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scouting

First 'Phoenix Club Derby' of the season sees Bucheon host Anyang


Both Bucheon FC 1995 and FC Anyang have started the season with a win and a loss, meaning both clubs will aim to pull ahead of each other this Sunday. Sixth placed hosts Bucheon have yet to impress but have managed to score in each of their opening two games so far. Meanwhile, fourth place Anyang will be wanting to bounce back after succumbing to a derby defeat to Ansan last weekend. 

Recent Form

Prior to last weekend's 1-0 victory over Chungnam Asan, Bucheon had not won in any of their last four games, stretching back into last season. Starting this season with a victory and a 2-1 defeat to likely promotion contenders Daejeon Hana Citizen does not give much of a clue as to whether Bucheon are set to improve on last year's eighth placed finish. Anyang finished just below them in ninth and in 2019 Bucheon and Anyang ended the season in fourth and third respectively, meaning that performances against each other will be a good barometer for the current level of the two fan-founded teams. Last season honours were even between these two Gyeonggido clubs as their three matches went the way of a 2-1 Bucheon home win, a 2-1 Anyang home win, and a goalless draw at Anyang. As both of these two teams opening fixtures have been decided by a single goal difference, the encounter on Sunday will likely be a closely fought contest.

Anyang ended last season similarly to Bucheon with one win in their final five matches and have had a mixed start to this season. Their opening match was a 2-1 victory at Gyeongnam, a team many had tipped to be challenging for the title this season, while last week they fell at home to a 2-1 defeat to Ansan Greeners, courtesy of two Kim Ryun-do penalties. Anyang were dominant throughout the match and their opening day victory showed that they are capable of being more than simply a 'best of the rest' side. If they can improve their focus and discipline at the back then Anyang can be well on their way to being dark horses for the playoffs if they can also keep up their attacking threat.

What to Watch

The season is only young but Bucheon's goalkeeping has already experienced multiple ups and downs. 24 year-old Seongnam loanee Jeon Jong-hyuk has kept goal for the first two matches of the season, with 22 year-old Lee Ju-hyeon on the bench both times. The only other contender in goal is 23 year-old Moon Kwang-suk, who transfered from Gangwon FC this winter and like Lee (who has been at Bucheon since 2019) has yet to make his professional debut. Jeon is clearly the most experienced of the trio, however his first two matches have been marked by some erratic moments. 

In the season opener against Daejeon he spilled a seemingly comfortable shot to allow a tap-in for Daejeon's first goal, and last weekend a similar mistake lead to a penalty for Chungnam Asan. Luckily for Jeon's reputation he saved the penalty and Asan missed the rebound, and Bucheon ended up winning the match. Not only that, he earned himself the Man Of The Match award due to the saved penalty. It is likely that Jeon will start again on Sunday but if he keeps making simple errors then Bucheon will continue to lose points due to him and he will find himself dropped. Though with his fellow goalkeepers being even younger then Jeon, Bucheon might be at risk of goalkeeping mistakes throughout most of the season until Choi Chul-won returns from Gimcheon Sangmu later this year.

As for Anyang the main question is can they convert their chances up front? Against Ansan last weekend Anyang had a host of opportunities to score and could have won the match by a very comfortable margin, but instead they only scored once and lost due to two penalties being awarded for handballs. While some of their shots were kept out by fine saves, many were clear cut chances that were instead wasted by poor accuracy. If Anyang can improve their focus then they could easily run away with the result against Bucheon, a team that have lacked creativity going forward and have made life difficult for themselves at the back due to poor mistakes.

Who to Watch

Bucheon's Park Chang-jun has had an opening of the season to remember, scoring a goal each in the first two games of the season. The full-back turned winger has been one of the few bright spots for Bucheon since joining the club from Gyeongnam this winter, managing to find space in the box to snatch a late goal on both matchdays. First came a debut goal against Daejeon Hana Citizen, where he equalised as a substitute before Daejeon grabbed the victory late on. 

Last weekend Park was rewarded with a place in the starting 11 versus Chungnam Asan and he remained on the pitch throughout, popping up with a well executed diving header from a free-kick to secure a 1-0 win in injury time. Bucheon have looked rather devoid of attacking ideas so far this season, and with it being uncertain as to whether Crislan or Wataru are ready to make their debuts, Park may find himself again looking to rescue Bucheon late on. 

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