The CSL returns with a bang after the international break

Chinese Super League Preview

There are two matches set to kick off today and one of them is a real big one. The Super League is back as the players return from their international duty. China had two poor showings during the break with an heavier-than-expected defeat against Wales and a collapse against the Czech Republic. We analysed that collapse here if you would like to see how the Chinese wall crumbled. If you want to find out how the foreign players did on their break, we have that for you here.

But let’s return to the league action.

The first of the 12:35 (UK time) kick-offs is between Shanghai SIPG and Chongqing Lifan. SIPG are top of the league with full pot after three matches, the only team to do so alongside Shandong, while Chongqing have started brightly too with two wins and a loss, sitting in fourth. Lifan’s one loss has been against Shandong and the other two matches have seen them beat Jiangsu and Beijing Renhe. This will be their second big test of the season and if they want to be a top-half contender they need to prove themselves in these games.

The second match kicking off today sees Guangzhou Evergrande travel to Tianjin to play Tianjin Quanjian. Evergrande have picked up speed since their first round loss to city rivals R&F with two wins since then. One more win is needed to keep them within good distance to the two 100% teams otherwise Fabio Cannavaro might find things getting a little hot faster than he might have expected. As for last season’s third-place finisher, Tianjin Quanjian, they have started badly with a win on their opening day followed by two losses, including them too losing to their city rivals TEDA.

The early match tomorrow between Changchun Yatai and Guangzhou R&F is one that could mean a lot for both sides. Yatai need a win or they could be going down into the drop zone while R&F wants one to stay in third place.

In the afternoon matches the big one is the first Beijing Derby between Beijing Renhe and Beijing Guoan in the league. We will have everything you need for that match at 19:00 UK time tonight, in a brand-new Derby Day Preview, so make sure you come back for that!

At the same time Shanghai Shenhua and Hebei China Fortune clash together and both teams have had a mixed start with one draw, one loss and one win each. Neither team will be happy with that and while Hebei have legitimate Champions League aspirations, Shenhua might also be quietly whispering it to themselves as well, but both teams need to find form and that could start right here.

In the bottom rungs of the league winless Dalian Yifang travel to Henan to take on Henan Jianye as they look to get their first points on the table in their Super League return, heck even a goal would be a welcome sight as they have 0-13 in goal difference so far. A truly miserable start. For Henan it’s all about getting a small gap opened up between themselves and the bottom two teams. A win over TEDA was sandwiched between two losses, but a not-that-bad performance against Evergrande before the break means that points here could be on the board.

On Sunday the early kick off is between Shandong Luneng and Guizhou Hengfeng. These two teams are polar opposites of each other. Shandong have a 100% win streak while Guizhou have a 100% loss streak. A win for Shandong is the obvious bet here but perhaps Guizhou could spring a surprise if they have used their break well.

The final game of this round sees Jiangsu Suning welcome Tianjin TEDA to town. Both teams have aspirations of at least a top half finish but both have had slow starts. Only one point from their first two rounds meant a win in last round’s derby was very welcome for TEDA, while Suning opened with a win and then promptly stalled with two losses in the last two rounds. TEDA need a win to keep the momentum going while Suning need one to get back on track.

That’s all for the preview. Enjoy the Super League action!