Looking to further cement their place at the top of the division on the back of a 2-1 win against Suwon Samsung Bluewings, Ulsan will be hoping that home advantage pays off again when Gangwon FC visit on Saturday. The away side actually come into this fixture in better form than their league-leading adversaries, though, with four wins out of their last five. K League United Columnist Nathan Sartain previews the match.
It’s been a relatively patchy period for Ulsan Hyundai as of late. Winning just two of their last five in the league, they’re beginning to open the table up for a Jeonbuk - or perhaps Pohang Steelers - title charge. With that being said, the home team can take comfort from the fact they were victorious in their last outing, and that their other victory in the month of July came against this weekend's opposition.
Gangwon, on the other hand, have been undergoing a major revival in form. Twelve points better off than they were on June 22nd, the Bears will have been disappointed to have the two-week break in between their 4-2 away triumph against Suwon FC, and this fixture. However, manager Choi Yong-soo will be weary that the only stain on his side's recent record came against Hong Myung-bo's men, who have already beaten Gangwon twice this campaign.
Other than the absence of Kim Tae-hwan, Ulsan have a relatively clean bill of health heading into Saturday's game. Kim Young-gwon could return after gastroenteritis kept him out of the Korean National team setup, while Hungarian forward Martin Ádám may also be afforded a chance to make his debut following his transfer from Paksi FC.
The away side are in a similar situation, with Choi Yong-soo blessed with a squad in good shape. Long-term absentee Dino Islamovic still misses out, but wing-back Kang Ji-hoon has a chance of making the squad, and Han Kook-young could be in line for his first start since May. Whether Ko Moo-yeol is deemed ready, however, is still up in the air. Jung Seung-Yong is one booking away from a one-match ban
Overall, Ulsan have a major advantage over Gangwon in head-to-head competition, coming out victorious in all but seven of their 31 clashes (the Bears, meanwhile, have won just twice). With the provincial club's last win in this fixture coming a decade ago, and the two meetings this campaign going in favour of this week's home side, it'd be quite an upset should Gangwon come away with all three points.
What to Watch
Can Um Won-sang be the thorn in Gangwon's side once more?
Netting twice and racking up two assists against Gangwon this season, Um Won-sang has been bothersome for the Bears. With the ability to change the game in an instant, the 23-year-old's showings against Choi Yong-soo's side this year should add plenty of confidence to the man who has already amassed a respectable 10 goals in 2022. Any repetition in form will again spell danger for Gangwon, so it's worth keeping an eye on the right-winger at all times.
Where to Watch
Fans in countries with K League overseas broadcasting rights can follow the game live on television. More information can be found here
Alternatively, the match is also available for FREE on tv.kleague.com
K League United Columnist