CSL Preview: Tianjin derby and other big games all around

The first fixture this week sees second place Shanghai SIPG take on Beijing Guoan in the Chinese Super League. Shanghai have a fairly good record in recent weeks as they have taken 10 points from a possible fifteen to keep their battle with top of the table Guangzhou Evergrande alive, although they are still six points shy of the leaders. Their opponents, on the other hand, languish in mid-table, with their recent run of form seeing them earn just one win. An away game for Shanghai could prove problematic, and a defeat could spell the end of their title challenge.

In the next game, champions elect Guangzhou Evergrande travel to play against Chongqing Lifan. The visitors are currently in the driving seat in the league and another win will only consolidate their position at the top. With four straight wins too, it is difficult to see anyone stopping them. Their hosts, on the other hand, have been incredibly inconsistent, picking up two wins, two defeats and a draw. Their current position means they are some way clear of the relegation zone, which perhaps aids their visitors who will hope their hosts will already be on holiday.

Bottom side Yanbian play at home this week as they look to take points from 14th placed Liaoning. Yanbian have been able to somewhat arrest their slump recently taking six points from their last five games (one win, three draws). The visitors, on the other hand, have an identical record to Tianjin TEDA, who are the 15th placed team, suffering four defeats in their last five and also battling to one draw. This has seen Yanbian close the gap, and their game against struggling Liaoning is the perfect chance to leapfrog their opponents.

Guizhou Zhicheng face a trip to play Jiangsu Suning in this game week. The visitors are currently sitting pretty with 36 points and have won four of their last five games, while their hosts are in a very precarious position. Suning have amassed just 23 points and are only seven clear of bottom side Yanbian. Another defeat this time around could see them dragged further into the relegation battle, meaning they must improve upon their recent form which has seen them take six points from a possible 15.

Shanghai Shenhua host sixth-placed¬†Guangzhou R&F in a battle where both sides are still in need of points. Shenhua currently sit in 11th with 25 points, just nine clear of the bottom two sides following a torrid run of form in which they have taken one point from a possible 15, while their visitors have 40 points, meaning they are just five behind Hebei in third having stumbled of late with only two wins from a possible five. Eran Zahavi, the league’s top scorer with 25 goals, will be the focal point of attack as R&F look to make it two wins from two.

It is a Tianjin derby this weekend with TEDA hosting Quanjian. TEDA are in deep trouble this season with an awful record of four defeats and one draw in their last five delving them deeper into relegation worry. The visitors, on the other hand, have seen a run of three draws halt the momentum they had built with two wins. Quanjin are just a single point behind Hebei in third and they will be hoping the league’s third-placed side will slip up this weekend.

In the seventh fixture of the weekend, Hebei travel to Changchun Yatai. Hebei have been in sparkling form of late with four wins only being sullied by a draw last time around. Yatai have been solid if unspectacular. They have won two, drawn two and lost one of their last five meaning they have only solidified their place in mid-table. Expect Hebei to go all out in this one to attempt to close the gap on those above them but, more importantly, to keep Quanjian at bay.

In the final game of the match week Henan Jianye host Shandong Luneng. Luneng are still in with an outside chance of sneaking into third as they are just three points behind Hebei and they will be desperate to see top scorer Diego Tardelli add to his 11 goals this season. Their hosts have been pretty poor recently with just one win in five and three defeats which has seen them slip back into a battle at the bottom. Christian Bassogog has hit seven goals and notched six assists and they will need him to come good this week if they are to stage an upset.