Thursday, October 27, 2016

Last Week Recap (Oct 21) and Weekend Preview / Schedule Oct 29

First warning about daylight savings.  Europe goes the weekend before the states so weird kickoff times until we flip over.

As for me, got somewhat more time to watch football live this weekend, but of course I'll be in the air during Swansea match and may have a hard time next week writing up recaps.  Sigh.

Positive trends for some this week and so lets get to it, with Augsburg getting 1.5 treatment (I fell asleep last night for good portion of cup replay).

DayTime (ET)PlayerClubOpponentTV
Saturday9:30 AMJi Dong WonAugsburgBayern MunichFox Sports 2
Saturday9:30 AMKoo Ja CheolAugsburgBayern MunichFox Sports 2
Saturday10:00 AMSon Heung MinTottenhamLeicester CityCNBC
Saturday12:30 PMLee Chung YongCrystal PalaceLiverpoolNBC
Saturday12:30 PMPark Joo HoDortmundSchalkeFox Sports 2
Sunday10:30 AMKim Jin SuHoffenheimHertha BerlinFox Sports 2
Sunday4:00 PMKi Sung YuengSwansea@Stoke CityNBCSN

Ji Dong Won -- Ji continues his excellent form, being the most consistent and most dangerous Augsburg player.  Despite all the minutes, Schuster is leaning on Ji hard with him playing 90 every single match, including the cup match vs Bayern.  And Ji has responded by improving his forward form, continuing to play on top, first as part of a strike pair in the first half of Saturday, before playing as a lone forward the rest of that match and midweek.

For Saturday, Ji started to show better aggression in the box, staying in attacking areas longer rather than drifting wide or deep unnecessarily but his shooting touch continued to escape him.  But Wednesday, Ji took a nice long pass from Koo, then juked Boateng off the ball and shot past Neuer with a rocket from close range.  He also continued to improve his form in the air, getting to more balls and directing them to better places.  He's still not prolific as he could be, but he's playing some excellent football.

And now this weekend, Augsburg faces Bayern yet again.  Augsburg were overly defensive I thought in the first half midweek, so lets hope Ji gets a bit more support.  I suspect it might be too soon for Finnbogason so Ji might be CF again, but he'll be starting regardless.

Koo Ja Cheol -- Koo played quite well on the weekend, showing more direction to his craziness. Where often he does tricks in pointless areas to little gain, this time his moves had purpose and his passes created a lot of danger.  It was disappointing to see Augsburg fall apart despite controlling much of the match.  Midweek though Koo was less of an influence, as when Augsburg sat back, Koo looked a bit lost as to where to best cover the open spaces.  His pass to Ji was really good though and so I'm hoping that it was a function of scheme (sitting back) vs Koo's strengths (aggressively pressing).  But both times he was pulled early so not sure if he's got a knock or if fatigue is a problem right now.  Without too many alternatives, Koo should start though maybe a change in role is possible if Bobadilla returns.

Son Heung Min -- He was completely rested midweek as Tottenham fell out of the league cup fielding a young squad without Son.  Last weekend, I thought Son played ok in the first half but Tottenham was a mess again.  But Son really gassed out quickly in the second and looked pretty poor and was subbed off.  He'll need to show better endurance with CL coming up soon but hopefully a breather was what he needed as he will likely start this weekend.

Lee Chung Yong -- He came on around 70 minutes and was put back into a wide role.  He didn't get a great set of opportunities to touch the ball but he showed good quality when he did, with crosses finding dangerous areas and good work helping the build up from a more central space.  With Crystal Palace looking stuck in neutral and some poor play from some of the attacking midfielders, there's a good chance that LCY will get a chance to start but with Pardew, the bench is never far from LCY.

Park Joo Ho -- Finally got the start and didn't play horrifically, but certainly wasn't very good either in his 45 minutes.  He got pulled at HT in as much as a tactical shift as anything but it wasn't a good sign for his future when he was sacrificed and confirmed when he didn't even make the cup squad midweek.  With Schalke and the Revierderby coming up, I don't see PJH doing anything more than sit on the bench and probably not even then.

Kim Jin Su -- How sad it is that he couldn't even make the bench for a cup match despite one fullback being suspended and the other not being 100%.

Ki Sung Yueng -- Ki started off slow but started to really come into the match showing good decision-making and more importantly good aggression on both ends.  He started off as the deeper of the two DMs like his first year at Swansea, then moved at HT to a more of an even one like with Monk, and then pushed up for the final stretch.  His defensive work was still a bit suspect but he offset it a lot with some passes that created plenty of danger and some good dribbles of his own.  The work of the new CB, Mawson, looked pretty good for his experience in distributing the ball and that seemed to relieve Ki/Britton of some pressure in the buildup.  A frustrating draw for Swansea who looked good for large portions.  We will see after this experiment of so many changes what Bradley has planned going forward but Ki should at least be on the bench and could possibly start.