Busan v Gwangju | Saturday 18th July 2020, 10:00
The first of what will be three plays in the South Korean K League 1 this weekend comes when in-form Busan entertains Gwangju in what will be an empty Busan Gudeok Stadium. Both would also have midweek Korean Cup ties in the build-up to this one, but all focus is really on league matters for these two respective clubs.
Busan certainly took some time settling into life in the big league after promotion last season. They failed to win any of their opening seven matches, although it did include four draws and they were ever really disgraced in any of the losses. They’ve found their stride now however on a count of winning back-to-back league matches, and three of their last four.
Gwangju are quite the opposite in the sense that they’ve had a decent run of results when winning three in succession last month. However, they’ve lost four league encounters running and count four in each of the previous two. In the first two they would fail to score, so it is fair to say they’ve got a few issues at present.
Obviously we have a global pandemic to factor into proceedings, but Busan have only lost one home match since last October. To make it a bit more accurate, they’ve lost only once in 11 at home, although they have loved a draw as six of them ended that score! However, they’ve won the last two in league and cup without conceding. It is a tough place to go.
Busan generally have issues against the better sides in the league, whilst picking up the majority of their points against those below, certainly based on early season form. All wins came to clubs below them in the standings, which is where Gwangju are situated at present.
Gwangju were promoted alongside Busan last season, but something they’ve done quite consistently is struggle away from home. Even during their promotion campaign, which saw them win the league with Busan in second, they failed to win 50% of their away contests. In KL1, they’ve lost four of five away games, and the one win was a bit of a smash and grab when scoring in the 92nd minute to beat a very inconsistent Suwon Bluewings.
If you shop around, you can get an odds-against price of 11/10 (BetVictor) on a Busan win, and I think that is a good play considering they’re the form team going into this contest.
Seoul v Pohang | Saturday 18th July 2020, 12:00
The second K League 1 clash of the day we’ll be covering comes in the form of Seoul v Pohang, and even though this is a 12 team league and we’re only 11 games in, ten points already separates these two. Seoul sit in tenth and continue to struggle to score goals, but Pohang are riding high in 4th, which was the position they occupied at the end of the last regulation season.
Seoul were a team we backed against quite early on in the campaign despite them being odds-on to win and that proved a wise move. They’re ultimately a team which you cannot trust given how inconsistent they are.
On the flip side, they can quite easily spring a surprise against the odds, which does make them quite dangerous whenever punting on a match involving them. However, the reality is they’ve got some issues and their only win in eight was a 1-0 home win over rock-bottom Incheon.
Pohang are actually a team that appears much, much more comfortable on their travels. Only current top team Ulsan Hyundai have earned more points on their travels, and they’re yet to taste defeat. It is four league away triumphs in succession, and in three of those they managed to score 4+ goals.
Interestingly, their highest amount of possession within those four was 50%, so this clearly suggests a counter attacking style of play which is proving more than effective.
Something has to give on that front in this game though as 51% is the highest amount of possession Seoul has kept in a home match. This will therefore present a bit of a unique challenge for Pohang if they want to play more on the break, but we just can’t ignore the fact how strong they are on the road. 15 of their 22 goals scored were in away fixtures, and Seoul’s only wins came to clubs currently in the bottom five.
I mentioned that Pohang has scored four in quite a few away matches recently, that includes in both games against the bottom two, and Seoul are currently sitting third from bottom. Therefore, that reduces the doubts I have on Pohang maybe struggling to play more on the break, as they would have had those type of issues in those matches.
It therefore comes as no surprise to see us tip up Pohang to win, and a price of 6/5 (Gentingbet) looks all the more generous all things considered.
Busan v Gwangju – Busan (11/10 BetVictor)
Seoul v Pohang – Pohang (6/5 Gentingbet)