Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Weekend Recap March 17th

International break gives me a week off of scheduling/recapping, phew. Sadly found out that I will be on the road next Saturday so there may be a lag on recaps when club play returns.

Park Joo Ho -- Signs of life are wishing Kagawa happy birthday but otherwise missing.

Ji Dong Won -- Part of a forward pair with Koo, it seemed like a reasonable option given Bobadilla's injury. But rather than accentuating his playmaking while retaining his forward capabilities, it brought out some of his bad habits especially as service was very poor from the midfield . He was caught wandering wide to look to get the ball, where he continues to struggle to beat defenders. Things got somewhat better when Bobadilla came on as it caused a cascading improvement in quality from his supporting teammates. It feels a luxury to have two forwards and we'll see if they persist or change even if it pushes Ji out of his better CF role.

Koo Ja Cheol -- Koo was pretty poor as the other forward... he was too far advanced to help in buildup/playmaking and some of his touches weren't great either. With Augsburg having such a bad day in midfield, it was a waste to have him so far up, and he did better as a DM later in the match even if its not a great position for him, as he was a lot closer to the action.

Lee Chung Yong -- Made the bench because of some injuries but no major changes to his role.

Ki Sung Yueng -- Returned to starting XI and showed flashes of his strengths but also the effects of missing so many weeks. Ki was one of the bright spots in the first half, but seemed to fade away... some felt like not enough passes his way but also it seemed he lacked some freshness to his runs as well. Positive signs but we'll see what role he has when Naughton returns to fitness (Fer slid wide to FB in his absence).

Son Heung Min -- Played up top and showed why he's not a very good lone forward. His only move as a CF is to beat the offside trap, and that worked for him at first as he got a one-on-one chance but wasnt able to beat GK who did well to save. After he showed some good first touch which hes had problems with, but struggled to have any influence anywhere. Invisible as a target man, he seemed to get a bit more success when he swapped with Alli once they got into the attacking third, looking more comfortable on the edges of the box. Will be interesting to see what Pochettino does to solve this problem, especially against teams lower in the table who are more likely to sit deep and not let Son get behind the defense.

Kwon Chang Hoon -- Good news is that he made the matchday squad. Bad news is that he was an unused sub in a loss that leaves them only out of the relegation zone by tiebreakers. He has international break to get better acclimated to French life and hopefully earn some looks from the manager.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Weekend Preview and Schedule - March 17th

Daylight savings time reminder for those of us in the US and out of sync with Europe so kickoffs an hour later than normal.

DayTime (ET)PlayerClubOpponentTV
Friday3:30 PMPark Joo HoDortmundIngolstadtFox Sports 2
Saturday10:30 AMJi Dong WonAugsburgFreiburgFox Soccer 2 Go
Saturday10:30 AMKoo Ja CheolAugsburgFreiburgFox Soccer 2 Go
Saturday11:00 AMLee Chung YongCrystal PalaceWatfordNBC Extra Time
Saturday1:30 PMKi Sung YuengSwansea@BournemouthNBCSN
Sunday10:15 AMSon Heung MinTottenhamSouthamptonNBCSN
Sunday12:00 PMKwon Chang HoonDijonSt EtienneBeIn Play

Park Joo Ho -- Couldn't even make the bench of the cup squad so not going to be in squad tomorrow.

Ji Dong Won -- We'll see how Bobadilla is doing but for now it seems Ji is only fully fit striker option though Finnbogason is nearing a return. Hopefully Ji finds his form when his team really needs goals as they drift back towards relegation zone.

Koo Ja Cheol -- Koo appears to have re-aggravated problematic ankles in training. We will see if he recovers in time and if he can go 90. He'd start if fit but thats looking unlikely at the moment.

Lee Chung Yong -- I doubt any change to his situation this weekend.

Ki Sung Yueng -- After another full week of training, Ki should be more fit... but Clement's evaluation of where Ki fits in remains a question mark. Ki was used a lot at first, so if Ki is fit, maybe Ki gets on the bench or even an outside chance to start in place of an ineffective Fer last weekend.

Son Heung Min -- After his hat-trick heroics, Pochettino would have been tempted to start him anyway, but with Kane out, it is a certainty. With Janssen not inspiring confidence up top even after his first non-PK goal, Son will most likely start up front. It's a spot where he has been decent at goals but struggles to impact the game at times otherwise, as he doesn't do the other things a lone forward needs to do. But confidence makes for a strong Son who can create something out of nothing so hopefully the goals push him in that direction.

Kwon Chang Hoon -- Maybe he has a chance at a bench spot back but its not going well for him.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Weekend Recap - March 11th

One heroic performance and a pile of other bleh.

Park Joo Ho -- Wasn't in squad.

Ki Sung Yueng -- I guess not fit enough yet to be on the bench. Unlike fellow injured player Montero, Ki not in reserve squad match so not sure a sign he's more or less likely to play next weekend. But Swansea had their first step backwards last weekend and relegation again seems real danger.

Kwon Chang Hoon -- Very disappointing as KCH was left out of the 18. I think he did ok with reserve side but this isn't what anybody wanted. Not sure if it is a trust issue or language issue but not a great sign heading into final stretch fight against relegation.

Son Heung Min -- The bright spot in the weekend, scoring a hat trick. He started off very poor and his touch was so bad that the stadium groaned and Alli raised his hands in frustration. But moments later, he did his favorite cut in and shoot and scored a great goal with his left foot. His next goal was also classic Son as he beat the offside trap and had a nice volley. His last goal was a gift as GK completely just dropped ball into his own goal, but Son also added a nice assist to Janssen.

With Kane out for the foreseeable future, there will be a lot of pressure on Son to produce and while his touch is very concerning, he has to be heading into this situation with tons of confidence. Even international duty will be light as he's suspended vs China and will only have Syria to play albeit with short rest after. That said, the past few weeks and the start of this match hints at some problems with Son's performances.

Ji Dong Won -- He came on when Bobadilla got hurt, but by then Augsburg were already well beaten. I didn't watch too closely but biggest concern I saw was Ji mistaking stupid and cheap fouls for quality physical play. He continues to fail to beat guys on the dribble and he'll have to figure out how to play strong if he can't play skillfully.

Koo Ja Cheol -- Koo was a mess in the first part and somehow Augsburg were on their back heels for the first half and suddenly down by 3. Koo had a hand in the first goal, being late with the offside trap but it was a complete team failure, though against a Schalke team that had shown signs of life. Maybe I'll try to watch the second half again, but it was so ugly and hard to watch.

Lee Chung Yong -- Off.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Weekend Preview and Schedule - March 11th

Weekend preview... hopefully more action than last weekend but not expecting much. Ki returns to team training so some improvement there.

DayTime (ET)PlayerClubOpponentTV
Saturday9:30 AMPark Joo HoDortmund@Hertha BerlinFox Sports 2
Saturday10:00 AMKi Sung YuengSwansea@Hull CityCNBC
Saturday2:00 PMKwon Chang HoonDijon@Stades RennesBeIn Play
Sunday10:00 AMSon Heung MinTottenhamMillwall (Cup)Fox Sports 1
Sunday10:30 AMJi Dong WonAugsburg@SchalkeFox Sports 2
Sunday10:30 AMKoo Ja CheolAugsburg@SchalkeFox Sports 2
Offn/aLee Chung YongCrystal Palace

Park Joo Ho -- No news of anything different.

Ki Sung Yueng -- He returned to team training this week but with Swansea in fine form, I don't expect him to break into starting XI this weekend. We will see if he's fit enough for the bench and how Clement sees a recovering Ki vs Britton as well.

Kwon Chang Hoon -- It seems he has a way to go to earn manager trust so a bench spot for him.

Son Heung Min -- Cup matches are hard to predict but I have a feeling Pochettino will want to win some hardware and also not lose the momentum that Tottenham have built recently especially with a full week after to recover. So I expect a strong lineup but perhaps there's still room for Son in the mix. So likeliest is a bench role with a chance of starting.

Ji Dong Won -- Ji seems to have Baum's trust despite being pretty variable over past few matches. I wonder if Baum will give that 5-2-1-2 look one more try this weekend and if so, good chance for Ji to start but less likely than recent months.

Koo Ja Cheol -- Koo should start against his old manager whose team sits a point behind Augsburg. I think Moravek isn't 100% so theres a chance of Koo dropping deeper or Baum going with a different shape again, but Koo will be in the mix.

Lee Chung Yong -- Off and we'll see if he joins up with the first team on their trip to Morocco.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Weekend Recap - March 3rd

Not too much to watch this weekend.

Ji Dong Won -- Started off as a strike pair and had some good chances early, but struggled with Augsburg's 5-2-1-2 shape and was taken off fairly early after 58 minutes. I think this is a good formation for Ji but he will need to learn how to play with Bobadilla and stay involved even when touches go down vs being a midfielder.

Koo Ja Cheol -- Koo was better than Ji looking more comfortable in the hole behind Ji and Bobadilla. He had a lot of latitude to drop deeper to help in defense and possession when needed. In the final minutes as Augsburg were trailing, he drove forward but missed both open co-attackers on the break, but fortunately the ball bounced to Hinteregger who equalized. Not a great game for Koo but like Augsburg, keeps getting the job done.

Park Joo Ho -- Nowhere.

Lee Chung Yong -- Played well... for the reserves. He turned down the warm trip to Morocco to get match minutes with the U23 but at least he played well, earning a PK and assisting the other goal with a nice cross with a first time touch.

Ki Sung Yueng -- He returned to team training this week but with Swansea doing well, he'll be able to take his time to recover.

Kwon Chang Hoon -- Played a handful of minutes at the end.

Son Heung Min -- Remained on the bench, as Pochettino rotated the use of garbage time minutes to Janssen and Sissoko.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Weekend Schedule and Preview March 3rd

I don't expect much change from last weekend.

DayTime (ET)PlayerClubOpponentTV
Friday2:30 PMJi Dong WonAugsburgLeipzigFox Sports 2
Friday2:30 PMKoo Ja CheolAugsburgLeipzigFox Sports 2
Saturday9:30 AMPark Joo HoDortmundLeverkusenFox Sports 2
Saturday10:00 AMLee Chung YongCrystal Palace@West BromCNBC
Saturday10:00 AMKi Sung YuengSwanseaBurnleyNBC Extra Time
Saturday2:00 PMKwon Chang HoonDijonNiceBeIn Play
Sunday8:30 AMSon Heung MinTottenhamEvertonNCBSN

Ji Dong Won -- Even if he's been inconsistent on the offensive end, clearly Baum trusts Ji to do his job as an aerial target and and put in 90 minutes of effort. Ji should start, especially given uncertainty of other attackers.

Koo Ja Cheol -- Baum's had a hard time of filling all the gaps in Augsburg's play with Koo but that reflects Koo's good work and some of the problems at other positions Augsburg has. Koo should start.

Park Joo Ho -- He injured his knee in training so even less probability of making squad than normal.

Lee Chung Yong -- He's not even made squad recently. With a win last week, I don't expect any changes.

Ki Sung Yueng -- At the time of this post, Ki started to return to individual training on the ball, and looks to be nearing a return to team training. Even if he were healthy, I'd expect at best a bench role so we'll see if he's fit enough to make the squad.

Kwon Chang Hoon -- We'll see what the manager thinks of KCH's job but he should at least make a sub appearance if not a bigger role.

Son Heung Min -- I don't think Poch will change things after such a big win so bench for Son. A tougher challenge this week so we may see more of him than 5 minutes of garbage time.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Weekend Recap Feb 24th

Improved from Kwon Chang Hoon and Ji this weekend but still three without action:

Kwon Chang Hoon -- Came on as a sub with 20ish minutes left. He played well, disproving some of his manager's concerns of his physicality as he battled hard. He had a few too fancy tricks that were too easily snuffed out, with some in dangerous places but it also shows a confidence that's good to see. Without having watched the other parts of the match, I thought he did very well and seemed to have a decent argument for a bigger role. That said, he looked a bit short on gas when he had additional responsibility of playing second forward in attack when they went down to 10 men after a red card and will be a concern for ODO.

Ji Dong Won -- Augsburg spent more time in a 4-2-3-1 and Ji seemed a bit more comfortable with the additional license to drift more centrally and was rewarded with the winning assist as he sat in the hole and threaded a great pass to Bobadilla. He also had a hand in the equalizer, attacking the box and attempting a good cross which would find its way to Kohr to get a PK. That said, there were continued problems with Ji playing out wide, such as a few horrific crosses and an inability to create width consistently. Still a positive step and rewarded with 90 minutes.

Koo Ja Cheol -- Koo started off very brightly, and was important to Augsburg's buildup and possession play but started to disappear for stretches at a time over the middle portion of the match. Fortunately for Augsburg, in the final minutes he made his presence felt with some good headers and runs which helped shift the match towards Darmstadt's goal.

Park Joo Ho -- Nothing.

Lee Chung Yong -- Nothing.

Ki Sung Yueng -- Still out injured. Seems Swansea put up a valiant effort vs league leaders though.

Son Heung Min -- Came on for garbage time as Poch stuck with five in the back. The good news is that he's highest on the substitute attackers pecking order by far but bad news is that he's not in Poch's perceived best XI. Two of Tottenham defenders went down to injury so we'll see if Poch switches back to four in the back and re-introduce Son.