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Preview: FC Anyang vs Seoul E-Land

FC Anyang are four games without a win in the league but luckily will face Seoul E-land this weekend, who are also in just as bad form. This will be a clash of the worst form teams in the K League 2, and with Anyang suffering from a goal drought, and Seoul E-Land suffering similar fortunes, who will come out in this close derby? 

Last Time Out

Anyang fell to a 1-0 loss verses a team who should have been considered an equal opponent. However, they were defeated by their main weakness this season, set pieces. With Anyang conceding, there was little chance of them coming back in to the game. The lack of an attacking threat is being compounded by the lingering effects of the FA Cup. It really hindered the players' fitness with the majority of the squad either overplayed, or new to the system.

The first half of the game was fairly uneventful with the ball being mostly dominated by Anyang. Their playing style was causing problems for the opposition and the dragging of players from both sides should of resulted in gaps forming. Unfortunately, the players on the wings for Anyang couldn't find many of the gaps and eventually they faded out of the game because of their lack of creativity. 

The biggest controversy from the game was a clear refereeing error which cost momentum and possibly points for Anyang. An amazing through ball was fed through to the ever present Palacios. He knocked the ball past the goal keeper of Asan and the ball was slotted home by an on rushing Kovtulyuk. However, the goal was pulled back for a penalty for Anyang, as the referee believed Palacios was brought down by the goalkeeper's challenge. VAR intervened and the penalty was denied, so Anyang were denied both the goal and the penalty that it was pulled back for. This was met by derision from the Anyang fans and even the Asan goalkeeper apologizing to the home fans behind the goal. It was an incredible decision that probably changed the game seeing as it was 0-0 at the time. 

Things got worse for Anyang a little after that incident when Asan scored directly from a set piece in the 72nd minute. Asan, for their credit, were a well organised team who handled the majority of all  Anyang's attacks. 

Previous Meetings

The last time these teams met it was a catastrophe for Anyang, with a 4-1 loss at Cheonan Stadium. Anyang scored first in the 24th minute with a well worked Kim Sang-woon goal but before the half  ended they were pegged back to 1-1. The second half is where the real problems showed. Anyang looked lost on the field defensively, conceding 3 goals to lose 4-1.

The types of goals conceded were the worry as well with the pace of players just seemingly confusing the defensive line and embarrassing Anyang. After that crushing defeat, Anyang have made adjustments so that a loss like that can't happen again with the utilization of five at the back when out of possession. 

Team News

Anyang are without vice captain in Chae Gwang-hoon and most likely the loss of Alex is still to be felt with the injured creative star not appearing on the substitutes bench for them last time out. The loss of Chae Gwang-hoon is surely the most significant with the lack of a vocal leader on the pitch. His replacement will surely be a younger player and this might bring some issues for Seoul E-Land to exploit. 

Adversary

The main news coming from the capital this week is Kim Hyun-soo has finally called it a day at Seoul E-Land. With just a solitary win in the 2019 campaign the gaffer decided to jump before he was pushed. There is no word of who will take charge of the game this weekend for the leopards, but the word circling the football world is that veteran manager Ahn Ik-soo will take the reigns. Ahn Ik-soo is the current South Korea under 20 manager, and has had stints at both Busan and Seongnam (Ilhwa Chunma) many moons ago.

Drawing back to current affairs however, Seoul E-Land traveled down to league leaders Gwangju FC  for the Monday night game in the last round. The leopards last win came over a month ago, and it would be no easy task against such a quality opponent.

Seoul, however, quite held their own in the fixture and were on the forefront of most of the chances in the first half. E-Land kept pressing the ball forward and putting in some decent crosses. They also had a number of corners which came to no avail. Seoul will feel unlucky for when Gwangju scored, however, it was from the same situation most conceded goals have come from this year. A counter attack play, where the defence just could not handle the situation, saw Seoul go one down.

Gwangju putting three past Seoul was not exactly surprising, giving the leopards form, but one positive however could be that Seoul managed to score in the fixture. Coutinho always manages to get himself on the scoresheet and give the capital club hope in a game. The Brazilian can be rather quiet in periods, but always finds himself at the right place at the right time.

At this point whoever is managing Seoul really needs to go back to the drawing board and think about their strategy. Three at the back does not work for E-Land, regardless of the opponent. Seoul need to be more defensively sound before being braver up top. With a good defence, goals will come.

- Michael Redmond

Who To Watch  

With current form for most players being low, the only player of mention is Palacios. He has remained at a very high standard of play all season long. Although his numbers are low in terms of goals and assists, his efforts with consistent pressing could cause problems for the weak E-Land defence. Expect Palacios to get into the correct positions to score goals. Even though he might not be able to score he will continue to be a nuisance.

Prediction

Despite Anyang not being able to score goals Seoul E-Land are the perfect opponent to try and rectify that problem. A redemption should be on the cards and a first home victory against a mangerless Seoul E-Land. However, it's likely that Seoul E-Land will score due to the defensive issue that Anyang are likely to face with the injuries. 

FC Anyang 2-1 Seoul E-Land

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