Guus Hiddink returns to Korea?!

Korea’s last game in the final qualification round against Uzbekistan ended in a blank score and Korea had narrowly avoided being dropped out of the Russia World Cup. There was something about the ambience on the pitch; not many were thrilled to celebrate the nation’s ninth consecutive qualification. Players were “trying” to celebrate and knew they were still far from winning the fans’ trust and support. It has been said by Lee Dong-Guk, the most successful and experienced player in K-League called up to the national team for the final two games under coach Shin, that he himself had a hard time trying to bear the pressure from the critics. When everything seemed forlorn within the KNT society, Guus Hiddink, the legendary hero of 2002 WC, swept the media away the following day. And as a result, the year 2017 ended in a hectic, chaotic way in the KFA administration office. What happened in the Hiddink saga this past September?

Not even a day passed after securing a spot in the Russia WC. A spokesperson of Guus Hiddink Foundation announced: In June, after the dismissal of Uli Stielike, Hiddink made an offer to manage the Korean national team if citizens of Korea desired such a move. The offer made in June was revealed to the public three months later in September. With ongoing problems with the KNT, Hiddink seemed to be the answer to KNT’s current misery and to many frustrated fans. Surely, he could be the one to rescue Korean football, the fans thought.

Returning home from Uzbekistan, the KFA’s new technical director, Kim Ho-Gon, was bombarded with reporters asking to explain the truth behind Hiddink’s offer in June. Kim made it clear that such an offer was never made and stated that there wouldn’t be any activity on Guus Hiddink’s potential recruitment. Finally defending the current manager, Kim expressed his displeasure by complaining about how Hiddink was making such a statement in this point in time when KFA had already chosen Shin Tae Yong as the successor of Uli Stielike.

However, what seemed like a rumor was proved true. The GH Foundation held a press conference to clarify the interaction it had with the Technical Director. The foundation confirmed it had contacted Kim Ho-Gon about the head coach position after Stielike’s sack. This was corroborated by a text message that was sent to Kim. Hiddink respected KFA’s decision to stay with Shin Tae Yong and most importantly offered once again to help in any way possible.

After the press conference, the media focused on Kim Ho-Gon’s denial of the initial interaction. Demanding truth, fans pointed fingers at Kim for deliberately lying to the public and asked him to step down. By this, Kim admitted the interaction with Guus Hiddink and confessed he did not find the offer appropriate at that time.

When it seemed as if the situation could not get any worse in the office, KFA was hit with corruption charges exactly eight days after the Hiddink incident. Twelve officials and employees were indicted for misappropriating the organization’s funds. According to Seoul Police Agency, these officials had misused the fund in 220 occasions, spending more than $100,000 for their personal gains in flight tickets, golf outings, pubs, and hair salons.

What could have been a simple conversation dealt comfortably between KFA and Guus Hiddink turned into a mass media explosion that shook the entire Korean football industry. Kim has since left the organization for the chaos exposed to the media and fans have had enough of the misery caused within Korean football.

Endless corruption and poor management from KFA continues to negatively affect the national team, and as the 2018 WC draws near, there is no time for any more disruption. KFA needs to straighten its relationship with Guus Hiddink and put an end to more media leaks on Guus Hiddink. In addition to his offer to help, the Dutchman asserted in the press conference that something needs to be done to improve the current national team. In response to the offer, KFA needs to approach this in a professional matter by either clearly stating ‘no’ if it thinks he would deter Shin’s work in the team or ‘yes’ and create a position that best fits his contribution. This is the process KFA needs to make quickly and wisely. On top of these legal issues, it has been a busy end of year in the KFA office and we cannot allow any of the KFA corruption to slow down the national team’s rebuilding process.


When your best players are not your best players

“Korea, only nation in Asia, to become the sixth nation to advance to the World Cup for the 8th consecutive time”

The media is all about this record when no one, but few, dares to know. There’s really nothing valuable about this record when the team’s performance is hardly convincing.

NISI20160814_0012047959_web.jpgMore and more players picked for the national team are not playing for their respective club teams. Being called up for the national team means the squad has to prepare for the game in a short period of time. However when you have players who are short of game experience from lack of regular football, preparation is slowed down. Anyone who’s been a player will know how much not being able to play slows you down not only physically, but also mentally. The sad reality is that it’s also impossible to obtain this physical and mental aspect of the game through just hard training. A player NEEDS to get in the actual game. Coaches, speaking to the media, will confirm they will only pick players who are first-team members of their respective clubs, but they’re still partial to players who play in Europe – even if they’re struggling to break into the first team at their club. It tells you something about Korean football. The national team, for some reason, is forced to rely on these foreign-based players and has a small pool of players to pick from the domestic K-League. There’s a real dearth of quality players from Korean domestic football, which is the result of a poor coaching system and an ineffective league system, leading to less opportunity for all age groups and genders.

Joo-ho Park struggling at Dortmund

An answer to the question of why a player isn’t getting playing time is rather simple. He’s not good enough. What’s really hard to answer, though, is why Korean players, as a bigger mass, struggle with this issue. Coach Shin Tae Yong, who led the Olympic team to Rio, is very much concerned with this issue. He describes current Korean players as all around too robotic and that they are missing something special in their style of play. Because of this undistinguished style, coaches are rather forced to prefer the veterans. It’s time to correct this stereotyped idea that age is stopping young players from playing. They are only going to get their experience over the veterans when they are set apart from the norm. Marcus Rashford of Manchester United didn’t make his surprise Premier League debut against Arsenal last season because he was young. He was given the chance because he had the abilities which in turn made his potential that much great. That’s the world we live in, asking for striking expertise and competence.

Coach Shin Tae Yong at Rio Olympics

So the root of this problem is planted in Korea’s youth coaching system. How can coaches assist in developing a set of definite qualities into young players? Here, coach Shin stresses the importance of how coaches must learn how to help young players mature and sharpen their innate talents. There’s obviously a ton that goes into youth coaching, but coach Shin says, the primary focus should be on maturing their raw talents. Korean coaches are too focused, or rather, only focused on settling the fundamentals and executing tactics. That’s why Korean coaches prefer the veteran over the rookie. There’s not that much to compare besides the former having more experience. We need to criticize this ‘coach-centered’ coaching. And it just makes coaching that much harder. While perfecting the fundamentals and teaching them how to execute the team’s tactics, coaches are challenged to discover and implement creativeness to players’ natural talents. This is the direction of coaching Korea needs to take, differentiating players with their own unique abilities.

U-19 coach Ahn Ik-Soo

The U-19 coach, Ahn Ik-Soo, approaches the problem of players in late teens and early twenties not getting regular football at a different perspective. He points to the entire league system. No matter how talented you are at age 19 or 20, it’s true that you are more likely to spend more time watching the game than actually playing. But, let’s go back to Marcus Rashford’s example. Before Rashford broke into the first team, he didn’t just train with the first team. He had plenty of opportunities to keep playing for the reserves in the U-21 league, which we know already, is separate from the Championship, the second division. With this subdivided league system in Europe, young players are able to maintain and raise their real game experience and even work on closing down the gap between the regular starters. That’s exactly what Korean football is missing – a subdivided league system. The league system is shallow and does not account for the young players and even the women’s teams. Many players in early twenties are just entering the professional K-League, playing for their universities, or playing in the lower divisions of K-League. In each respective situation, young players simply don’t play because they are rookies. They don’t have an alternate solution for gaining game experience. Like European football, the KFA must develop better young players by reshaping the leagues under K-League and creating more opportunities for each age group and women’s teams to participate in.

Amazingly enough, the KFA has been working on a lofty goal of expanding Korean football league. The table below shows the current league system:

Division Level
K-League (Classic) Pro
K-League (Challenge) Pro
N-League (National) Semi-Pro
K3-League Amateur

KFA, partnered with Korean Olympic Committee, is mapping out a plan to subdivide the entire league system into seven different leagues.

Division Level
K1-League (Classic) Pro
K2-League (Challenge) Pro
K3-League (Advanced) Semi-Pro
K4-League (Basic) Semi-Pro
K5-League (National Best) Amateur
K6-League (18 District Leagues) Amateur
K7-League (142 Regional Leagues) Amateur

emblem_of_korea_football_association-svgStarting next year, K7-League’s 142 regional leagues consisting of 852 teams will begin their establishment. The government is supporting about $2.6 million, so each league will be allocated with about $18,000 to furnish necessary facilities and organize management for the league opening. Going with the new system, the KFA announced earlier this month that all divisions will now be introduced to the promotion and relegation battle just like the European league system. Now, any team from any league can move up and down in the system. Currently this system is only applied to two pro leagues – Classic and Challenge.

In all respects, this is exciting news to hear. The KFA is surely making a great first step in raising competition and widening the pool of players to pick for the national team by merging all the leagues and implementing the promotion/ relegation battle for both professionals and amateurs. This is also a great way to invite more amateurs to play, especially to those who couldn’t play up to the standard of pro or given up because of conditions of football environment in Korea. They can start enjoying football again and who knows, we might just see a Korean Jamie Vardy some day. It’s an open game to all.

It’s time for all of us to accept the current situation with Korean football and embrace the fact that Korean football has been poor in producing quality players which in return, worsened the competition in the national team. Coach Shin associates this poor line of production players with weak coaching system and asked for a shift from ‘coach-centered’ coaching to ‘player-centered’ coaching. On top of this problem, this overall problem of players lacking regular football is situated far more deeply than just the national team. Coaches of men’s U-23, men’s U-19, National Women’s team, women’s U-20 are all facing dilemmas with players lacking real game experience. The best players of Korea are coming to play for their country, but they are struggling to play regularly for their club teams. There’s more than just substandard coaching, Korea doesn’t acquire a robust environment for both genders of young players to simply play at their level. However, we’ve seen reports made by the KFA that changes ARE happening. Leagues are merging. Even though there’s still long ways to go to provide more opportunities for young players and even the women’s teams, these long-term changes on youth coaching and overall football environment should have gradual effects on Korean football in all levels and one day bring better performance from the national team.

Thoughts from my Zanzibar Trip


The trip was more than just exploring the island’s beauty and its unique culture as a Tanzanian archipelago. In fact, I flew over to intentionally interact with the people of Zanzibar, more specifically, the lovers of the beautiful game.

This trip was my second time in Zanzibar. My first trip was an ordinary family trip in which I did not have any specific expectations. The island, however, left me with an extraordinary impression in my mind’s eye of so many people in love with football. It was then that I knew I needed to come again with a different purpose.

Three and a half years later, I was given an opportunity to coach five middle schools and a women’s team. It was a great opportunity for me to go again, interact with the Zanzibaris, and share the passion for the game.

The reality of coaching was way beyond my expectations and I was challenged each day with a series of hurdles: the field condition, weather conditions, not enough balls, too many players, and worst of all, COMMUNICATION. It was tough for both players and me with my poor Swahili. The translator was not as helpful and I was very limited in what I wanted to say so it was discouraging not being able to give more helpful advice and share how football impacted my life. It was not easy trying to adjust and improvise my way out of the day, everyday.

Football is very popular in Zanzibar. The island upholds an unique football culture of its own. Any flat landscape is a field to any age group or gender. You will not go a day without seeing people playing football. Football jerseys of nearly any club in Europe are found in almost any store you run into. During the weekends in local pubs, you will witness the supporters take part in rituals before, during and after a match to support their favorite teams. All these things prove that football occupies an unique culture in the island. Amidst the issues of poverty, diseases, corruption, warfare, and misgovernment, football seems to provide a way of life and hope not just in Zanzibar, but all over Africa. Perhaps, this is why football is called the beautiful game and challenged me to continue to question the concept of football ministry. How can these people learn about the gospel through this beloved sport?



I recently read a short booklet previewing a forthcoming book “On Becoming Generative: An Introduction to Culture Care”. Fujimura, a contemporary artist,  introduces an interesting theory of Culture Care. He writes,

“Culture Care restores beauty as a seed of invigoration into the ecosystem of culture. Such soul care is generative: a well-nurtured culture becomes an environment in which people and creativity thrive.”

The word ‘generative’ refers to something that is bearing fruit or originating new life. As Fujimura would say, when we are generative, we draw on creativity to bring into being something fresh and life-giving. To me, ‘Culture Care’ sounds more like the gospel, the stewardship of His creation, or the journey to His Kingdom — it’s a generative approach to culture that brings resourcefulness, patience, and creativity into a culture bereft of His fruits. During my stay in Zanzibar, I saw a new vision to gather a community of people committed to generative living that identifies and models the conditions that best contribute to a good life and a thriving culture. Specifically, I saw a need for developing coaches in East Africa through my experiences in Zanzibar and as the African countries represented in the World Cup are more from the West and Northern African regions. I ask the Lord for His guidance, but it would be my dream to establish an organization focused in forming quality African coaches in East Africa. Hopefully, the outcome will see the nations develop a healthy football culture and ultimately lead to World Cup qualification.

Just as we are increasingly finding ways to take care of our environment for future generations, I hope we take importance notice in caring our culture as well so future generations can thrive. Culture and gospel go hand in hand in ministry.



It has been way too long since I wrote my last blog post on the ‘Transfer Market Mystery series.’ So… There’s a lot to share! Here’s a quick summary of what has been on my mind this semester.


First, I would like to share briefly on Calvin Men’s soccer. It was 2011 last time Calvin was in the Final Four, eventually lost in the final. This is a huge moment for the team, players, coaches, and for the program.

“It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.” Henry Ford

It’s no miracle that they are in the Final Four. After crashing out in the second round against Ohio Wesleyan last year, the team was already on sight for next season. The amount of dedication the team put in to be where they are now is unbelievable. Through competition, there was teamwork. In free time, there was discipline.

I have several topics in mind to dive deeper into and I hope to unpack some of these big topics after I finish up school in next two weeks! 

  • Football league system in Korea and England

What’s the common denominator from the following players?

Jaime Vardy of Leicester, Chris Smalling of Manchester United, Charlie Austic of QPR, Gary Hooper of Norwich, and Rickie Lambert of West Brom

They are just a few of many players who came from non-league to the Premier League. There are more than 7000 teams of nearly 5300 clubs in the English men’s football league system (Wikipedia). The vast structure of the league really teaches the importance of developing amateur football leagues to intensify and improve the football culture. My plan is to compare and contrast with the football league system in Korea and stress the need for development in amateur football.

  • Abusive coaches

I always have a negative view of coaches in Korea for their abusive attitudes towards the players. Considering the Asian culture of respecting the senior coaches/players, I thought the negative behaviors from the older coaches/players were inevitable. My perspective changed after watching several documentaries on English football and reading up on the history of abusive coaches in the U.S. First, abusive coaches are everywhere. Second, there is a difference in abusive coaches and demanding coaches.

  • Tainting the beautiful game: Match fixing (Ethics in Sports)

While taking a class in business ethics, I have been challenged to apply some of the big concepts into the football world. FIFA scandal is still making headlines and mach fixing is whole another issue. Unethical behaviors from the football leaders/organizations should not be tolerated. Hope to touch on some of the big issues in the game.

Lastly, a couple of thoughts on the EPL and the Korea national team.

As an EPL fan, this season has been far the worst. The quality of the games are well under par. Inconsistent run of results from the top-tier teams have been frustrating as well. Nick Miller of ESPN thinks this brings more excitement to the league.

I’m really excited to see how Korean national team will progress through the qualifications. The team is cruising in current round 2 qualification for 2018 WC and Uli Stielike is working on picking the best of best players to represent Korea. At this moment, the forward position is worth eyeing on.

More to come from me next this month!


See you again Greg!

Today my friend, Greg Kim, leaves to Korea. Inspiring and influencing me in many many areas of my life including football, I dedicate this post to him writing how he’s encouraged me to broaden my skills, knowledge, and vision in football.


Greg and I are obsessive football fans who spend our free afternoons naming potential Arsenal and Man United transfer targets as if we are the head of the respective clubs.

Taking over the minds of LVG and Wenger, we hold our own press conference, listing and analyzing key points to every United and Arsenal game during pre-match, half-time, and post-match. We are constantly sharing our opinions to the game.

Sometimes, raising our voices, we dispute over a pass some player makes for hours even ignoring Eunsung (E is silent) yelling across the apartment to shut up. Every negative comment to each other’s favorite team kickoffs a game of football war.

Besides the rivalry, he shares and tips on my game as well before I head off to football training/game. Always asking me what I’m going to focus on that day, he’s helped me be intentional about my growth as a player.

To many, Greg is known for his intelligence in school who enjoys reading books on variety of topics. Having him as one of my housemates really inspired me to challenge higher for my academics as well.

Feeling doubtful of this blog because of my lack of writing skills and audience, I didn’t see the point of blogging until he showed his support to read (or, proof read) all my posts. Now, I thoroughly enjoy learning to write better (which is to read).

I hope he doesn’t find my words overly flattering as they hold true and honest to me.

Thanks Greg for your friendship! I wish you ALL THE BEST on your next journey.

Can Football Learn from Rugby?

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Earlier last week, I played a game in a small summer league with the Calvin team and witnessed a truly discomforting treatment of the referees by the opponent team. Usually teams/players misbehave this way if the ref made some outrageously bad calls or the ref simply didn’t do his job of keeping the game fair. There was none of that.  Considering he probably didn’t have any training and just wanted to have fun, he did a fine job. He was never going to call everything right. There’s nothing more you can ask for in a rec league. Now that I think about it, I’m just thankful he actually knows enough about the game that he doesn’t ruin our experience playing in the league.

images (4) images (3)

This whole incident reminded me of how even sometimes professional players can react ‘over the line’ toward the referees. Although presenting your opinion to the ref and expressing your emotion about a certain call is very much part of the game in modern football, players surrounding the ref to influence a decision has become a culture that is now hard to break down.

Contemplating on how to write about this issue, my friend suggested looking into referees in rugby. Growing up watching rugby back when I was in Kenya, I wasn’t surprised to find out how rugby officials can command so much respect from the players. How does rugby do it?

In a BBC interview with Ed Morrison, head of elite referee development for the Rugby Football Union, Morrison claims that referee respect in rugby is largely due to the tradition that has been brought down and upheld by the referees from the past and present. Quite unfortunately, football wasn’t blessed with this tradition.

Although rugby includes video technology and uses ‘sin bins’ to discipline foul play, Rugby union seems to have respect for the referee built into its DNA.

Wayne Barnes, Rugby Union’s top referee, says football at the moment don’t have that opportunity to share and discuss the ref’s performance after a match.

“Players and referees leave in different ways, so they don’t grow those relationships but maybe that’s something that can improve over time.”

In Rugby, “we have that relationship and get the opportunity to work with the players so they understand us as a human being, not just as a referee.”

This problem with disrespectful behavior is not only shown to referees, but it’s also expressed to players, fans, and coaches. After all, this is a game problem. If you are following the Copa America, we’ve already seen few incidents on players reacting to fouls and referees not protecting the players.  

Ed Morrison would say, “It’s not an isolated referee or coaching problem. The game as a whole has to face up to that responsibility.”

Whether we play in the EPL or in a small rec league, it’s important to know that a successful competition requires both players and refs to understand and appreciate one another’s hard work.

Time for Change – FIFA


Building football fields for kids in Africa to organizing the World Cup, FIFA stands on top as a football governing body. However, the recent unveil of corruption has tainted the image of FIFA and the sport. Currently, the ongoing investigation reveals corruption that is systemic and deep-rooted, dating two decades.

I’m writing this blog post to express anger because what FIFA has done over the years will now in some way impact the game we love. The leaders were put to their respective positions to be responsible to the world’s biggest game. Yet, they abused their power of trust to gain personal gains. The motto, “For the Game, For the World”, was nothing but mere words to them. Corrupting the game, FIFA is now put to public shame and must face all consequences.

FIFA at its weakest, this is the time we need to see new set of leaders and management in FIFA. The organization who “cares” to improve the beautiful game and impact the lives of every football fanatics in the world must have rightful leaders. With so much beauty surrounding the game, the governing organization is way too disgraceful.

Quite amazingly, Sepp Blatter still remains on top of FIFA despite innumerable controversies and constant corruption alerts. Refusing to take responsibility of the recent outbreak, he also claims he can’t monitor small things. As cliche as it may sound, he’s a very poor leader who’s blinded by power, fame, and money.

Rebuilding is not easy, but it simply cannot be done with Blatter in place. I want to end with a quote from David Gill whom I respect for his corporate management. “FIFA, being on the top of pyramid, should be a strong organization that leads development of football women, men, youth, and every different forms of football.”

Blatter is reelected as the FIFA President. There must be a revolution.

나의 철학

ScreenShot[1412907210][931905] IMG_1923449459341

나에게는 꿈이 있다. 커서 내가 좋아하고 제일 잘하는것을 하고싶다. 커서 내가 즐기지못하는일을하게된다면 난 시간을 헛되게 보낸것이고 더 열심히 살지못한것이다.

축구는 나에게 아주 큰 일부이다. 그런데 난 축구를 못한다. 작은 캘빈대학교에서 출전도 많이못하고 훈련에서도 내가 얼머나 부족한지 매일매일느낀다. 그래서 늘 후회한다. 어렸을떼 더 정식적으로 배웠다면… 개인훈련을 더 계획적으로 했다면…

대학교에 와서 난 인생을 어떻게 살아야되는것을 배웠다. 뒤에서 헌신하고 노력하는 부모님을 떠나고 미국에 오면서 난 인생 똑바로 살아야겠다는걸 느꼈다.  그래서  인생 열심히 살아서 부모님 호강해드리고 싶은생각밖에 없었다.

사람들은 말한다. ‘너가 하고싶은일을하라고…’ 참 위험한말이다. 뛰어난 실력, 재능이 없는 나한테 이런말은 아무 의미가없다.

내가 그렇게 좋아하는 축구를 버려두고 왜 회계학을 공부하고있는지 글로 표현하고싶다. 내가 커서 하고싶은일을 할려면 난 지금 해야하는일을 해야한다. 만일 지금 내가 하고싶은일을 하면 난 멀리 못간다. 멀리못가면 난 커서 즐기지 못하는 해야하는일을 해야한다. 회계로 난 많은 지식을 얻고있다. 세상이 어떻게 돌아가고 있는지 배우고있다. 공부잘하는 애들과 경쟁하면서 더욱더 책을 읽고싶고 그들과 나란히 서고싶다. 인턴쉽을 열심히 찾은이유도 경험을 통해 더 배운자로 성장하고싶은것이었다. 내가 만일 이렇게 공부를 안하고 축구, 축구, 축구만 했다면 미래는 더 캄캄하기만했을것이다.

오늘 나의 롤모델인 전 이영표선수가 나에게 응원을해주었다. 축구도하고 공부도 하고 책도읽어서 힘든자들에게 이렇게 말했다. “힘들죠. 근데 그힘든게 그시대에는 되게 좋은거예요. 안힘들면 이상한거예요… 아주 바람직하고 아주 잘하고있는거예요. 누군가가 ‘난 축구밖에 안해’ 라고 말하면 그건 뭔가 잘못된거예요.”

최근에 난 내가 많이 부족하다는걸 뼈저리게느낀다. 축구뿐만아니라 공부해서도… 말도 조리있게 못하고… 현실적으로 보는 난 너무나 약하다. 나의 부족한(?) 노력과 땀이 헛되게 보이고 의미가없어보였다. 도대체 왜 열심히 했는지 나 자신한테 물어보는 시간을 가진것같다. 자꾸 지금을 보기때문에 현실적이고 부정적이였다. 난 항상 잘한다는 평가를 받는것에 의미를 두고살은것같다. 이기는것이 목적이 되어있어서 남들이 더 잘되면 분하고 나한테는 안되는게 받아드리가 어려웠다. 내가 얼마나 성장했는지 그리고 노력을 통해 발전하고있는것을 보았다면 더 긍정적인 삶을 살수있다는걸 느낀다.

승리만을 원하고 이기는것만 원하는 사회는 최선을 다하는것보다 잘하는것을 더 원하고 끝까지 하는것보다 이기는것을 바란다. 나쁜게아니다. 난 그래도 항상 최선을 다하고끝까지 할꺼다. 그이유는 최선을 다하고 끝까지 하는것이 잘하고 이기는 유일한 방법이기때문이다. 최선을 다하고 끝까지 하자!

그리고 나를위해 헌신해주시고 노력해주신 부모님을 늘 기억할것이다.

그리고 난 이 모든과정에서 하나님의 자녀라는것을 절대로 잊으면안된다.

늘 그래왔듯이 난 또 목표를 새운다. 계획을 짠다. 그리고 난 꼭 행할것이다. 말했듯이 난 내가 하고싶은일을 하기위해서 지금 해야하는일을 할것이다. 내가 조심해야하는건… 과대평가 그리고 과소평가. 현재실력을 인정할것이고 어떻게 발전해 나갈 것인가에 집중할거다. 그러면 나에게도 “꿈이이루어진다” 라는 슬로건이 오길 믿는다.

Chelsea VS. Manchester United

With all the excitement and huge anticipation for a good game, the turnout was rather little disappointing. Classic Mourinho defense tactics made the game really dull and long.

I chose not to believe LVG when he announced all Carrick, Blind, Jones, and Rojo were out injured.

McNair and Shaw stepped in well and excelled in their roles. I hope and believe they have a big future at United.

To solve Carrick’s problem, Herrera and Rooney moved one floor down in the system. Herrera, skilled and composed with the ball, was to fill in Carrick’s defensive midfield role. Rooney played little deeper and played as an attacking midfielder with Fellaini. With high hopes of scoring against Chelsea like he did with Athletico Madrid, Falcao was given a start for United.

The biggest match up was FELLAINI vs. ZOUMA. Mourinho, being defensive minded, knew he had to sacrifice the attack to first stop Fellaini. Zouma did very well not giving Fellaini his space. Young had a quiet day as well because he couldn’t found the space that Fellaini creates by drawing defenders. As a result, the United attacking patterns we saw against Liverpool and City was not in display.

United kept the ball but struggled to get near Chelsea’s goal. Chelsea defenders staying well-disciplined in their positions and staying compact was very difficult for United to beat.

It was CHELSEA that controlled the game. See my blog post on “Who’s controlling the game?”

High possession against Chelsea is good, but it’s not great if you can’t create any chances. Chelsea was the team that kept discipline and stayed to Mourinho’s tactics. For United, there were positive signs, but they got to be more creative in attack. I really would like to see Di Maria find form and start conducting United in attack.



Losing four consecutive Derby match to City is heartbreaking to all United fans. But, with City’s struggling form and United’s five impressive consecutive wins in the League, many United fans anticipated a win. It’s simply not acceptable to let City be the first team to get the fifth consecutive win against United.

City started very well this game. Right away, they pushed the ball into United’s territory. With high pressure, they took control. Pellegrini’s tactic was also interesting, putting James Milner man-marking Michael Carrick. This move was problematic first 20 minutes for United. United was unable to keep the ball around and move upward into City’s goal. Unable to pass to Carrick, United looked shaky in both defense and offense.

This all led to long-balls to Fellaini, which turned out very successful. Fellani won the headers and kept United in the City’s territory. Yaya Toure, struggling against Fellaini, forced Kompany to get sucked all the way up to midfield. This kept United ahead in the game. Young started running at Zabaleta. Mata-Herrera-Valencia made things very difficult for Clichy as well.

Putting Nasri for Milner wasn’t very successful for City. Carrick simply got more into the game. United began playing the passing game. City had the idea, but Toure’s inability to stop Fellani was the problem that all started City’s misery. City must find solution for Toure before they find themselves out of top four.

After all, it seems like United found the right system; 4-1-4-1 or 4-3-3. United still needs to find a solution for back four. There are speculations of Matts Hummels and Thiago Silva. One of them will surely strengthen the squad.