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Can Gangwon continue to lay the groundworks for safety against FC Seoul?

After a 2-1 win over Gwangju saw Gangwon rise to 8th, the Bears will be looking to extend their good run and further cement their chances of staying in the division when they host FC Seoul on Sunday. The visitors find themselves in fine fettle too though, and with similar ambitions of safety firmly on the brain.


Recent Form

It’s been a while since Kim Byung-soo has managed to find a decent level of consistency with his squad, but over recent weeks he’s found a way to add a degree of steadiness to Gangwon’s performances. The Bears have won three out of their last five, only losing once - incidentally to title challengers Jeonbuk - and have provided genuine moments of quality in the process. Given last weekend’s win was their first comeback victory of the season, we may finally be seeing the signs of a team worthy of delivering on their pre-season promise.

FC Seoul are a similar story. Since replacing Park Jin-sub with Ahn Ik-soo, slim hopes of survival soon turned into a firmly plausible possibility. Sure, they’ll be in the bottom-half come the league split, but given the capital-city side once looked like they may struggle to make the promotion/relegation playoff, potentially finishing comfortably away from trouble could well be an ideal catalyst for next season.


Team News

After the return of Yun Suk-young last time out, Gangwon look to be putting their injury woes somewhat behind them. Ko Moo-yeol will continue to miss out with his ligament issue, but aside from that, the Bears may just have a clean bill of health. As such, competition for places will remain high, which could in turn give Kim Byung-soo and co. a much needed edge going into the game.

On the other hand, FC Seoul come into proceedings with a host of potential issues. Ko Kwang-min misses out through suspension, whilst Cha Oh-yeon, Kim Won-gun, Hwang Hyun-soo, Kim Jin-ya, Connor Chapman, Park Jung-bin and Lee Han-beom will all either remain sidelined, or return from their respective absences possibly without true match fitness. 

Head-to-Head

Following a turgid 0-0 draw in the last meeting, one laced with VAR controversy and poor finishing, both teams will be looking to deliver better performances on Sunday. FC Seoul generally lead the way in terms of positive results in this fixture, winning 13 times across 27 meetings and drawing in seven, but with just one victory in their last six against Gangwon, the capital club will now look to prove that they still have the upper hand on the Bears.

What to Watch

Can Kim Dae-won continue to drive Gangwon forwards?


Sometimes, all it takes is one player to spark an upturn in form. For Gangwon, Kim Dae-won has been that spark, with his hugely impressive performances an undeniably key factor in his team’s late season resurgence. The Bears’ previously habitually blunt attack is now starting to look a whole lot sharper, and the 24-year-old is again showing the form that impressed fans upon his arrival at the club. Should he keep his consistency, Kim may help spearhead Gangwon to not only league survival, but FA Cup success too.


Will FC Seoul score a key win?


Currently level on points with 11th-place Seongnam, a win for Ahn Ik-soo this weekend could well be vital in the fight to stay in the division. It would firstly even the playing field going into the league split, but just as importantly ensure that Seoul go a sixth game unbeaten, and in the process allow for a clear mission statement to be sent to their relegation rivals.


FNR



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