If there was one thing that defined the 2022 Meiji Yasuda J1 League, it was the uncompromising commitment to running.
The league averaged 177.2 sprints per game, the most since the statistic was first recorded in 2015. One time reigned supreme in the top flight, with Yokohama F·Marinos taking home the crown.
It’s not hard to understand why, with the Tricolor leading the league in most goals scored, chances created and fewest goals conceded. Crossing was the name of the game in J2, with 283 goals coming from crosses! That made up 35.8% of goals, the highest in history. Albirex Niigata topped the second division and it was their work with the ball that did it.
They completed a league-leading 29,147 passes on the campaign, for an average of 642 per game. They also scored more than two goals in six straight matches (Matchweek 26-31), which was unmatched in the league. The J3 League was marked by goal kicks from goalkeepers taken short to defenders.
40.8% of goal kicks were taken that way, up 20.8% from the previous season as the third division showed a clear desire to put skill and possession at the forefront.
Iwaki FC won the league with 2.24 points per game, second-best in the history of the third division. Their 72 goals for an average of 2.12 goals per game was the third best in J3 history too, as the team turned their excellent goal scoring quality into points for a historic promotion to J2.