CSL Preview: Top Against Bottom

Chinese Super League

The 11th round of the Chinese Super League sees three games involving top teams kick-off today.

The three games with 12:35 GMT kick-off are Chongqing Lifan – Beijing Guoan, Henan Jianye – Guangzhou R&F and Tianjin TEDA – Shanghai Shenhua.

Only R&F can be called a top team so far this season, but both Beijing and Shenhua are top teams in a historical sense. A common theme for them all, however, is that they all play away today.

Guangzhou R&F started the season on fire but have struggled recently and are winless in their last five games, having drawn their last three. Their opposition Henan are sitting in the relegation spot and have only one win this season.

Beijing Guoan travels to Chongqing Lifan, who are sitting 12th in the league. Beijing are down in seventh after a mediocre start to the season. A win here would be a welcome sight for Guoan as they look to climb back on the Asian Champions League bandwagon.

Shanghai Shenhua have started the worst out of the three big teams, sitting down in 10th place. They play Tianjin Teda, who sit one place and two points behind them. Carlos Tevez has not impressed in his first matches for Shenhua and he really needs to pick up the pace if he wants to justify his wage.

Tomorrow, league leaders Guangzhou Evergrande play bottom of the league Yanbian Funde. Evergrande are unbeaten in what seems like forever and Yanbian has not won in four outings. This should be an open and shut case, but the worst teams often pick themselves up when they play the best.

Third-placed Hebei China Fortune play 13th placed Jiangsu Suning who only have one win so far this season. Ezequiel Lavezzi and his teammates should take this fairly easily.

Shandong Luneng and Tianjin Quanjian face off, and Tianjin can close the gap to Shandong down to one point if they win this match. They are on a roll right now and have won their last two matches, so the form is there.

The final game tomorrow is Shanghai SIPG who host Liaoning Whowin. SIPG has to keep winning if they want to keep up with Evergrande and make the title race interesting for the first time in a while. Liaoning shouldn’t pose too much of a threat and their track record against the other big teams this season also suggest this.

The final game of round 11 comes on Sunday and is quite a boring one for the neutral viewer at a first glance. 14th placed Changchun Yatai play Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng. The good thing about this match is that both teams have quite a good goal-scoring record and quite a bad defensive record, so there could potentially be a lot of goals in this one.

About the Author

Ola Bjerkevoll
Norwegian studying sports journalism in England. Lover of all football, especially Chinese, German and Oceanian. Twitter: @olabje