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Preview: Bucheon FC 1995 vs FC Anyang

K League 2 Preview: Bucheon FC 1995 vs FC Anyang

It is the second round of matches in the K League 2 and this Sunday will see Bucheon FC 1995 host league leaders FC Anyang. Bucheon will be hoping that they can defeat a fellow Gyeonggi Province side for the second week running. Meanwhile, Anyang are looking to prove that last weekend's impressive away win was no fluke.



Last Time Out

After months of waiting and a flurry of transfer activity among all clubs, the K League finally began last weekend. While opening day nerves can be a problem for even the very best teams, both Bucheon and Anyang came out of their first matches with well-deserved victories. Bucheon faced a new-look Suwon FC team that had invested heavily in their attack in the winter transfer window. On paper, it may have looked like Suwon had the firepower to run riot, but Bucheon were able to keep a clean sheet and secure a 1-0 win. Man of the match Kim Ryun-do scored the game's only goal in the 50th minute with a poacher's finish from a couple of yards out, taking advantage of Suwon goalkeeper Park Hyeon-soon's failure to successfully deal with a shot from Ecuadorian international Marlon de Jesus. This was not just a case of a defensive team getting lucky once on the counter-attack, as Bucheon managed to control 44% of the possession and produced a respectable seventeen shots with six of them on target.

As impressive as Bucheon's result was, it pales in comparison with what Anyang achieved last Sunday. Anyang were away to Busan IPark, a team tipped by many to be potential champions at the end of this season. While could have been one of the most difficult starts to a season possible for Anyang, it turned into a glorious surprise with them stunning the hosts with a 1-4 victory. Colombian new signing Manuel Palacios began his Anyang competitive debut with a goal within the opening three minutes. Anyang quickly extended their lead in the 18th minute with a goal from former Suwon FC player and fellow debutant Alex Lima, before Han Ji-ho managed to pull one back for Busan as the game was approaching half-time. Despite plenty of chances for the hosts, a comeback was not on and Anyang rounded out the victory with an own goal from Busan's Kim Moon-hwan just after half-time, followed by Alex completing his brace with a penalty in the 73rd minute. On a weekend with no draws, this victory saw Anyang leapfrog ahead of all the other first match victors on goal difference.

Previous Meetings

Bucheon and Anyang have met in the K League 2 every single year since Anyang was created and joined the league in 2013 and have largely occupied similar positions in the table. Apart from Bucheon's 3rd place finish in 2016, both clubs have been consistent members of the bottom half of the table and have only occasionally crept into the top half with a 5th placed finish a handful of times. From 2015-17 Bucheon finished above Anyang for three seasons in a row, but that streak was ended last year with Anyang ending the year in 6th place compared to Bucheon in 8th. While the positions indicate that Anyang were a team fighting for promotion and Bucheon were struggling, that is not the complete picture. For most of last season, Bucheon were above Anyang and it was only a late resurgence that saw Anyang overtake Bucheon. The season ended with the two teams separated by only 5 points, which is small enough for Bucheon to believe that they can finish above Anyang again.

In order for that to happen though, Bucheon will need to improve on their performances against their opponents. On March 11th last year, almost exactly a year before this Sunday's match, Bucheon were able to beat Anyang 0-3 away from home. While they would surely like a repeat of that result, Bucheon will hope that's where the similarities of last year's results end. Anyang won the remaining three fixtures, recording a 1-2 away win in July, 3-1 home win in September and a 0-1 away win in October. Anyang certainly have the momentum going into the fixture and seem to enjoy playing on the road. Bucheon will have to be on their guard against such as dangerous team, but they will surely be up for a fight knowing that good performances against Anyang could mean the difference between finishing in the playoffs or not.

Team News

One of the perils of facing such an attacking team like Suwon, is that the players can be more likely to be put into positions where they can pick up cards or injuries. Luckily Bucheon have managed to avoid that situation and have a full squad list to choose from. While this can sometimes cause a headache for the coaching staff as they have to consider squad rotation, after such a good opening day victory it is unlikely that Bucheon will reveal to many changes to their lineup. It is possible that one or two changes may occur in order to give other players a change, but considering that Anyang play in a similar style to Suwon, it would not be surprising if Bucheon played it safe and named an unchanged lineup.

The Adversary

Anyang come into this game straight off the back of a surprising opening day victory at Busan. They showcased their attacking abilities, which most fans doubted would happen against such a strong team like Busan. However, even with that victory they need to be wary of Bucheon FC 1995. Who also got an opening day victory against Suwon FC, and most importantly a clean sheet. 

Although it’s too early to say, it would seem that Anyang are going for a very high tempo, counter-attacking system this year. With Bucheon FC playing a more slower build up style it could be a mismatch of systems, that leaves neither team with a chance of taking advantage. With both teams most likely going to be trying to figure each other out for the first half, it could be an unpredictable game but one in which someone will edge it. Don’t foresee a draw. 

It’s also a local derby with Anyang having the history of getting better results, with four wins and 1 defeat in the last five meetings. In combination with Anyang’s amazing new attacking signings, this could create a slight edge for Anyang.

- Paul Bettridge

Who To Watch

Anyang are a team that have many players that can cause problems for Bucheon, but the particular one to watch for this match is Alex Lima. The Brazilian forward and former MLS player scored two goals against a strong Busan team and currently is the top scorer in the K League 2. He will be looking to extend his lead by grabbing some additional goals against a Bucheon team that is in supposedly weaker that Busan IPark. The hosts will have to play close attention to him in order to stand any chance of winning, but against a team with a wide selection of dangerous players Bucheon cannot afford to only be concerned with Alex. Anyang are very much a club greater than the sum of their parts and have a host of players that will be looking to put their names on the scoresheet. 

Prediction

This is a very difficult game to call as both teams performed better than expected last week. Anyang have proven they can travel to top quality opposition and come away with a comprehensive victory. Bucheon have shown that their home ground has the potential to become a fortress and that they are able to shut out teams that play in an attacking style. It is incredibly close to call, but Bucheon now Anyang are no longer the underdogs as they were last week this may cause them to lose a tiny bit of their fighting spirit. Both teams will likely score, but Bucheon should edge it.

Predicted Score: Bucheon FC 1995 2-1 FC Anyang



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