Here we are again. Nice to see you, to see you nice. I’ve been drafted back in to do the preview of the weekend’s action this week seeing as my analysis piece ended up never coming to fruition due to a couple of technical issues. I won’t bore you so much with the details. Unfortunately, this preview won’t be as quite in-depth as the one from last week due to the fact that the deadline I’m working with is very tight. To be fair, you’d think I’d stop talking shit and get on with it. Here goes nothing…
All Kickoff Times Are In Line With The UK Clock
Shanghai Shenhua and Guangzhou Evergrande kick off the weekend’s action at 11:00 today, so if you’ve got any plans for a busy Friday, scrap them. You’ve got CSL football to watch and this is the first of three games that we have to dissect for today.
Both teams have started their respective CSL campaigns strongly, yet, considering Shanghai have only beaten Guangzhou once at home in nearly ten years, you really would have to favour Guangzhou for this.
Looking at it, Shanghai’s home form, in general, isn’t brilliant as they’ve only won two out of seven at home this calendar year if you take into account friendlies etc and we probably should as that’s where one of the wins come from.
Guangzhou, in complete contrast, have been somewhat of a machine since their opening day loss to local rivals Guangzhou R&F and if they can keep churning out clean sheet after clean sheet then they are going to be a force to be reckoned with. Since the nine-goal thriller on the opening day, they haven’t conceded another goal in the league. Panel (me) suggests an away win.
Can Tianjin Find Some Consistency?
Next up on the Friday feast of football is Tianjin Quanjian vs Jiangsu Suning which starts at 12:35. Tianjin are yet to really get any level of consistency as of yet this season, although, this game presents the perfect opportunity to do just that as a win would make it three on the bounce in all competitions and that is something they are yet to achieve this year.
Another hurdle that they will have to get over to do that would be actually beating Jiangsu as in the two meetings between the sides so far, Jiangsu are unbeaten.
Jiangsu may have Ramires to call on again at long last as he featured for the reserves earlier in the week, however, they have been doing alright without him and they do sit three points and four places above their hosts. Another reason why Jiangsu perhaps shouldn’t be underestimated is that they’ve won three out of their last four away from home. Panel suggests a score draw.
We’re back in Shanghai for the final game of the day as Shanghai SIPG play host to Hebei Fortune at 13:00. I think it’s fair to say there isn’t another game that’s as open and closed as this in this round of fixtures. Cue away win. Shanghai SIPG sit top of the table with a perfect record, the best attacking record and the best defensive record. Hebei will certainly have to be at their very best and then some if they want to get anything from the game.
Will Hebei Have Any Good Fortune?
Hebei’s last two visits to play Shanghai SIPG have yielded an aggregate score of 6-1 and if the recent form book is anything to go by, you can only seeing that a lot worse from a Hebei perspective come 15:00. Perhaps, Hebei’s only saving grace will be if Shanghai go into the game thinking it’s already won. I’d be surprised if that happens. Time will tell. Panel suggests a home win.
Saturday starts bright and early so go easy on the sauce tonight if you want to get up for Beijing Renhe versus Guizhou Zhicheng which begins at 8:30, it’s the first of two that kick-off at the same time, so you’ll have to get two TVs lined up alongside each other. More on the other game shortly.
This game has got all the ingredients required to be a classic. A combined eight goals scored in ten league games, seven points from a possible thirty and more! In case you’re wondering, I am being sarcastic.
Previously, the sides have only met twice and on both occasions, Guizhou have come away 2-1 winners. As the saying goes, all things come in threes, so don’t be too surprised if Guizhou get all three points in this one. It seems like the bookies will be surprised, mind, as they’ve got Beijing as the favourites which can only be because they’re at home because from where I am standing, there’s not a lot in it. Panel suggests a draw.
Something’s Gotta Give #1
Our other 8:30 start is a very intriguing encounter between Tianjin Teda & Guangzhou R&F, it sees a formidable home record go up against an equally impressive record on the road which means one thing and one thing only, something’s gotta give.
We’ll begin with the visitors; on their travels in the CSL, they’ve won their last four, scoring eleven in the process. While that may be true, their most recent away win which came against Changchun Yatai was only courtesy of a 97th minute Renatinho penalty.
In a similar manner, Tianjin’s core of results, always seem to come from home games and this is particularly evident when you take into account that they’ve picked up sixteen points from a possible eighteen from their last six. It really could go either way. Panel suggests a score draw.
Dalian Still On The Hunt For Their First Win
If you do so happen to have a heavy one tonight and miss the last two I’ve just touched on, hopefully, you’ll be up for Shandong Luneng’s clash with Dalian Yifang which kicks off at the more sociable hour of 12:35. Speaking as someone who used to bet on anything and everything just for the hell of it, I can tell you that this will be a game that a lot of addicts/enthusiasts (depends on how you want to look at it) will pick as a home win.
In fairness, it is 5th against 16th and there really should be only one winner, but when you scratch beneath the surface, it’s not as clear-cut.
Going into the game, believe it or not, over the last two games, Dalian Yifang have actually been in better form than the home side as they’ve drawn the last two. Shandong, on the other hand, have come away pointless from the last two, so I guess you could argue that the smart money would be on Dalian Yifang or the draw, nevertheless, I wouldn’t be touching the game in terms of a bet unless my life depended on it. Panel suggests don’t bet on it.
Panel Suggests Staying In Bed
There’s another early start to deal with on Sunday as 8:30 is once more the kickoff time. On this occasion, it’s for Henan Jianye’s trip to Changchun Yatai and while I’d normally tell you to set your alarm, I’m not going to bother with this one as it actually looks worse than the aforementioned Beijing Renhe and Guizhou Zhicheng clash.
On average, over the last five years, this game has produced a whopping one goal a game and it would take a brave or stupid man to back anything different happening this time around; Changchun are yet to win this year and Henan have only won once. Panel suggests staying in bed.
We finish with Chongqing Lifan hosting Beijing Guoan at 12:35 and while the last game we’ve touched will probably send you to sleep, this one promises to be a lot more interesting. For what it’s worth, when I end up getting this horrifically wrong, I will hold my hands up.
Something’s Gotta Give #2
Again, with this one, something’s gotta give as Chongqing have won their last two at home and Beijing have done exactly the same on their travels and I might be a few sandwiches short of a picnic at times, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out that they can’t both win this!
Historically, this game has produced a draw as 50% of the last twelve meetings have done just that so that’s probably where the safe money is regardless of the fact that it’s third against eighth.
That’s all for now, I’ll be back next week, hopefully with some analysis on something, quite what yet, I’m not so sure. Until that point, enjoy your weekend, have a couple of bevvies and get stuck in.