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Preview: Jeju United vs FC Seoul - A Stormy Start for The Islanders

With FC Seoul having a possibly, surprisingly positive start to 2023 and Jeju United with a beginning they will want to quickly move on from, both teams will be looking to pick up from defeats last weekend. FC Seoul will be aiming to improve on last week's goalkeeping horror embarrassment against Ulsan Hyundai, whereas Jeju United will be waiting to pick up their first win this campaign.

History of Jeju United Hosting FC Seoul

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

2022/07/02 - Jeju United 2-2 FC Seoul
2021/08/29 - Jeju United 1-0 FC Seoul
2021/04/21 - Jeju United 2-1 FC Seoul
2019/08/25 - Jeju United 1-1 FC Seoul
2019/07/10 - Jeju United 4-2 FC Seoul

As seen by the recent pairings of these teams, a win for Jeju seems like the most likely outcome for March 18th.

In fact, Jeju United are unbeaten in the league against FC Seoul in the last 10 matches. The last time FC Seoul beat Jeju United in the league was 2018/08/04, the score finished 3-0 to Seoul. FC Seoul haven't beaten Jeju United at the Jeju World Cup Stadium since 2017/07/16.

All-Time Head-to-Head (All Comps):
Jeju United Wins - 11
Draws - 17
FC Seoul Wins -  22

Of all time, FC Seoul are by far the most dominant in this fixture, however, recent matchups show that Jeju do indeed prevail. It should be an interesting game, and I predict Jeju will record their first win of 2023; a 2-1 victory for the Tangerines!

Jeju United’s Start to 2023

Jeju's start to 2023 has been nothing short of uninspiring and disappointing. With two draws and a defeat last weekend, the ACL hopefuls may have to reconsider their pre-season aspirations. Match one saw a disappointing draw to last season's middle-of-the-pack Suwon FC. A game Jeju dominated and came away frustrated to not capitalise on their high quantity of chances, a missed penalty from Yuri in that game saw the Brazilian cap off a poor debut. The second game was no different for The Islanders. No surprise Jeju dominated possession again, and with a debut goal for Reis, things seemed promising. However, a very controversial penalty in the 69th minute saw Barcelos equalise for Daegu and the points were shared evenly. Last week once again saw Jeju leaving frustrated. A goal from Incheon's new man Gerso, who was Jeju's 2022 top playmaker, saw the Tangerines 1-0 down after 21 minutes. In the 85th minute, 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 overruled. Jeju have been left feeling robbed of crucial points for two weeks running and will be expecting their luck to change for good this coming Saturday.

Jeju United's Last 3 Form: DDL

FC Seoul’s Start to 2023

FC Seoul will have nothing to complain about thus far. A tough battle ending in a 2-1 victory against ACL expectants and rivals Incheon United in the Gyeongin Derby and a clinical day in front of goal away to Gwangju, saw FC Seoul one of three teams with 100% records after two matches. Match three saw FC Seoul host fellow perfect-starters, and last year's title winners, Ulsan Hyundai. FC Seoul went ahead eight minutes after the half-time interval, but their lead was short-lived as former Jeju United striker, Joo Min-kyu, equalised two minutes later. The talk of the match, and the weekend as a whole, was FC Seoul's goalkeeping blunder. Choi Cheol-won picked the ball up following a back pass from his teammate. Whilst he was in a state of anger and confusion, Ulsan wasted no time to take the indirect free kick quickly, which saw Lee Chung-yong grab the winner with a tap in on the 88th minute. A deserving victory for Ulsan, but a real kick in the teeth for FC Seoul, and more specifically for Choi.

FC Seoul's Last 3 Form: WWL

What to Look Out For in Jeju United

Nam Ki-il's side in recent matches and months has seen a possession-dominant style work well. The only issue for Jeju this season is their lack of clinical ability in the final third of the pitch. Losing Joo Min-kyu to Ulsan Hyundai in the winter is certainly a huge loss and The Tangerines will be hoping Yuri's awful form can turn around quickly. 
On the other hand, Seo Jin-su has shown incredible promise from his substitution appearances, and with Nam taking Yuri off at halftime against Incheon, I can personally only hope Seo starts in the centre against Seoul, or if Jin Seong-uk is fit and recovered from his knock last weekend, it would be great to see him get more minutes too. With no surprises in Jeju's formation and style of play, the only potential shocks in store are those selected to start. The Islanders have been unfortunate with decisions going against them and with some key players missing through injury, it's far from ideal.

What to Look Out For in FC Seoul

2023 has seen FC Seoul implement a 4-4-2 base formation. Solid at the back, and compact in midfield, yet with enough width and talent to punish teams when they attack, it is a style that has served them well so far, so it is expected this will continue. On that note, it would be the first Jeju opponent this season to not use a matching 3-4-3 formation. We've seen Suwon FC, Daegu and Incheon all use the 3-4-3 to counteract Nam Ki-il's team, and all have done so with relative success. Seoul's 4-4-2 formation may play into Jeju's hand, more so defensively as Jeju will now have an overload. Also, in attack, Jeju's three attackers can play through the lines of FC Seoul's back four, so it will definitely be interesting to see how An Ik-soo will handle his selection on Saturday.

Who to Watch for Jeju United

All eyes will still be on Yuri Jonathan, who joined from Liga Portugal 2 side CF Estrela. After a dreary opening three games to his Jeju career, there is now significant pressure on the forward to improve his ability in front of goal.

My personal choice has been and always will be Seo Jin-su. The forward showed amazing promise in the back end of 2022, and he has continued his confident attacking plays in 2023 from the bench. Nam Ki-il has shown faith in Seo by bringing him on in replacement for Jeju's starting U22 players, but I feel it's time Seo starts, he's earned it and brings a new dynamic to Jeju's attack, which Yuri lacks. Seo has an assertive attacking presence, is fearless, and is technically gifted. He would and has caused opposition defenders nightmares.

Who to Watch for FC Seoul

Seoul's goalkeeper, Choi Cheol-won, made all the headlines this week with his moment of madness and lack of concentration. All eyes will be on the keeper, should he start. Immense pressure on him to improve fast, and it would be a confidence boost for the 28-year-old to start against Jeju, as they have the worst attacking record in the league, granted there are still 35 matches left to play.

On the contrary, experienced midfielder Lim Sang-hyub is Seoul's top goal involver, with one goal and one assist in 3 appearances. His past two seasons at Pohang saw him accumulate 19 goals and five assists in 72 matches, which is a very good return for a midfielder. I would expect him to be amongst the score sheet more often for Seoul this season, and possibly against Jeju should his form continue.

Where to Watch

Fans based in Korea can watch it on Sky Sports and Coupang Play at 16:30 on March 18th. Those fans residing overseas can watch the match for free via K League TV!

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