Busan v Ulsan Hyundai | Sunday 2nd August 2020, 11:00
Busan and Ulsan Hyundai will form the first part of a double 11am on Sunday morning recommendation as we once again make the trip to the South Korea K League 1. It is a league I’ve had some good success on in recent times and I am certainly hopeful of continuing that run here. A big reason for that is because of the involvement of Ulsan Hyundai who top the table by three points after 13 games.
Both clubs were involved in midweek cup action, but coaches regularly rotate in that competition so I’m not worried in terms of team selections etc. Focusing on league form, Busan had been in good shape of late but did come crashing back down to earth when losing 3-0 to Daegu last weekend, which ended their six-match unbeaten run in KL1. They didn’t face any of the powerhouses of the league in that run, so Sunday presents a sterner test.
Ulsan Hyundai are going great guns as they’ve only lost once in the league since the resumption of football in this part of the world in early May. This is a team that is desperate to win back the number one prize in KL1 one having gone 14 seasons since last winning the league. 2005 was a long time ago, but finishing as runners-up last season hinted a return to the good times may be around the corner.
Ulsan are a team I follow quite closely and they really are just one of those teams that are relentless in how they play. It is no surprise to see them doing so well, and they seem to have learned their lesson in terms of showcasing more consistency, which ultimately cost them the title last season. Normally a trip to Busan is quite a banana skin, but they travel full of confidence knowing if they play their game then they can return with three points.
Busan have actually only won three league games this season, and it is through a number of draws why they are as high as sixth in the standings. This tough to beat mentality against the bigger clubs to me is unlikely to work against a club like Ulsan as they’re ultimately so used to facing this type of test, and they’ve proved more than successful at passing those assignments. I expect an away victory this weekend.
To boost the betting price, we’ll look towards a bet builder to increase our value and the corner market is one which catches me eye. Both Busan and Ulsan are joint-top in a three-way tie in the league in relation to average amount of corners in their matches. 10.2 corners per game is a lot considering the league average is 9.1, and we have to find an angle to utilise this.
Therefore, the recommended play is Ulsan Hyundai Win and Over 7.5 Corners, which is priced at 5/4 (Unibet). This has paid out in the last six Busan league fixtures, and actually finished well over that number every time. The previous three Ulsan KL1 matches have ended in double figure in terms of corners, so we expect the corner theme to continue. We could probably go higher than 7.5, but have played it a little safe.
Shanghai SIPG v Hebei | Sunday 2nd August 2020, 11:00
The Chinese Super League is so often a favourite in this weekly article and now football in China is back up and running it would be rude not to take a look at one of the games this weekend. Sunday we see Shanghai SIPG in action at home to Hebei, and we’re into the second round of matches of the new season.
Those of you not so familiar with the CSL will probably need a little more of a picture of these two clubs and their general standing in the league. SIPG are certainly one of the big spenders in the division and have the likes of Hulk, Oscar and Marko Arnautovic on their roster. For the last five seasons they’ve finished in the top three, including a title win in 2018.
Hebei did finish fourth in 2017 but are generally a mid-table team that is struggling to break into that top bracket of clubs at this level. Chris Coleman and Manuel Pellegrini both managed them in recent times but they now no longer have any ‘star’ names on the books but did have Ezequiel Lavezzi, Gervinho and Javier Mascherano before.
Now, back to this weekend. SIPG started the season a little sluggishly when falling behind to Tianjin Teda after six minutes, but that certainly sparked them into life. Despite this, they still went into half time with a lead and would eventually go on to secure a 3-1 away victory; a game where they had 70% possession and 24 shots on goal. Ricardo Lopes particularly impressed on his debut when netting a brace, he’s a player I’ve followed for a while after he impressed in K League 1 with Jeonbuk Motors.
It was a bit of a rollercoaster opening day for Hebei and on the face of it a 2-2 home draw with newly-promoted Shijiazhuang may not seem all that much.
However, this was a match where they had ten men since the 26th minute, with the game 0-0 at the time, so to score twice and earn a draw with a man less shows there is some character in this team. They may just relish the chance to test themselves against SIPG, although they’ve never beaten them in eight head-to-head meetings, losing six.
Sunday’s home team are understandable short odds to win this match, and with good reason. They will dominate the ball and create a plethora of chances, and Hebei are going to need the perfect performance to get anything. It could be argued that the second week of the season may be a good time to catch SIPG out, but we saw last weekend what can happen when they get tested.
Shanghai SIPG to win and Ricardo Lopes Anytime Scorer will be the recommended play at 11/10 (Bet365) on the bet builder. The bookies have the likes of Hulk and Arnautovic are favourites in the scoring markets. Arnautovic started the last match on the bench, so he isn’t going to be starting this one as Lopes is preferred, and rightly so having scored twice on his debut.
Much of the focus will be on Hulk, and that will suit Lopes just nicely as he has shown over the years in KL1 how much of a threat he is. He loves a shot as well, so don’t expect him to pass too much in the final third!