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Ranking the Teams for the Last Five Years in the K-League (Part 1)

(from the koreaherald.co.kr)

Due to space constraints, I am splitting this into three parts.  The first part will be ranking the all of the 16 teams that have played in the K-League and the K-League Classic for the last five years.  

Introduction

Recently, I attempted to answer the question if tying 31% of your games, particularly as the third place team, is high.  I looked at 17 leagues (8 in Asia, MLS, and 8 in Europe) to compare with the K-League Classic .  Of course, the way I did it was not very scientific, so there is no way I can say the results are valid, but on a cursory glance in comparison to most leagues the K-League Classic seems to have a higher rate of draws and less goals.  In sum, the K-League draws more games and scores less goals than a lot of other leagues.  

Now, let's look at the K-League Classic for the last five years.

K-League Classic League Table 2011-2015
Year
Played
Wins
Draws
Losses
Goals
Avg.
2011
480
175 (36.45%)
130 (27.08%)
175 (36.45%)
655
1.36
2012
704
259 (37%)
186 (26%)
259 (37%)
869
1.23
2013
532
190 (35.71%)
152 (28.57%)
190 (35.71%)
677
1.27
2014
456
156 (34%)
144 (32%)
156 (34%)
506
1.1
2015
456
162 (35.5%)
132 (28.9%)
162 (35.5%)
546
1.2
Total
2628
942 (36%)
744 (28%)
942 (36%)
3253
1.24

Since going to a split system, average goals per game has fallen some would say, significantly.  It hit a nadir of 1.1 in 2014 and only rebounded slightly in 2015.  I can see why the league is considering counting goals scored rather than goal differential as a deciding metric.  

However, I doubt that it will work due to conservative coaching tactics the homogeneity of the league.   Often, it feels as though teams are set out to play in a manner that avoids risk taking while prioritizing shape and defensive solidity.  Couple this with there only being 12 teams in the league, who for the most part are evenly matched (similar strengths, weaknesses, players) and I cannot see an increase in goal average any time soon.

Then again, as last season showed, my predictions usually amount to shit.  Maybe Jeonbuk's signing of Lee Jong-ho, Ricardo Lopes, and Kim Bo-kyung help them average more than the 1.5 goals they did in 2015 (it will probably will).  Maybe Dejan links up well with Adriano and Park Chu-young and Seoul's dormant offense awakes from the slumber of the last two years.  

I am curious to see how the teams have done over the last five years. 

Part I- K-League Classic Best to Worst

Here is a table ranking the sixteen teams in the K-League from the best to worst.  I used the amount of points averaged per game (Avg. Pts.) as the metric in deciding the rankings.  
                                         K-League Classic Best to Worst
Team
P
W (Pct.)
D (Pct.)
L (Pct.)
GF (Avg.)
GA (Avg.)
Pts. (Pct.)
Avg. Pts.
Jeonbuk
188
104 (55%)
47 (25%)
37 (20%)
327 (1.74)
191 (1.02)
359 (64%)
1.91
Pohang
188
95 (51%)
49 (26%)
44 (23%)
293 (1.56)
189 (1.01)
333 (59%)
1.77
FC Seoul
188
94 (50%)
51 (27%)
43 (23%)
285 (1.52)
198 (1.05)
333 (59%)
1.77
Suwon Samsung
188
90 (48%)
45 (24%)
53 (28%)
274 (1.46)
207 (1.10)
315 (56%)
1.68
Ulsan Hyundai
188
79 (42%)
53 (28%)
56 (30%)
254 (1.35)
206 (1.10)
290 (51%)
1.54
Jeju United
188
70 (37%)
55 (29%)
63 (34%)
260 (1.38)
239 (1.27)
265 (47%)
1.41
Seongnam FC
188
64 (34%)
55 (29%)
69 (37%)
214 (1.14)
217 (1.15)
247 (44%)
1.31
Incheon United
188
56 (30%)
72 (38%)
60 (32%)
193 (1.03)
204 (1.09)
241 (43%)
1.28
Jeonnam
188
59 (31.38%)
59 (31.38%)
70 (37.23%)
208 (1.11)
238 (1.27)
236 (42%)
1.26
Busan
188
55 (29.25%)
55 (29.25%)
78 (41.48%)
199 (1.06)
239 (1.27)
229 (41%)
1.22
Gyeongnam
150
41 (27%)
42 (28%)
67 (45%)
163 (1.09)
207 (1.38)
165 (37%)
1.1
Daegu FC
112
30 (27%)
36 (32%)
46 (41%)
128 (1.14)
159 (1.42)
126 (38%)
1.13
Gwangju
112
29 (26%)
35 (31%)
48 (43%)
124 (1.11)
154 (1.38)
122 (36%)
1.09
Sangju Sangmu
98
21 (21%)
27 (28%)
50 (51%)
104 (1.06)
175 (1.79)
90 (31%)
0.92
Gangwon FC
112
25 (22%)
25 (22%)
62 (56%)
108 (0.96)
177 (1.58)
100 (30%)
0.89
Daejeon
150
30 (20%)
38 (25%)
82 (55%)
146 (0.97)
266 (1.77)
128 (28%)
0.85

No surprises here as far as who is the best team.  Jeonbuk, who have won the title in three of the last five years, are the best team.  They have best winning percentage, goals for (GF) average, and points per game average (Avg. Pts).  As the biggest spenders in the K-League, Jeonbuk has definitely got its money's worth.

The team that would most likely draw a game is Incheon United, at 38%, and the team that has the highest percentage of losses is Gangwon FC.  They also have the poorest GF average at 0.96, which must make for riveting viewing.  Finally, Sangju Sangmu have had the most generous defense in the last five years, giving up close to two goals a game.

I was a bit surprised that Pohang had a slightly better defense than Jeonbuk.  I was also surprised that Seoul was tied with Pohang for being the second best team in the last five years.  It has not felt that way at all.  I would have guessed that Suwon might be the second or third best team rather than fourth.

What interests me most are the teams at the bottom.  Even though Daejeon has played more games than Daegu, Gwangju, Sangju Sangmu, and Gangwon, I have ranked them lower due to the 0.85 points per game they average.  Also, they have poorest winning percentage of any team as well, which is why I would say they have been the worst team in the K-League in the last five years.


Next, I am curious about who the strongest champion is in the last five years.  I am also curious about how the worst team in each of the last five years stack up against one another.  I will cover that in the next part.  

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