The seventh round of football from China’s top division lacks any of the really big matches. The biggest of the round, Shanghai Shenhua against Shandong Luneng, has been postponed until September 19th due to repair work taking place at the Hongkou Stadium following the fire last month.
Shandong’s bye this round means that top-of-the-table, and the league’s only undefeated team, Guangzhou R&F has the chance to extend their lead to at least one of the three chasers only three points behind when they welcome winless Guizhou Hengfeng to the Yuexiushan Stadium in today’s round opener.
The other two chasers who lurk just one win behind R&F are Shanghai SIPG and Guangzhou Evergrande. They both play away this weekend.
Evergrande travel to 13th placed Henan Jianye who will hope that a win here can steer them clear of a relegation battle, as they are above the drop-zone by just one point. Henan are one of four teams yet to win this season, alongside already mentioned Guizhou, Yanbian Funde, and Jiangsu Suning. Evergrande won both of last season’s meetings 2-1.
Shanghai SIPG play in the last match of the round, on Sunday, as they go to 7th placed Chongqing Lifan. Chongqing can climb up to fifth place with a win and will only be one point behind SIPG if they do. Expect a tightly contested affair.
In the “we got to get out of this mid-table obscurity and latch on to the big teams at the top”-battle, we this week find Beijing Guoan, Hebei China Fortune, Tianjin TEDA and Liaoning Whowin all facing one of the others.
Hebei are the best-placed team as they sit in sixth but could be passed by two of the other three if they lose their match at home against Tianjin, who sit in 10th only one point behind.
Also one point behind, but playing away, is ninth-placed Beijing Guoan who face 11th placed Liaoning, only three points behind Hebei. Liaoning could pass Ezequiel Lavezzi’s team on goal difference if they win with a decent score and Hebei lose.
In the dogfight at the bottom of the table, we find Changchun Yatai in 12th and second to last Yanbian in 15th. Yanbian, one of the teams yet to win a game, will look to pass Changchun in the table, who are still without Odion Ighalo as he injured himself in Matchday 5.
The last match to mention in this preview sees bottom of the table, and hopelessly poor, Jiangsu Suning travel to newly promoted Tianjin Quanjian who sit nicely at the exact middle of the table and could move up into serious contention for the Champions League spots with a win here.
The first match kicks off 12:35 UK time.