In the 2023 professional football K League 1, the collapse of the Yanggang composition draws attention.
The initial flow of ‘Hyundai Song’ was too wide. Unlike last year’s championship team, Ulsan Hyundai, which is thrilled with 6 consecutive wins, Jeonbuk Hyundai (2 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses) is having a hard time even as a mid-ranking shooter.
Although it is still early in the season, the difference between the two teams has widened to 11 points.
This difference was also confirmed in the scenery of the home stadium last weekend. Ulsan enjoyed a 2-1 victory over Suwon Samsung with their unique ‘Aheung Ceremony’ against the backdrop of fans filling the stands. Compared to Jeonbuk’s 2-0 win over Incheon United, which ended their losing streak, the fans who refused to support couldn’t help laughing. Even Jeonbuk coach Kim Sang-shik is criticized for putting down the baton every time he plays.
In this situation, it is interesting that Ulsan is still on the alert. An official from Ulsan said, “It is true that the opening six consecutive wins is a club record,” but “everyone, from the coach to the players, is determined that Jeonbuk’s pursuit will begin soon.”
When comparing the results of rounds 1-6 last year, the fact that the difference between the two clubs was the same as this year was 11 points. At that time, Jeonbuk ran with 6 wins and 3 draws from the 6th round, competing for the championship with a 3-point gap at the end.
However, if you look at the trends of Ulsan and Jeonbuk over the past two years, it is evaluated that there are significant changes this year.
First of all, the existence of the solver has changed. Ulsan, the ‘defending champion’, added Ju Min-gyu (three goals), the best goal scorer in the K-League 1. Last year, Ulsan, which used the ‘zero top’ because there was no suitable striker at this time, has now replaced Martin Adam, the Hungarian national team member who contributed to last year’s championship, to the bench. In addition, Rubiksson, a side striker from Sweden, has scored 4 goals, and Um Won-sang (2 goals) is doing his part.
Conversely, Jeonbuk’s Moon Seon-min (2 goals), who was considered out of power, has the most goals in the team. This is because Cho Kyu-seong (1 goal) and Gustavo, whom he trusted, could not escape from sluggishness. Jeonbuk compared to last year in terms of shooting (65 in 2022, 69 in 2023) and dribbling (13 in 2022, 19 in 2023), cross success rate (16.2% in 2022, 17.75% in 2023), which are the main indicators of this year’s offense compared to last year. I got a little better, but the results that came out are even more painful.
The shock of the generational change, which is not revealed in numbers, is believed to be the cause. Jeonbuk achieved an unprecedented 5 consecutive victories in the K-League 1 through the power of harmony between the old and the new, but this year is experiencing a storm after the departure of veterans such as Kim Bo-kyung (Suwon), Lee Seung-gi (Busan), and Lee Yong (Suwon FC).
Of course, it is the same that Ulsan also started to change generations by appointing young people such as Jung Seung-hyun, Park Yong-woo, Lee Myeong-jae, and Lee Gyu-seong as captains. However, Ulsan reduced the confusion to a minimum as players in their 30s such as Lee Cheong-yong, Kim Young-kwon, Kim Tae-hwan, and Cho Hyun-woo took center stage. The proof is that Ulsan boasts the least number of goals (4) in the K-League 1 this year. 안전놀이터
Joys and sorrows are also divided in the management of the team, which is important in long-term races. Ulsan actively adjusted the playing time from the beginning of the season when players were easily injured. Except for Adam, who was injured at the Suwon Power Plant, it is difficult to find power loss.
Jeonbuk, which originally showed its strength in this area, turned on a red flag. Lee Dong-jun and Amano Jun were injured from the beginning of the opening season, but returned after a month, and Kim Jin-soo and Baek Seung-ho left from the A-match in March.