Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Weekend Recap April 22nd and Midweek Preview April 26th

Running a tad late. Instead of watching Saturday morning fixtures, was at kid's game where his feet tangled up with another kid's, who proceeded to do an epic grass roll for the third time in the match, and then the kid's grandfather ran out on the field to accuse my son of punching the other kid. Twice. Yay youth football!

Back to pros where there's some midweek action.

DayTime (ET)PlayerClubOpponentTV
Wednesday2:45 PMPark Joo HoDortmund@Bayern MunichESPN2
Wednesday3:00 PMLee Chung YongCrystal PalaceTottenhamNBCSN
Wednesday3:00 PMSon Heung MinTottenham@Crystal PalaceNBCSN
Offn/aJi Dong WonAugsburg
Offn/aKoo Ja CheolAugsburg
Offn/aKwon Chang HoonDijon
Offn/aKi Sung YuengSwansea

Park Joo Ho -- Didn't make squad last weekend and doubt midweek, though I guess cup is less important than battle in table with Hoffenheim so maybe the reserve match was in preparation to warm bench for this.

Lee Chung Yong -- With short week against Tottenham, could LCY be cannon fodder for more winnable match on weekend? I'd think Allardyce wouldn't want to stop momentum so I doubt it but maybe LCY gets a bench spot/late cameo to rest legs.

Son Heung Min -- Pochettino tried to have 5 in the back AND Son in the XI and it was an awful experiment. Yes Son is fast and a hard worker, but his lack of defensive experience exhibited several times, worst of all giving up a penalty when he slid in too early. While Son has pace, it was not enough to beat Moses going forward. And being so deep, he didn't get the ball in his favorite shooting spots often, and couldn't use his best skill, quickness in beating offside trap, often. He did get a few quality runs in but by HT, Pochettino turned off the experiment, putting Son back at LW in 4-2-3-1, and then subbing him off for a proper fullback as they reverted to five in the back.

It seemed way too big a stage for such an experiment, especially one best suited for videogames, rather than real life. After that failure, we'll see how they line up at Crystal Palace.

Ji Dong Won -- Kind of a fluid role, ostensibly playing forward pair, particularly for long balls, but often dropping deeper behind Altintop to help in midfield. He played ok, with some good chances and touches, but it was a hard match to watch with Augsburg spending so much time in their own half, and not only giving up the lead in the final 20 minutes, but to fully implode losing by two. Things look really bad with tough fixtures against teams gunning for European spots, and this Saturday's match vs fellow relegation battlers Hamburg is a must win.

Koo Ja Cheol -- Season over.

Kwon Chang Hoon -- Returned to squad. I didn't watch but he did come on late in a big win where Dijon almost gave up a three goal lead but survived.

Ki Sung Yueng -- Better from Ki but far from his best. He looked pretty slow and unmotivated at times, and yet had some good hustle such as chasing down an attacker in the first half. When he did get the ball, he seemed sharper with it and pushed forward better than he had though he was far from his controlling best.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Weekend Preview - April 22nd

Ugh, Koo out for the season.

DayTime (ET)PlayerClubOpponentTV
Saturday9:30 AMJi Dong WonAugsburgEintracht FrankfurtFox Soccer 2 Go
Saturday9:30 AMKoo Ja CheolAugsburgEintracht FrankfurtFox Soccer 2 Go
Saturday10:00 AMKi Sung YuengSwanseaStoke CityNBCSN
Saturday12:15 PMSon Heung MinTottenham@Chelsea (Cup)Fox
Saturday12:30 PMPark Joo HoDortmundGladbachFox Sports 2
Saturday2:00 PMKwon Chang HoonDijonAngersNone
Sunday11:30 AMLee Chung YongCrystal Palace@LiverpoolNBCSN

Koo Ja Cheol -- Koo is officially out for the season. Augsburg needed more Koos in their relegation fight, not zero.

Ji Dong Won -- With Koo out and Finnbogason suspended for red card, Ji should start but remains to be seen at what spot.

Ki Sung Yueng -- We will see what Clement saw in Ki's performance last week... good enough relative to teammates, or bad in absolute terms? He should make the bench if not starting.

Son Heung Min -- Remains to be seen how Poch handles a hot Son against desire to go to back three vs Chelsea. I think Poch will go with Son especially given how faster guys have done against Chelsea recently but Son will be on the bench if he doesn't start.

Park Joo Ho -- Doubt it... he did play with the reserves, so maybe he gets to warm the bench.

Kwon Chang Hoon -- We will see if he's fit but so far I've not seen positive signs that he'll be ready this weekend for even bench duty.

Lee Chung Yong -- Doubt it.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Weekend Recap April 15th

Son keeps shining, Ki gets a chance, but plenty of bad news as well this weekend.

Son Heung Min -- Son stays on fire, scoring yet another goal, though he probably should have scored two or more. As Pochettino must be considering going back to three man backline and dropping Son for Wanyama, Son has kept putting in goals and preventing Poch from making the switch.  While still prone to slow thinking and the occasional bad touch, Son is making up for it with some good shooting, playmaking and consistent running. He also setup Janssen's goal. It is all good timing with Chelsea slipping up and letting Tottenham back into the race, albeit with few matches left.

With the FA Cup this weekend, perhaps Poch will drop Son so that he has fresh legs midweek and to match Chelsea's formation but it will be hard to drop Son in this form.

Ji Dong Won -- Was a sub but a huge win for Augsburg as they now have a gap to automatic relegation spots and are within a point of 3 other teams for safety. Ji didn't have to do much offensively and all the goals were scored by defenders but for once, Augsburg looked to have gotten something resembling an offense without Ji in XI. But with Koo's injury, another shuffle is likely so we'll see how Baum lines em up this weekend.

Koo Ja Cheol -- Playing in the CM role, he helped provide the missing link between defense and attack. Unfortunately, he picked up two cheap yellows, and on the second, hurt his knee in a very awkward landing. It looked bad on replay, but Augsburg haven't ruled him out for the season just yet but he won't be back for a while yet, and what was an annoying habit of getting cheap fouls has turned into a problem. He was lucky to only get a yellow earlier in the match, and going up with boots towards faces isn't smart play.

Ki Sung Yueng -- Got a chance to start but he'll feel like he wasted it. He wasn't the worst CM on the pitch but he really struggled to have any impact on the match. He had moments, such as his nice work to get himself free in the box for Swansea's best attack, but that was matched with frustration such as his weak shot at GK in that same sequence. For every nice driving run or pass he made, he also had several poor crosses. It was a poor Swansea display, that looked like a team coming off a short week for an early stage cup match rather than a team fighting for survival in last weeks of season, and Ki was equally disappointing.

Park Joo Ho -- Nothing.

Lee Chung Yong -- Nothing.

Kwon Chang Hoon -- Missed with injury.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Weekend Preview and Schedule April 15th

All Saturday this weekend. Of course overlapping fixtures less of an issue if our guys don't play...

DayTime (ET)PlayerClubOpponentTV
Saturday7:30 AMSon Heung MinTottenhamBournemouthNBCSN
Saturday9:30 AMJi Dong WonAugsburgKoelnFox Soccer 2 Go
Saturday9:30 AMKoo Ja CheolAugsburgKoelnFox Soccer 2 Go
Saturday9:30 AMPark Joo HoDortmundEintracht FrankfurtFox Sports 1
Saturday10:00 AMLee Chung YongCrystal PalaceLeicesterNBCSN
Saturday10:00 AMKi Sung YuengSwansea@WatfordCNBC
Saturday3:00 PMKwon Chang HoonDijon@MonacoNone

Son Heung Min -- I have to imagine Pochettino will keep Son's hot hand in the XI though there's the issue of eventually getting Wanyama back into the side and back into 3-4-2-1 shape. Until that happens, Son should start but at winger role as Kane got decent minutes in last weekend.

Ji Dong Won -- With Bobadilla injured, Ji will probably start but Baum might shake things up in a desperate throw of the dice. Desperate managers are hard to predict. I'm hoping to see Ji up top but Baum seems reluctant to go there.

Koo Ja Cheol -- Koo should start but we will see where he starts. I'd prefer him deeper for now to bring some fluidity into Augsburg's buildup who have otherwise resorted to long balls to nobody.

Park Joo Ho -- Perhaps he warms the bench depending on who's available on short rest.

Lee Chung Yong -- Another big win means Allardyce has little incentive to change things up. With Townsend possibly injured, perhaps LCY warms the bench.

Ki Sung Yueng -- Like Augsburg's Baum, Clement has to be similarly desperate but Ki has the opposite role of his KNT teammates: looking to be the fresh legs in a stale and misfiring XI. At this point, I suspect that Clement will only change attackers but there's certainly a possibility for Ki to have something of a role, especially if Cork isn't 100%.

Kwon Chang Hoon -- Injured so he's most likely out this weekend.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Weekend Recap April 8th

Son seems like the lone bright spot these days. No pun intended. Sigh.

Son Heung Min -- While starting off as a mixed bag, things started to open up for Tottenham and Son, first setting up Alli's pass (which to be clear was 99.9% Alli who struck an amazing shot), then a bit later when his deflected shot fell to Dier who scored again. Finally Son got on the score sheet with two great goals of his own, first a cannon shot from the top of the box, and then a nice first touch shot on a cross. He didn't go into his usual post-scoring overdrive mode, perhaps owing to a bit of fatigue from midweek, but he did have a few chances for the hat trick, hitting the crossbar and also missing an easy open chance. Not the best performance but a good one and needed as Poch starts thinking about how to line up with Kane/Wanyama returning.

Ki Sung Yueng -- Real bad news when Clement didn't change a thing despite having third match in 6 days. Then again, Ki wasn't the only one which surprised me as some fatigue was visible midweek. Whether Ki started or not, the lack of changes meant that it wasn't a surprise when things went so badly that two subs had to be burned at HT. When Cork went off with injury, it was more frustration as Montero was put on instead of Ki. With Swansea continuing to sink down the table, one has to think that Clement will have to change things up and look at players like Ki regardless of his preference.

Park Joo Ho -- Health getting better so PJH was left at home and of course isn't eligible for CL.

Kwon Chang Hoon -- Man, picked up an injury where he's due to miss at least another match this weekend in addition to the one he missed last weekend. Worst possible timing and missed Dijon's loss.

Ji Dong Won -- Was pretty invisible to start on left wing in 4-4-2 but so much can be blamed on so little possession and terrible defense. Augsburg defense was shredded apart yet again. Ji brought on a bit of life when he stopped trying to be a winger and started to control of attack himself. He started to cut inwards and use the open spaces for himself, and was soon put up top when Finnbogason was taken off where he continued to show Augsburg glimpses of offense... in the few times they got the ball. Augsburg is a mess, and they need to get their best shape and XI out there and Ji sitting back and wide isn't where he's best suited.

Koo Ja Cheol -- Koo also struggled as he was too far forward as second striker. There's no point in having two strikers if the ball never crosses into the attacking half. When Koo moved to CM, Augsburg showed some improved ability to get on the attack but by then it was way too little too late. Koo needs to be near the action and for Augsburg, that's pretty far back.

Lee Chung Yong -- Left off squad. The one player who would benefit most from relegation (as he'd likely get more time and keep his contract) finds himself in the opposite situation with Crystal Palace look to have opened a decent gap to Hull City/Swansea with a major upset of Arsenal. Maybe they can keep improving and get enough padding for him to get a transfer showcase cameo.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Midweek Recap April 4th and Weekend Preview April 8th

Some more action from all the players means maybe we can start looking forward to matchday.

DayTime (ET)PlayerClubOpponentTV
Saturday7:30 AMSon Heung MinTottenhamWatfordNBCSN
Saturday10:00 AMKi Sung YuengSwansea@West HamNBC Extra Time
Saturday12:30 PMPark Joo HoDortmundBayern MunichFox Sports 1
Saturday2:00 PMKwon Chang HoonDijonBastiaNone
Sunday9:30 AMJi Dong WonAugsburg@Hertha BerlinFox Sports 1
Sunday9:30 AMKoo Ja CheolAugsburg@Hertha BerlinFox Sports 1
Monday3:00 PMLee Chung YongCrystal PalaceArsenalNBCSN

Son Heung Min -- Started and struggled to have an impact consistently as he was playing as a lone forward. A total non-entity in the air or with his back to goal, things finally started to click when Janssen was brought on to be the physical presence and allowed Son to play off of Janssen and attack from deeper. It paid off as he ran onto a beautiful backheel pass from Janssen and struck the winner in injury time. It wasn't a great showing from Son but his hand in the outcome maybe all that mattered on an off day. As for weekend, it remains to be seen what lineup Pochettino goes with given uncertainty on Wanyama and Kane. If Kane is out, it may be between Son's scoring and Janssen's physicality as to who starts up top leaving the other on the bench. If Wanyama is out too, Poch could use both in 4-2-3-1. I think Son starts though against a weakened Watford side.

Ki Sung Yueng -- When Naughton went down, Ki came in for Fer who had shifted to RB. I don't know Naughton's availability on short notice and hasn't been ruled out yet. If Fer goes to RB, Ki should start but it seems he's stuck on bench otherwise.

Park Joo Ho -- There are tons of injuries but it seems Schmelzer may be fit enough. I didn't see him mentioned among those travelling but doubt he'd play even if in squad.

Kwon Chang Hoon -- I would have to think a second start would be called for. I'll be shocked if he doesn't... Dijon need quality and clearly KCH brings enough of it regardless of excuses / language problems.

Ji Dong Won -- When he came on, he brought some needed width as he was put in at LM. He showed great speed to cover a breakaway on defense and more importantly, chipped in on the offensive end with good dribbles and crosses. He earned a PK too with some determination, going in for a lost cause header and getting kicked in the head. The formation has been a problem, and at some point Baum will have to figure out a way of getting Ji/Koo/Bobadilla/Finnbogason in their right spots to cover up holes on defense. Even if it takes Ji out of better CF role, Augsburg needs goals and him at left winger would allow for all four to be in decent positions unlike 5-2-1-2 that they've been failing at.

Koo Ja Cheol -- Koo was decent in his start but man that defense was so bad.  Whats the point of having 5 in the back if they let in goals so cheaply vs bottom team? Anyway, Koo provides needed quality in the middle but its a mess behind him so we'll see if he starts deeper or at the 10.

Lee Chung Yong -- There are tons of injuries but Allardyce criticized the quality of his bench so it seems LCY is far away. But he should at least make the bench, and with limited options otherwise, perhaps Allardyce will have to give him a chance.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Weekend Recap April 1st and Midweek Preview April 4th

Tons of midweek action this week so don't plan any Wednesday afternoon meetings.

An easy goal by Son but not the greatest weekend. I didn't get to watch much as I was on travel, but since there are matches midweek, I'd figure I'd put these up rather than wait to watch replays and I don't think my opinion will change much.

DayTime (ET)PlayerClubOpponentTV
Tuesday2:00 PMPark Joo HoDortmundHamburgFox Sports 2
Wednesday2:00 PMJi Dong WonAugsburgIngolstadtFox Soccer 2 Go
Wednesday2:00 PMKoo Ja CheolAugsburgIngolstadtFox Soccer 2 Go
Wednesday2:45 PMLee Chung YongCrystal PalaceSouthamptonNBC Extra Time
Wednesday2:45 PMKi Sung YuengSwanseaTottenhamNBC Extra Time
Wednesday2:45 PMSon Heung MinTottenham@SwanseaNBC Extra Time
Offn/aKwon Chang HoonDijon

Park Joo Ho -- No change.

Ji Dong Won -- Played 90 but a brutal loss albeit to Bayern puts em down into the relegation playoff spot. Very worrisome. I have to think that Baum will mix things up in a must win midweek.If Ji is a part of that, not certain, possibly out wide but also possibly on the bench especially with Finnbogason as an option.

Koo Ja Cheol -- Missed the weekend with yellow card suspension but if he was going to miss one, Bayern was a good time to get a bit extra rest. Koo should be right back in the starting XI. With Baier nearing a return, we'll see if that has secondary effects on where Koo lines up.

Lee Chung Yong -- Still no role for Chungy and don't expect anything new even on a short week with a run of injuries.

Ki Sung Yueng -- Not a good sign when in a must win match tied at 0-0, nobody from the bench is used. Yes, Swansea were on the front foot, but some signs of fatigue began to show. Most of the problems were up front rather than the CM trio so maybe not all is lost for Ki but disappointing. Given short week perhaps Ki gets a shot but not sure how given Fer playing well, Clement keen on fielding Carroll vs his former club, and Cork's different role. I'm leaning still towards bench.

Son Heung Min -- Pochettino played it safe against lower table opposition and rested Son along with Dembele. He came on and had an easy tap in goal when Alli crossed to him on a good break. Son looked a bit sluggish... not sure if he was saving his energy for midweek or still fatigued from international duty or just not sharp.

Kwon Chang Hoon -- Finally made a start and was reportedly very good (I did see touch video fwiw) and an important draw which puts them one point above relegation zone against a tough opponent. Manager has to consider a greater role for KCH going forward, even if he may have continued problems with language for the near future.