandro have two cautions already. Seoul are likely to be without Park Chuyoung, the veteran striker has been absent from any of FC Seoul's matchday squads since the Gyeongin Derby defeat to Incheon on 22nd July with an undisclosed injury, central midfielder Kim Seongjun is Seoul's only long term injury absentee. The former Seongnam man picked up a knee injury during the 1-1 home draw with Ulsan in mid July and isn't expected back just yet.
by Paul Neat

The Adversary

FC Seoul's season is in danger of being washed away with the flood water that is currently dousing the Korean peninsula. The optimism of knocking on the door of the top four just a few weeks ago now seems like somewhat of a distant memory after three dismal performances and equally dismal defeats on the spin to match. Seoul's last win was the dramatic late comeback win against Suwon Bluewings in the Super Match four games ago; since then however Seoul have found the net just once, Lee Sangho's consolation goal in the 4-1 humiliation to Ulsan Hyundai. Those donning the red and black stripes could muster just three shots on target in 180 minutes of football, two against Jeonbuk and just one against Pohang. Therein perhaps lies the story but yet Seoul managed to put eight shots on target against Ulsan. Had it not have been for suicidal defending, Lee Eulyong may have been able to take something from the game and be looking to the trip to Gangwon as a winnable fixture. However, with a strikeforce as potent as Gangwon's, with the likes of Uroš Ðerić, the League's leading scorer, and Diego, amongst others, Lee Eulyong may be considering a slight change of approach. Damage limitation perhaps.

The former Korean international midfielder has flirted with a back three and two wing backs in Yun Sukyoung and Go Yohan. To steady the ship and extra centre back may be called in, the experience of Kwak Taehwi may well be Coach Lee's first choice. Seoul have played well on the counter attack and, away from home with wing backs, this system could be worth exploring again. But, frankly, since the World Cup break, Seoul's central defenders have under-performed. The simply excellent Yang Hanbin in between the sticks has kept his team in games but he ought to be wondering why his defenders aren't doing more prevent shots and crosses from making their way into his 18-yard box. He cannot do it all on his own.

FC Seoul caretaker manager Lee Eulyong (Image via K League)
Given how open the race for the top six is and perhaps even top four, a win for FC Seoul would see them leapfrog Gangwon and into the top half. However, if Seoul are to do so then Coach Lee will need to get his team selection spot on. Seoul can ill-afford to have passengers in the team and, frankly, certain individuals have not been pulling their weight, nor do they seem to understand the importance of playing for club like FC Seoul. All too often this year Seoul have looked laborious, lethargic and lacking ideas. If Lee Eulyong can pick a team that has plenty of pace, power, directness and that can press, Seoul may have be able to come away with a result.

Formation wise, Lee Eulyong had been using the 4-1-2-3 formation but for the away trip to Ulsan, the formation was tweaked slightly. Instead of having Hwang Kiwook as the holding midfielder, the 21 year-old played in the centre of midfield alongside Jung Hyeoncheol with Cho Youngwook in front as a number 10. The back four were left far too exposed and suffered the consequences. At home, being on the front foot without a holding midfielder is admirable but away from home, against a team in Ulsan Hyundai who were unbeaten in 11 at the time, it is just naive. 

by Paul Neat

One To Watch


Uroš Ðerić

Ðerić (L) in action vs FC Seoul (image via K League)
Twenty-two goals this season, and not a single one from the penalty spot, Uroš Ðerić is undoubtedly Gangwon's star man. He finished top scorer in the Serbian second tier last season, with the second highest scorer being FC Seoul's new striker Bojan Matić. The pair will resume their rivalry this weekend, but as Ðerić scored a hat-trick last time he played in Chuncheon, the smart money is on Gangwon's target man to come out on top again this weekend.

Prediction


Last time these two teams played on a wet and windy Saturday, it finished one-a-piece and with both teams hoping to end their losing streaks it may well finish with that scoreline again this time around. That said, last time Gangwon played at home, they won 7-0.

Predicted Score: Gangwon 1-1 FC Seoul

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