Preview: Gangwon FC vs FC Seoul

After eight games without a win, Gangwon FC will be seeking more than just performance improvements when they host FC Seoul. The visitors, however, will be coming into Wednesday's fixture buoyed by a massive Super Match victory.

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It's now eight games without victory for Gangwon (4 draws, 4 losses), who so far have very little to show for a mixed bag of performances. Sunday's 0-0 stalemate away to Gwangju had its fair share of positives, especially defensively, but without a clinical edge - the Bears are now almost 300 minutes without a goal - that all important first win of the season still appears somewhat out of reach.

On the other hand, FC Seoul come into proceedings in fine form, having won three out of their last five. At 2nd place in the table, the capital city side are already making major strides compared to last year, and are beginning to look like firm contenders for AFC Champions League qualification. A comfortable 3-1 home victory in the first Super Match of the campaign is bound to increase confidence too, meaning An Ik-soo's men will be well equipped for this midweek challenge.

Team News

It's the same story as usual for the Bears, who are only expected to be without Lee Jeong-hyeop and Kevin Jansson on Wednesday. Interesting too, though, will be what role Galego plays in midweek, given he spent the weekend playing for Gangwon's B team, rather than assuming his regular role as an impact substitute.

For FC Seoul, they have a decent pool of players to choose from. Kwon Wan-kyu is back available following his suspension, while Ki Sung-yueng and Willyan made their returns last time out. With that being said, it's still highly unlikely Ji Dong-won and Go Yo-han will play any part.


Generally, this is a fixture which favours FC Seoul. They've won 15 of the 33 meetings, compared to Gangwon's total of nine, though An Ik-soo's side have only managed one victory (a 4-1 thrashing) in their last seven visits to the Bears' home patch. In the last clash between the two teams, FC Seoul came out slender 1-0 winners in a low quality game, one that Gangwon in particular cannot afford to contribute towards a repeat of should they wish to claim a vital three points.

What to Watch

Is now the time for Gangwon's first win?

Eventually, something has to give when it comes to Gangwon’s winless run. They can’t go without victory forever, and although finishing has been the team’s weakest aspect so far this year, statistically speaking there’s no way the players being trusted to provide the necessary goals will carry on firing blanks without any sort of turnaround in fortune, whether minor or major.

So, with the Gwangju game giving Gangwon a solid base to build off, will their first win of the season come against the team Choi Yong-soo used to manage?

Can FC Seoul continue their upwards trajectory?

It’s fair to say FC Seoul have started 2023 in a big way. Nine points better off than they were at this stage last season, An Ik-soo has managed to largely find the right balance in his side, and led his men to some impressive victories.

Of course, losses to Ulsan and Daejeon may still show that Seoul aren’t quite ready to mount any major push for league silverware, but there’s no reason they can’t find their way into the Champions League should recent performances continue. With that in mind, the high-on-confidence capital city club will expect to continue their fine form in midweek. 

Who to Watch

Seo Min-woo

It’s not been the easiest of seasons for Gangwon’s vice-captain, Seo Min-woo. Because he’s started every game, the 25-year-old central midfielder has been left with a high level of responsibility, but has generally managed to stand out as impressive even when his peers haven’t. Always willing to get stuck in, Seo Min-woo’s consistency will be key going forward should Gangwon want to rise up the table at the earliest possible opportunity.

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