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Preview: Jeju United vs Ulsan Hyundai - The Tangerines Hoping For A Fresh Restart

With Ulsan Hyundai starting 2023 perfectly, and Jeju United with an opening they will feel has certainly lacked any fortune, to many it would seem as if this fixture has only one outcome. Ulsan will be hoping to make it five straight wins and further extend their gap at the top of the table, whereas Jeju will be praying the international break has nullified Ulsan's momentum.

History of Jeju United Hosting Ulsan Hyundai

In the last five league meetings between these teams, in which Jeju have hosted, the results have been in strong favour of the away side. 

2022/08/27 - Jeju United 1-1 Ulsan Hyundai
2022/04/05 - Jeju United 1-2 Ulsan Hyundai
2021/08/14 - Jeju United 2-2 Ulsan Hyundai
2021/05/29 - Jeju United 1-2 Ulsan Hyundai
2019/08/03 - Jeju United 0-5 Ulsan Hyundai

As seen by the recent pairings of these teams, a win for Ulsan by far and away seems like the most likely outcome for April 2nd.

In fact, the last time Jeju United beat Ulsan Hyundai at home was 2017/09/17, in a 2-1 victory for the Islanders.

The last time these two teams faced off, Ulsan Hyundai were the hosts and the game ended in dramatic fashion thanks to a 93rd minute winner from Koo Ja-cheol on the final day of the season. Lee Chung-yong opened the scoring for Ulsan and Seo Jin-su netted Jeju's equaliser.

All-Time Head-to-Head (All Comps):
Jeju United Wins - 18
Draws - 13
FC Seoul Wins - 19

Of all time, there is not much to separate either side, with Ulsan just edging out a single extra victory in the head-to-head stats. Recent matchups show that Ulsan do indeed prevail, and by a significant distance, despite Jeju winning the last fixture between these teams. based on the current form, Ulsan will most definitely be confident, however, it is up to Hong Myung-Bo to ensure complacency doesn't become an issue.

Jeju United’s Start to 2023

Jeju's start to 2023 has been underwhelming but paired with some misfortune. With two draws and two defeats to their name, the ACL hopefuls may have to reconsider their pre-season aspirations. As previously mentioned, Jeju may believe they have lacked any luck in the last four matches. Match one saw a missed penalty from Yuri, as his strike sent the Suwon FC goalkeeper the wrong way, but cannoned off the post. The second game was no different for The Islanders. Cesinha was brought down in the box, but he was in an offside position and initiated the contact which caused him to fall to the ground as the Jeju defender was off-balance due to the Daegu attacker's touch. The controversial penalty in the 69th minute saw Barcelos equalise for Daegu and the points were shared evenly. In the 85th minute of match three, Jeju winger Ahn Hyun-beom was blatantly brought down in the box and a penalty was awarded. Yet, after a lengthy VAR review, the on-field decision was somehow overruled and Incheon ended the match with all three points. Last week, in game four, there were no controversial decisions, however, Jeju's luck was still out as Seo Jin-su saw a thunderous volley rattle the bar from 12 yards out in their 2-1 defeat to FC Seoul.

Jeju United's Form: LLDD

Ulsan Hyundai's Start to 2023

Ulsan's start to 2023 has been nothing but perfect, and exactly what these fans would've hoped for, results-wise. Four wins from the opening four matches despite not playing perfectly from the first whistle, that is a sign of resilient, strong-minded champions. A slow start against a strong Jeonbuk lineup saw Horang-i trail 1-0 just after the 10 minute mark, however, a lucky bounce in a crowded penalty area found its way to Eom Won-sang in the box who slotted home the equaliser just before the interval. After the half-time break, both teams started in contrasting ways to the first half. Ulsan were quick out the blocks and Jeonbuk never found second gear. New signing Ludwigson scored the eventual winner. A win in the second game away to Gangwon, saw Ulsan extend to six points, putting them joint top of the table, a position they expect to be in. A lot of luck in match three which saw FC Seoul's goalkeeper illegally pick the ball up from a back pass. Ulsan scored the eventual indirect freekick to win the game and take all three points. The only game where Ulsan have been completely dominant was their last, a comfortable 3-0 at home to Suwon FC.

Ulsan Hyundai's Form: WWWW

What to Look Out For in Jeju United

Nam Ki-il's side in recent matches and months has seen a very possession-dominant style. Once again, the problem for Jeju is their lack of clinical ability in the final third of the pitch, giving them the statistically worst attack in the league, scoring just two goals. Nam Ki-il dropped Yuri for the Tangerine's last game against FC Seoul, and the team did end up performing more direct and put Seoul on the back foot from the first whistle. It will be interesting to see if Nam opts for the same tactic.

What to Look Out For in Ulsan Hyundai

Ulsan have implemented a 4-2-3-1 base formation in their last three games, seeing them score six times and concede just once in that period. Their fast-paced, quick style of passing is deadly and easily unlocks opposition lines of defence. This has served them very well so far, therefore it is expected this will continue. Ulsan's quick, intricate, short passing allows them to break up the opposing press, and when out of possession, their high press puts opponents on the back foot. 

The only possible downside for Ulsan's football this year has been their slow start to games. Horang-i have registered just one goal in the first half in the last three matches and in both games they conceded this year, they found themselves trailing 1-0. However, the quality in their side was enough to see themselves over the line.

Who to Watch for Jeju United

A name I will never get tired of mentioning is Seo Jin-su. Despite no end product thus far, he has shown incredible promise. He is very skilled and direct with his attacking approach, which is a nightmare for any defender to rival. Jeju will most certainly select their 3-4-3 formation, and with Seo Jin-seo and Koo Ja-cheol on the scoresheet the last time these two teams locked horns, I will be surprised if their names are not on the team sheet.

Who to Watch for Ulsan Hyundai

Last season's top goalscorer for Jeju United, Joo Min-kyu, is also Ulsan's top scorer this campaign with two goals to his name. In addition to this, Joo also has Ulsan's joint most assist with one. Ulsan have four other goalscorers at their disposal, and with so many attacking threats up their sleeve, it will be hard for the Jeju defence to cope with so many options.

Where to Watch

Fans based in Korea can watch it live on Sky Sports and Coupang Play at 14:00 on April 2nd. For fans residing overseas, they can watch the match live for free via K League TV!

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