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Preview: Gangwon FC vs Suwon Samsung Bluewings


In a game worthy of the "six-pointer" title it'll likely be branded with, Gangwon FC host bottom-place Suwon Samsung Bluewings, who now sit just one point below the Bears a
fter a confidence-raising 3-1 win last week against league leaders Ulsan Hyundai.

Recent Form

Despite being three games unbeaten, Gangwon are still struggling to find the formula best-suited for them this year. Twice in recent weeks they've failed to keep hold of narrow leads, while other times the Bears have found themselves continuing their streak of struggling to score. Amidst this, Yoon Jong-hwan continues to look for his first win in charge of Gangwon, having so far guided the provincial club to four draws and one defeat in league competition.

As for Suwon Samsung Bluewings, they're showing signs of resurgence. Following three consecutive draws, they rose to the occasion against Ulsan, earning their first win since May in the process. If these standards are kept to going forward, hope will naturally increase for Kim Byung-soo and co. when it comes to the team's survival prospects.

Team News

On the Gangwon side, they're likely to be without Lee Jeong-hyeop, who re-injured his knee last week. Kim Dae-won could be in contention again, however, having returned to training, while Yun Il-lok is a doubt based on his recent injury issue.

Regarding the visitors, they're expected to be without Maxwell Acosty, Lee Sang-min, and Kwon Chang-hoon. Additionally, this fixture may come too soon for An Byong-jun, who scored in his last appearance against Gangwon.

Head-to-Head

Usually, this fixture favours Suwon Samsung Bluewings. They've won 18 of the 34 meetings, compared to Gangwon's total of seven, and have lost just twice against the Bears in their last ten K League 1 clashes. The last time these two sides faced off, ex-Gangwon manager Kim Byung-soo led his men to victory on familiar ground, with the Bluewings winning 2-0 at Chuncheon.

What to Watch

Crunch time for Gangwon

It's approaching "now or never" time for Gangwon. They have the least amount of victories in the division (two from 23 games), and are winless in 13 league matches. Should such a record extend much longer, it would almost definitely put the provincial club in a precarious position ahead of the league split.

Nevertheless, Yoon Jong-hwan has a wealth of new signings at his disposal now, so perhaps a new-look Bears, anchored by the likes of the already effective Marco Tući, can kickstart a proper upturn in form?

Bluewings off the bottom?

Having been bottom since April, a relatively in-form Suwon Samsung Bluewings now have a huge opportunity to improve their league ranking. A win on Saturday would see Kim Byung-soo's side leapfrog Gangwon, score back-to-back victories for the first time this year, and put pressure on rivals Suwon FC too. Judging by their strong showing last time out, you wouldn't necessarily bet against the Bluewings here either.

Who to Watch

Lee Gwang-yeon

After starting the last two games, it’s plausible Lee Gwang-yeon is being allowed to stake a claim to be Gangwon's first-choice goalkeeper going forward. The 23-year-old has certainly impressed in his recent appearances, with a particularly solid performance against Daegu earning him a third clean sheet of the season, and it should be noted that the Bears' PPG (points-per-game) this year with Lee in goal is actually 1.29.

Of course, the sample size used to calculate that figure is small, but Lee Gwang-yeon has played a noticeable part in helping Gangwon collect the nine points they've won while he's been in goal, and if afforded a prominent role in the side, he can conceivably help his teammates to more.



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