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Preview: Jeju United vs Incheon United: Can Incheon Enter The ACL Race?


With the fixtures coming thick and fast now, Jeju head into this game with three wins on the spin and will be aiming to take down another K League powerhouse in Incheon United. Two great wins in a row in matches they were deemed underdogs, and the Islanders will be using that as motivation to cause another upset. As for Incheon United, they will be looking to bounce back from the recent disappointment to rock-bottom Suwon Samsung Bluewings, who they lost 1-0 to at home, while seeking a chance to reach the top half of the table, blowing the race for ACL football wide open.


Pre-Match Summary

The first 1/3 of the has come to an end, and as we approach the second round of 11 fixtures out of the total 33 for the regular season, these two teams will have slightly differing opinions on the campaign thus far. 

Jeju United’s 2023

Jeju's start to 2023 has been its own mini-rollercoaster. A very poor start which saw the Islanders lingering near the foot of the table, failing to win any of their first five games, picking up just two points. However, since that abysmal opening, Jeju have only lost one of their last six, winning five of them, seeing them climb to fifth, just three points from second place FC Seoul. Jeju are currently top of the table for recent form, with 12 points from a possible 15, with Ulsan in second, having accumulated 10 points from a maximum of 15.

Jeju's home form is what seems to be holding them back. From the five matches they've hosted this season, they have only picked up four points (1W, 1D, 3L).

Jeju United's Last 5 Form: WWWLW

Incheon United's 2023

Incheon would class their season so far as a very underwhelming campaign. They see themselves sat in 9th place, six points from an ACL position, and three points from the top half of the table. The only consolation in their form is that K League record-holding winners, Jeonbuk, are performing considerably worse as they find themselves one place below Incheon, in 10th. Round 11 was one to forget for Incheon, as they handed Suwon Samsung Bluewings their first victory this year; to the surprise of all K League watchers worldwide.

Incheon's away form is only slightlty better than their home form. From the five matches they've made the travel to, they have six points (which they accumulated in the last two away fixtures they had - with victories over Pohang and Gangwon).

Incheon United's Last 5 Form: LWLDW

Head-to-Head Form

In the last five meetings between these teams, the results have been mostly in favour of Incheon United. 

2023/03/12: Incheon United 1-0 Jeju United
2022/10/11: Incheon United 3-1 Jeju United
2022/09/06: Jeju United 0-1 Incheon United
2022/06/18: Jeju United 2-1 Incheon United
2022/04/10: Incheon United 2-2 Jeju United

In the recent matchups between these two, which Jeju United have hosted, the results are much more evenly split.

2022/09/06: Jeju United 0-1 Incheon United
2022/06/18: Jeju United 2-1 Incheon United
2021/07/31: Jeju United 1-4 Incheon United
2019/11/02: Jeju United 2-0 Incheon United
2019/05/28: Jeju United 1-2 Incheon United 

As seen by the recent pairings of these teams, and the current league forms, an away win for Incheon United seems like the most likely outcome for May 10th.

Jeju and Suwon FC have faced each other a total of 45 times in all competitions, with the first meeting coming in the league back in April 2006. The game finished as a 0-0 draw. Jeju edge it by just one extra win compared to their opponent, but all-in-all a draw is historically, the most likely outcome.

All-Time Head-to-Head:
Jeju United Wins - 14
Draws - 18
Incheon United Wins - 13

What to Look Out For in Jeju United

Nam Ki-il's sides like to control the possession, and with Nam's recent switch to a more progressive, pressing style of play, Jeju are starting to pick up champions-form as they are finally starting to click. Nam's favoured formation is a 3-4-3 and the Korean manager likes his forward wingers to cut inside and punish defenders across the face of goal. We are seeing this a lot lately, with Reis and even Seo Jin-su opting to drift near the touchline, running at the defence and then cutting in to either play a pass, or pick up a goal like he did against Gangwon earlier this season.

What to Look Out For in Incheon United

Just like their opposition, Incheon also prefer a 3-4-3 lineup, and with a very impressive win over Pohang, it's hard to understand the severe inconsistencies. Jeju are not very press-resistant, as we saw the last time these two met, so Jo Sung-hwan will be hoping for more of the same from his players. If Gerso is utilised properly, he could cause devastation for the Jeju backline. Although the Tangerines have one of the best defensive records in the league, they are vulnerable to pace as they tend to play a high line. When these two last faced each other, Hernandes played a perfect through ball into the path of Gerso who slotted past Kim Dong-jun. So, Incheon will be very aware of Jeju's style and will be approaching the fixture feeling confident they know how to defeat them.


Who to Watch for Jeju United

Jeju's Reis is their top goalscorer with three goals this season, two of which came against Suwon Samsung Bluewings in Round 7. Yuri, who I was very critical of, as slowly come into his own, seeming more comfortable on the ball and in possession, he has got himself two goals and two assists so far.

Who to Watch for Incheon United


As for United, their top goalscorer, Cheon Seong-hoon also has three to his name and their Brazilian, Hernandes, getting two goals and assists as well. For the Islanders former man, Gerso, he has just the one goal this season, which was against his former club, but he has managed to pick up three assists.

Where to Watch

Fans based in Korea can watch on IB Sports or Coupang Play. Those fans residing overseas can watch the match via K League TV!

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