Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Weekend Recap and Midweek Preview

A pleasant return to club football after a horrendous international break.  Son on fire, Ki starts, and a strong sub showing from Ji were all positive highlights.  We also got some clarity on Yun Suk Young who transferred to Brondby IF, one of the stronger Danish sides.  I've put in some thoughts at the tail end of this.


Son Heung Min -- Tottenham host Monaco at 2:45 PM in CL group stage.  Only Fox Soccer2Go sadly.  Son's decision to focus on club duty for 2nd half of international break was rewarded with a start and boy did Son reward Pochettino.  In the first half, Son was one of the most dangerous players, causing Stoke problems with his pace and some good dribbling as well.  He then positioned himself perfectly to latch onto Eriksen's cross into the box and scored his first of the season.  His second goal was spectacular, again running onto an Eriksen pass, but blasting it just under the cross bar on his first touch.  His passing in the final third was a bit off but it was an excellent day and a strong statement that he should remain in the attacking mix.

We will see how Pochettino deploys his attackers for the first group match.  Son played 90 so maybe Pochettino will let him rest and come off the bench, or continue with the hot hand who's had plenty of experience and success vs Monaco.  But I expect him in the squad and hopefully continues that form tomorrow and rest of the season.


Lee Chung Yong -- He came on as a sub later in the match when Crystal Palace had lost momentum and were just scrapping to preserve their lead.  As a result, LCY was scrappy and hard working enough but didn't have to do much.  Only worrisome moment was seeing him badly outrun to a loose ball... not as fast as he used to be.

Park Joo Ho -- He's not in CL squad so I've not figured out when its on (check Fox Sports site).  And left out of squad so he'll have to be patient in training for a change of situation.

Koo Ja Cheol -- He looked remarkably fresh despite all that international duty and while he lacked a bit of sharpness, particularly missing from point blank range, but was typically combative and tough in a scrappy match.  He got subbed off for defender at 78'.

Ji Dong Won -- He took a bit of while to find himself but once he got going, he put in a strong argument for starting over at least Bobadilla.  Yes, Ji still seems far away from ever finding scoring form from his first stint at Augsburg, but he provided some of the best offensive opportunities with some great interplay with Koo and a few crosses that should have resulted in goals.  He also provided good work rate if not necessarily great defense too.  Of course Schmid is also there too so Ji will have more rather than less competition for minutes but I thought it was a good showing.

Ki Sung Yueng -- Probably the biggest surprise was seeing him start on the left of a diamond vs Chelsea in a 5 back defense.  The formation was a disaster and individual errors made a bad problem worse. Ki actually was one of the brighter spots in the first half, helping push things forward with dribbling but he seemed really far forward in this formation and too advanced to help as much in the buildup.  In the second he seemed to tire until the final minutes when he got involved in the attack, culminating in a tumble inside the Chelsea box which certainly could have been a PK (but probably also just as easily been as called).  I'd like to see more defensive effort but Ki seemed to be invigorated by the start and did a good job (albeit not great) with it.  Perhaps Guidolin is now putting Ki ahead of Britton at least now but we'll also have to see what shape he goes with next week.

Kim Jin Su -- Hoffenheim had a defensive implosion, letting in four goals before HT, and then had an offensive explosion afterwards against 10 man Mainz.  Maybe this helps KJS a small smudge but I don't expect him to be making squad any time soon.

Yun Suk Young -- After a two day trial, in an odd turn, he only signed until the new year.  The sporting director just after the signing (!) mentioned that salary was the reason for the short deal.  YSY's salary (coming from PL) was higher than Brondby was willing to spend on an unproven player and so they both get a few months to see if this will work before attempting to meet in the middle if he does well.

YSY had the most talent of our LBs but being in relegation situations did nothing for his experience and it remains to be seen how his inconsistent at best minutes and changing roles from LB to LM to LWB might impact his confidence and form.

The choice of Denmark is equally puzzling vs coming back to Korea.  He seems to be willing to bet on himself with short contract, but a path back to bigger leagues is very unclear.