Finally, the long wait for the Chinese Super League is over and I can’t wait for the action to begin later today. International breaks can be boring and with China not performing up to the expected standards, fans can be forgiven for being impatient for the domestic action to kick off.
The action this weekend kicks off with league leaders Guangzhou Evergrande welcoming Changchun Yatai to the Tianhe. Already boasting an 8 point lead with just seven games to go, Evergrande can increase their lead to double digits ahead of Shanghai’s clash later. Guangzhou are back being the steamrollers that they are and have now won 4 on the trot. Changchun have secured a mid-table finish and have drawn their last two.
Shandong Luneng currently sitting in third ahead of Hebei welcome last season’s runners’ up Jiangsu Suning. The latter have finally eased relegation fears and with Capello looking for a strong finish to the campaign, Shandong can expect a stern test.
Shanghai take on second from bottom Tianjin TEDA in what could turn into a very long afternoon for the men from Tianjin. Now, firm favourites to make the drop, Shanghai are expected to cruise to a comfortable given.
Beijing are another one of those teams locked in one of the tightest and most difficult Champions races to call. They have been inconsistent all season but they are expected to bounce back from defeat in their last game before the International break by beating bottom side Yanbian. After a minor improvement a couple of match weeks ago, Yanbian face the danger of being cut off from the teams above if results go against them this weekend.
Chongqing Lifan welcome cannon fodder Liaoning Whowin as the latter look set to go down. They currently sit in 14th place a point above 15th placed Tianjin TEDA.
The biggest match of the weekend sees sixth placed R&F travelling to fourth placed Hebei China. A vital match that could effectively end a team’s hopes of playing the Champions League next season. A win for R&F would elevate them above Hebei at least and their position as one of the favourites to qualify for the prestigious competition would be cemented ahead of the final few games of this long and gruelling campaign.
Shanghai have had more drama and controversy off the pitch than on it with persistent rumours that Tevez may jump ship soon with unpaid transfer fees also sticking out like a sore thumb. On the field, it’s pretty gloomy as Shenhua have lost their past three games and will almost surely finish in the bottom half barring a miraculous change in fortunes in the final few games. Their opponents are locked in a relegation battle and would be playing with their backs against the wall making them a trickier opposition than any other weekend.
The final match of the weekend sees the league’s in-form side Guizhou Zhicheng take on Tianjin Quanjian. The two promoted teams have impressed many and an entertaining match is on the cards. Guizhou are on a five match winning streak while Tianjin cannot afford to drop points as the race for third place heats up.
The first match between Guangzhou Evergrande and Changchun Yatai kicks off at 12:30 later today.