After a great road victory, their first of the year, Beijing Guoan return to Worker’s Stadium and Friday night under the lights for a match against struggling Dalian Aerbin. With Aerbin close to the bottom of the table and Guoan chasing the league leaders, this looks like a one sided match, but Aerbin’s been able to surprise more than a few clubs this season.
The One That Got Away
Without a doubt, Aerbin’s most dangerous player is Yu Dabao, the young Chinese international has been a massive presence at the newly promoted club and has turned them into a threat. Of course, Guoan was the first club that seriously tried to buy him from Tianjin and was actually very close to doing so when talks broke down. In the end, his failure to sign with Guoan turned out to be great news for Aerbin, who won a bidding war with Guangzhou Evergrande for Yu’s services. This season, Yu has taken the captain’s armband and has provided three goals so far. Guoan fans will remember Yu’s little dance in front of the north stand the last time he was at Gongti and will hope he stays off the score sheet tonight.
With Yu going to Aerbin, Guoan instead signed Mao Jianqing who, beyond his goal against Shanghai Shenhua and some good play in the ACL, has done next to nothing and hasn’t really featured in the first team. Many a Guoan fan is surely thinking about the one that got away.
The Foreign Legion
While Guoan’s foreign attackers have struggled to fit into the Chinese league so far, it’s a much different story for Aerbin. Gustavo Canales is arguably one of the best offseason signings and only cost US$2.6 million. The Chilean has provided five goals already and has paired well with fellow attacking player Yu. The team’s other attacking player, Peter Utaka, hasn’t been too shabby either, knocking in four goals himself so far. There’s definitely potential in the Aerbin squad, the problem is that outside of Yu and one or two others, there hasn’t been too much support for the foreign attack force.
Midfield Finally Coming Together?
For much of this season, Guoan’s midfield hasn’t seemed on the same page, especially on the road, but against Changchun, the team was firing on all cylinders. After having kept Shao Jiayi out of the lineup for so long, manager Jaime Pacheco has started using him in the central midfield role, with Wang Xiaolong and Piao Cheng on either side of him. Shao has sat back in the midfield , allowing Wang and Piao to push forward leading to some fantastic results. One would expect Pacheco to stick with what works and Shao really seems to be working in that role.
I’m hoping my streak of accurate predictions is going to continue, and I’m confident Guoan will defeat Aerbin 2-0 in this match. These are three points that should remain in Beijing, a slip up would be a disaster now. Despite Piao’s great play lately, he wasn’t named to the national team squad and I hope his anger will come out in positive ways against Aerbin. Here’s to another great Friday night match for Guoan.
|Chinese Super League||6-3-2||on Wednesday||0-2-1|
|Road||1-4-4||Scoring 1 goal||2-3-1|
|Scoring first||4-2-0||Scoring 2 goals||2-1-1|
|Giving up first goal||2-1-5||Scoring 3+ goals||2-0-0|
|Leading at half||3-0-0||After a win||0-2-3|
|Losing at half||1-1-4||After a loss||2-2-1|
|Tied at half||0-4-1||After a draw||4-1-1|
|Yang Zhi in goal||0-0-0||Pacheco in a suit||5-2-1|
|Hou Sen in goal||6-5-4||Pacheco in practice wear||1-4-4|
|Piao Cheng turns into Super Piao||2-2-1||Francois makes laughable defensive error||0-0-2|
|Xu Liang scores a free kick||1-0-0||Zhang Xizhe plays like Zhang Xizhe||2-1-2|
|Mao Jianqing vs Shanghai (or pretends vs SH)||1-2-0||Zhang Xizhe forgets he’s Zhang Xizhe||2-2-1|