Ulsan 2-1 Jeonbuk: Tactical Analysis

Article by Cameron Herbert

Jeonbuk Build Up

Jeonbuk would build up in a semi-traditional 4231. The nuance being that Jun Amano would move from what would be a normal number 10 position to the side of build up.

There was a preference for going down the right side of the pitch in order to take advantage of Hong Jeong-ho’s ability to carry the ball.

Typical build up from Jeonbuk was as follows:

Grey = Ulsan | White = Jeonbuk

Kim Moon-hwan would go to his touchline in an attempt to attract a press. Ulsan would then press him, leaving Paik Seung-ho in space for Hong Jeong-ho to pass to.

Paik Seung-ho was incredible at disguising his intentions to the other team. He would open his body up to convince the pressing team that he would play the pass from Hong Jeong-ho to Kim Moon-hwan in order to bait Ulsan’s full-back Seo Young-wool into stepping forward.

Once Seol stepped forward, Amano would have space to receive a pass from Paik who takes out four, sometimes five, pressing players.

This sequence, and others similar, were able to beat Ulsan’s press effectively. Ulsan would have Kang Yun-gu or Lee Kyu-seong mark Paik Seung-ho in order to stop him from receiving the ball from Hong Jeong-ho – in which case Hong would carry the ball forward himself while Kim Moon-hwan took up the right center-back position.

Ulsan Press vs Jeonbuk Press 

Ulsan would press in a 4231 when in the final third, but would switch to a 442 once they entered the middle third or their own half. From left to right it was Joo Min-kyu, Vako Kazaishvili, Kang Yun-gu with Um Won-sang leading.

Their organization was fine but the pivots behind them, Park Yong-woo and Lee Kyu-seong were too far behind them, leaving space for Amano to receive with a second or two without any pressure.

Jeonbuk pressed in a 442 for most of the match with the intention of forcing Ulsan to pass into the middle where Kim Geon-woong and Paik Seong-ho would tightly mark Park Yong-woo and Lee Kyu-seong.

Jeonbuk had some success with this method of pressing, but fell short on a handful of occasions when Kazaishvili would drop into the space behind  Park Yong-woo and Lee Kyu-seong.

Ulsan Build Up

Ulsan, while direct, had an effective build up strategy as alluded to above. There were two common ideas used, both involved getting the ball to  Kazaishvili then either flicked it on to a runner in behind, or knocked it down for Ulsan to win the second ball. 

When Ulsan had periods of sustained possession they would shift to a back three. Park Yong-woo would move to left center-back, Kim Young-gwon central center-back, with Jung Seung-hyun at right center-back.

 Lee Kyu-seong was the only pivot, sometimes swapping with Park Yong-woo.

This structure from build up allowed Kazaishvili and Joo Min-kyu to pin the Jeonbuk central defenders, freeing up the wide players to overload the defending full-backs or forcing the defending wingers to drop even deeper.

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Header image from K League

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