Gwangju FC have had a mixed start to life back in the top flight. After three points on the opening day away to Suwon Samsung Bluewings, they have since suffered back-to-back 2-0 defeats at the hands of FC Seoul and then Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. A quickly taken brace from Moon Seon-min lay to waste Gwangju's hopes of an upset, meaning that Jasir Asani's late winner in Round 1 remains the Yellows' only goal so far this campaign.
Incheon United, meanwhile, finally picked up their first win of the season having lost to FC Seoul and drew with Daejeon Hana Citizen in their opening two fixtures. Incheon overcame Jeju United by a goal to nil with former Islander Gerso Fernandes demonstrating his pace twenty minutes into the match to see off his former teammates and latch on to a through ball. Having only signed in the winter, Incheon will now be hoping Gerso's first goal will give him the confidence to push on this season.
Eom Ji-sung looks set to return after sitting out last week due to a double booking in Round 2 against FC Seoul. The youngster's return may see manager Lee Jung-hyo revert back to his preferred 3-4-3 formation after his flirtation with a 4-4-2 did not bear results last weekend.
Meanwhile, Incheon manager Jo Sung-hwan is likely to keep things unchanged after his side saw off Jeju United last weekend. Kim Dong-min continues to be suspended after receiving red in Round 2 against Daejeon Hana Citizen, with Kwon Han-jin likely continuing to deputise.
This weekend will mark the 27th meeting between the two sides across all competitions, with Gwangju leading by eight wins to Incheon's six. They last met in the league back in 2021, with Gwangju winning two of the four meetings between the pair, drawing their final encounter 1-1. They did also meet in the FA Cup last season, with a then second-tier Gwangju side coming out 6-1 winners in Incheon to progress to the fourth round.
What to Watch
Despite having only picked up four points so far, Incheon United have been one of the most attack-minded sides in the division, building upon the team that rose to fourth last season. Not only have they the joint highest number of goals with five this season, but they have also had the highest number of shots by far (53) with a solid 41% accuracy and 51 coming from open play. Furthermore, they have the highest expected goals this season with 8.13.
They have tended to favour a more direct style as well, playing both the most through passes and long passes in the top flight, likely trying to make use of the pace Gerso Fernandes provides in attack. They also have the second-highest number of crosses further underlining their willingness to create.
With these opportunities being created, Incheon's opponents Gwangju FC may well have cause for concern, given they have conceded the second-highest number of shots and also have the highest expected goals against but they have kept things respectable thanks to the heroics of their goalkeeper Kim Kyeong-min.
Gwangju have found themselves on the back foot at times and are missing the attacking talents of Reis who moved to Jeju United, and the creative talents of last season's top assister Lee Eu-ddeum who continues to be sidelined this year through injury. As a result, Gwangju have had just 27 shots this season, the fourth fewest, and also the fewest number of touches in the penalty area.
For a player so young, his lack of influence through suspension in the last game and a half is telling of how important he is to this Gwangju side. Having made his debut for the club two years ago in K League 1, a season of second-tier football has seen him hone his craft with regular minutes and forge himself into one of the division's most promising talents.
Last season, the 20-year-old Eom scored an impressive nine goals in 28 appearances, the second-highest in a league-winning side and the highest for any U22 player. It was also a tally that saw him not only feature in the Best XI for the division but lift the K League 2 Young Player of the Year Award as well.
Manager Lee Jung-hyo will be hoping Eom's return, and his ability to take the ball forward and create, will pose a significant threat to Incheon as he likely looks to sit back and expose the Champions League side on the counter.
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