Monday night football will take a whole different meaning tonight when the club takes on Dalian at Worker’s Stadium. An Andy Lau concert forced the move to Monday and after last night’s practice session on the Gongti pitch, the players are chatting on weibo (China’s version of twitter) about how horrible the pitch is.
Dalian comes into this game with the same 1-1-1 record as Guoan in this young season. Though they’ve fallen from their status as one of the league’s top teams, they still have the potential to stun you. If Guoan even thinks about taking this one lightly, last year’s embarassing 3-0 drubbing in Dalian should remain fresh in their memory. Dalian’s strike combination of James Chamanga and new boy, Martin Kamburov are an impressive front line. We also know that whenever this fixture comes up, Beijing’s Korean community comes out in stregnth for Ahn Jung-hwan and the team’s 2 other Koreans (and Korean manager).
Guoan’s defense has been their biggest problem so far this season, it will be interesting if manager Pacheco has made the necessary adjustments during the last week of training. Goals are going to happen, it’s not a big deal, but you can’t be giving up freebies. With the pitch in bad shape, anything can happen, but if Guoan can continue their habit of scoring first, it would really help.
Both of these clubs need 3 points to keep pace with the top sides in these early days. Dalian has yet to show themselves of being capable of playing against the better sides, even their win (at home against Nanchang) was unimpressive. I know some fans might disagree, but I’d love to see Roberto get his first start for the Men in Green tonight, with the pitch in bad shape, a lot of the balls should be coming in high and his height could be useful. I also think a run out for Yan Xiangchuang (or perhaps Wang Xiaolong) are in order, Guoan could use some speed down the wing against Dalian’s older legs.
Prediction: Beijing 1 – 0