Ulsan Hyundai won the K League 1 2022 championship by three points. This was their first league title in 17 years after finishing as runners-up in three consecutive seasons. Now the team is looking for back-to-back titles and has started their campaign on a positive note. Ulsan Hyundai are the only team in the K League 1 2023 season to have kept a 100% record in the opening four matches. This start is a positive step towards success. As the team looks to defend its title, we look at some of the stats from the current season that show why Ulsan Hyundai will once again be the favourites to lift the trophy at the end of the season.
Domination in the attack
Ulsan Hyundai started the campaign with a 2-1 win. This was followed by a narrow 1-0 victory and a 2-1 victory in the third match. Their last match ended in a 3-0 win. Overall, the team has scored eight goals and averages 1.63 xG per match. Ulsan have been a creative force in the attack, especially from the right side. The team averages 34 positional attacks and two counterattacks per match. In the last match, they created 49 positional attacks, as can be seen in the first positional attack map above. Overall, the team attempts 10.75 shots, and the accuracy rate has been 41.9%. All goals have been scored from a similar position inside the penalty box.
The two visuals above show the ball progression zones and progressive passes zones of the team. It can be observed that Ulsan Hyundai players have progressed from both flanks but have produced more threats from the right side. Most of the progressive passes and runs from the left side have ended in the final third or just on the edge of the penalty box. Whereas, on the opposite end the players have made more penetrating runs. This shows that the team has a strong hold on the right side.
The defending champions have kept two clean sheets in four games. Ulsan Hyundai have conceded a goal each in other games. Their defence has been tight and has won 56.7% of their defensive duels and 50.6% of their aerial duels. The players make 43.5 interceptions per match. By looking at the above viz we can observe that the players haven’t given away any silly fouls in the defensive third.
Ulsan Hyundai players have the ability to make a few crucial high regains and that has been a big positive. They average 98 recoveries per match this season and 18 of them have been made in the final third of the opposition. These include 17 dangerous and 78 counter-pressing recoveries.
Impactful new signings
Min-Kyu Ju joined Ulsan Hyundai for his second spell at the club. The centre-forward has been a good signing for the club. He has netted two goals in four league appearances and also has an assist to his name. The striker has taken eight shots to net these two goals.
Gustav Ludwigson also made a move to Japan from Sweden. He also has two goals and one assist to his name. The forward features as a left-winger and left-attacking midfielder for his side. Ludwig has a high accuracy rate and will look to create more impacts in the coming games.
As per the 1×2 betting odds, Ulsan Hyundai will have a low odds rate. They are a dominant side and are expected to win 90% of their matches. As for the over/under lines, the team is starting to find their touch. The over rates odds will lower as the season goes by.
Ulsan Hyundai have made a confident start to their title defence. They lead the K League 1 2023 table heading into the international break. The team will look to maintain this 100% start and win back-to-back titles.
Visuals via Wyscout and the TFA data viz engine