Who has the upper hand among the ‘Hyundai Family Brothers’ who have established themselves as the best players in the K-League? It seems like a foolish question to limit it to the last year without taking a long period of time. Most fans who are somewhat interested in the K-League are likely to readily raise Ulsan Hyundai’s hand.
Isn’t it Ulsan that sat on the throne of last year’s K-League after demolishing the fortress of Jeonbuk Hyundai, which was dominating with 5 consecutive losses (2017-2021)? Moreover, while Ulsan showed off the momentum of their 6-game winning streak at the beginning of this year and ran toward their 2-game losing streak without hesitation, Jeonbuk suffered humiliation in 9th place. It is the past year that no one will dispute the superiority of Ulsan.
But it’s strange. Jeonbuk is ahead and Ulsan is behind, and the ranking is ‘Yo Ji-kyung’. That is also a significant gap, making the ranking even more difficult to accept. Should I really believe it?
Should we accept the AFC club rankings announced by IFFHS?
IFFHS (International Federation of Football History and Statistics), which quantifies and ranks soccer clubs around the world since 1991, announced statistics that are difficult to understand on the 13th (local date). On this day, the AFC club rankings based on the past year (April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023) at first glance raise doubts about whether they are properly extracted statistics.
According to this statistic, Jeonbuk Hyundai ranked first in the AFC club rankings. With 163.5 points, it was ahead of Al-Hilal SFC (Saudi Arabia, 141 points) in second place (22.5 points) and kept the lead. Jeonbuk has been at the forefront for nine months. Ulsan (115 points), which placed third, showed a bigger score difference. It is a gap of 48.5 points in water diameter ( see table ).
IFFHS boasts that it calculates and publishes club rankings strictly based on performance. It is emphasized that it is a calculation method taken from the judgment that only quantitative analysis can ensure objectivity. IFFHS is proud of its reliable statistics based on the results of leagues and continental competitions in each country. In this context, ranking itself is not the problem.
In the last year’s performance tally, it is a clear fact that Jeonbuk is ahead of Ulsan. In the K-League for the past year, Jeonbuk and Ulsan unfortunately posted the same record. 21 wins, 9 draws and 6 losses, not leaning to either side. From April to December 2022, Jeonbuk (20 wins, 8 draws, 4 losses) had an advantage over Ulsan (17 wins, 9 draws, 6 losses). However, from January to March this year, Ulsan (4 wins) overwhelmed Jeonbuk (1 win, 1 draw, 2 losses).
Jeonbuk’s proximity to the top spot in this announcement can be found in its better performance than Ulsan in the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Champions League (ACL) and FA Cup. Jeonbuk won the FA Cup and reached the semifinals in the ACL. In comparison, Ulsan only advanced to the quarterfinals in the FA Cup, and in the ACL, they heard a bitter cup of elimination in the group stage.
However, apart from the ranking, the large score difference is something that I do not agree with. It is known that IFFHS allocates ▲ 9 points for a win ▲ 4.5 points for a draw when converting ACL scores into points. If applied accordingly, the points earned by Jeonbuk in the ACL during this period is 63 points (5 wins, 4 draws, penalty shootout wins and losses are considered a draw). Ulsan earned 31.5 points (3 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses) in the ACL during the same period.스포츠토토 That’s only half of Jeonbuk’s score.
Still, it falls short of the overall score difference (48.5 points). This score difference can also be attributed to the FA Cup. Still, it’s not clear. This is because the IFFHS, which puts weight on the performance of the professional leagues in which clubs of a similar level compete, will not place much weight on the FA Cup, where the difference in level of the participating teams is evident. If IFFHS ignored FA Cup results altogether, where would the missing 17 points (48.5-31.5) go?