CSL Preview: It could all be decided this weekend

With just a few rounds left of the Chinese Super League, it’s all to play for as nothing is decided. Both Yanbian and Liaoning could get relegated this round while Guangzhou Evergrande could take yet another league title.

We start with Liaoning who have a knife at their throat. They travel to Shandong Luneng in an hour’s time, who still have an outside chance of getting the third place that will give a place in the Champions League. They need to win all their remaining games and have results go their way.

Tomorrow there will be only two games played as fellow relegation-threatened team Yanbian Funde host Henan Jianye in the early kick-off. Henan could still theoretically go down but they would have to lose all their remaining games and Yanbian would have to win every one for that to happen.

The other match tomorrow kicks off at 12:35 UK time where Hebei could secure their Champions League place if they win. If they win against Tianjin Quanjian the gap between the two teams will be seven points with only two games to go and that is as we all know, mathematically impossible to catch up to.

On Sunday, the early kick-off is between Changchun Yatai and Jiangsu Suning. Suning could, like Henan, still go down if they lose the rest of their matches and Yanbian or Liaoning get their form back and win the rest of their games. Changchun are stuck mid-table and have nothing left to play for but pride and getting the highest position possible.

For the main part of the 28th CSL round on Sunday, Guangzhou Evergrande could take the league title for the sixth time running if they beat Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng. The result between Shanghai SIPG and Guangzhou R&F, who still have an outside shot at Champions League, will not matter if Evergrande win. Because even if both teams win then Evergrande will still win the league as there is six points between the two teams with two games to go and the first tiebreak rule if teams end on equal points is points won in head-to-head matches. The first match between the two teams ended in a 3-2 win to Evergrande while the other ended in a 2-2 draw. That means Evergrande have four points in head-to-head while SIPG only have one.

The final two matches this round sees mid-table Chongqing Lifan host “99.9% secure from relegation” Shanghai Shenhua, who play Yanbian Funde next round, while “could still go down if they have the worst luck in the world” Tianjin TEDA play Beijing Guoan, who have nothing to play for as they are stuck in mid-table obscurity.

So when we catch back up on Monday, this could all be decided. Here’s to an entertaining weekend of football.