After struggling on the road as of late, Beijing Guoan will be happy to return home to Worker’s Stadium this weekend. What’s more, the opponent this week, Shanghai Shenxin, presents a good chance for the capital club to secure all three points.
It takes a village
I’m not going to discuss the home/road conundrum in depth this week, but let’s just say that it appears that Guoan needs the support of their 30,000+ fans to play decent football.
The team has lacked confidence on the road and there seem to be some cracks in team unity that have caused some problems so far this year. Jaime Pacheco also doesn’t seem to have decided what his ideal starting XI is, especially when it comes to the midfield, leading to him testing a number of different options. Most recently, he’s been giving a long look at new signing Zhang Xiaobin to play in a defensive midfield role. While Zhang lacks the offensive threat that Xu Liang provides in that position, his defensive chops are stronger and he seems just as capable when it comes to ball distribution. I would suspect Pacheco to stick with Zhang against Shenxin, the more interesting question will be if he uses Manu in the lineup, a very unpopular choice after the Portuguese winger struggled against Liaoning
Shenxin come into the match lacking attacking players with two of their Brazilian attackers （Jailton and Antonio Flavio) and one Chinese midfielder (Wang Jiayu) out of the lineup for their involvement in the fracas in Qingdao two weeks ago. The team has done somewhat better than expected, managing to put together two wins already, but the Qingdao incident certainly left them hurting, missing two of their top scorers for a number of matches.
While they may lack offense against Guoan, one thing that Shenxin has been good at this season is defending. They’ve kept themselves in every match they’ve played, losing by no more than one goal each time, despite going up against some of the better teams in the league. This is certainly not the side that the Beijingers blew away 3-0 in Nanchang and 6-1 in the CFA Cup last year.
Guoan’s winning ways at home are likely to continue against Shenxin, they absolutely have to if Pacheco wants to avoid a fan revolt. However, this may not be the comfortable win that many fans are hoping for, expect Shenxin to play a very defensive minded game in an attempt to squeeze a point out of their trip to Gongti. Further, there has to be some concern about the players looking past Shenxin and not taking the match as seriously as they should. With that in mind, I expect it to be a low scoring affair, but I think Guoan will win it in the end, 1-0.
|Chinese Super League||3-2-2||on Wednesday||0-1-0|
|Road||0-2-4||Scoring 1 goal||0-2-1|
|Scoring first||2-2-0||Scoring 2 goals||1-0-0|
|Giving up first goal||1-0-4||Scoring 3+ goals||2-0-0|
|Leading at half||2-0-0||After a win||0-1-2|
|Losing at half||1-0-3||After a loss||2-1-1|
|Tied at half||0-4-1||After a draw||1-1-1|
|Yang Zhi in goal||0-0-0||Pacheco in a suit||3-2-0|
|Hou Sen in goal||3-4-4||Pacheco in practice wear||0-2-4|
|Piao Cheng turns into Super Piao||1-2-1||Francois makes laughable defensive error||0-0-2|
|Xu Liang scores a free kick||1-0-0||Zhang Xizhe plays like Zhang Xizhe||0-1-2|
|Mao Jianqing vs Shanghai (or pretends vs SH)||1-2-0||Zhang Xizhe forgets he’s Zhang Xizhe||2-1-0|