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Pubcast: Dog eat dog world – Evergrande champs

A surprise treat for our readers this week – an impromptu pubcast as Bcheng finds himself in Shanghai. He is joined by our special guest, Shenhua Element Crew’s Dylan, who eagerly joins the fray, alongside, of course, Shanghai Ultra. The lads get straight down to business as Evergrande’s third CSL championship is congratulated. Good or bad? Your correspondents have their say. At the other end of the table, your trio bid finally farewell to Wuhan – although Ultra and Dylan do so rather more fondly than Bcheng. The Shanghai contingent amuse themselves by moving the discussion to who will replace them – another of Beijing’s hated rivals, Henan, most likely. Also in the second division, there’s time to suggest a Harbin beer festival. Elsewhere, Shenhua’s surprise season is briefly digested – Dylan and Ultra expand on that, plus, there is time to talk about the national team’s up-and-coming AFC cup qualifier against Indonesia, whilst various correspondents are name-checked. That’s it in the pub – tune in and zone out.

Pubcast – Dog eat Dog world: Guangzhou the champions by Wild East Football on Mixcloud

A leading international commentator on Chinese football frequently quoted by the world's top media. Offers piercing and resolutely honest insights into the bustling crossroads where football, society, economics and politics meet in contemporary China. Based in Shanghai since 2005, observer of the Chinese game since 2000.



  1. KevinG

    12/10/2013 at 17:27

    Great to have pub talk in audio format! Hope this will become a regular feature!

  2. Piers Hunday

    13/10/2013 at 10:25

    Second that- nice to put the voices to the names! Maybe a WEF podcast in the offing?

  3. weka

    16/10/2013 at 08:38

    Nice to see in audio format. I can browse and listen to an informative podcast…

    If Evergrande win the 2013 ACL (I think they will), I think the top 3 Chinese players to get European offers will be Zhang Linpeng, Zeng Cheng and Gao Lin.

    Zhang Linpeng – Making vital tackles albiet a bit dramatic. Young and potential.

    Gao Lin – Has shown he has what it takes to compete with other foreigners and has changed this season. Is more than CSL level when on his best.

    Zeng Cheng – Currently China’s top goalkeeper. That save against Indonesia today was great to keep China level.

    Just my 2¥. Neither right nor wrong…

    • bcheng

      21/10/2013 at 13:05

      I think you’re right on about Zhang Linpeng, but the other two probably aren’t right. Gao Lin’s way too old to get a look at and even if he was younger, he’s (IMO) not a talented enough player and I can’t imagine a Euro club betting on a Chinese keeper (or at least one other than Wang Dalei). I think Zheng Long and Huang Bowen might be able to garner some interest, but that’s still really unlikely.

      • weka

        21/10/2013 at 13:12

        Why would any Euro club bet on a goalkeeper who is 2nd choice to a Nation to a club that hadn’t won the CL recently or completely dominated the domestic league? When they have Zeng Cheng who has played in many more games and experienced more internationaly at a champion’s league level why Wang? I mean he’s very good but if they were bet their luck, they’d probably try their hands at China XI…

        As for Gao, that might be bias (reading your WEF history… but hey…) but the age part is right. If he was 24 then I’d say there would be some clubs would take a look at this Evergrande side and scout a Chinese striker which would be Gao (Qin Sheng? Oh god.)

        • bcheng

          25/10/2013 at 15:25

          I won’t go into Gao, but to me the argument for Wang Dalei over Zeng Cheng’s pretty easy. First off, Wang’s experience Europe before, having trained and been on trial in Europe a number of times before. Second, their international experience is more or less comparable (this is the 2nd time Zeng’s been in the ACL, Wang’s been in it 3 times and while Zeng has something like 20 starts for the NT, Wang has 5). Third, Wang’s two years younger than Zeng. The final point is exactly because Shenhua haven’t “completely dominated the domestic league”. Wang has more or less carried Shenhua for much of the year (and last season), without him there’s no way they’d be as high as they now are.

          Zeng? Not a chance. It was only a season ago that he gave up more goals than any keeper in the CSL. Evergrande did okay with a very mediocre Yang Jun the previous two season and while Zeng has made them better, his impact has been minimal. I see Wang as far less a risk than Zeng, you know what he’s capable of when he’s behind a terrible, makeshift defense.

          • GZBiffo

            25/10/2013 at 19:45

            I can’t comment to any great degree on Wang, but take it from someone who has watched the majority of Evergrande games this season and last – the difference he has made to the defense has been huge. Last season, using first Yang and then (after Lippi came in in May) Li Shuai as first choice keeper, Evergrande conceded on average a goal a game in the league and lost 6 matches. This season they have so far lost one conceding 17 in 28 games, four of those in the last three games with the title wrapped up (and Li playing in one of them) – that’s almost half the rate of last season when the league was competitive.

            Sure, the team has improved this season compared to last as Lippi has bedded in, but the difference between Zeng and his predecessors was very very noticeable right from the start – he was obviously a far safer pair of hands (though his form has dipped towards the end of the season – he seems to have been struggling physically a bit lately). I didn’t pay Henan much attention last year, and there’s no doubting their defense was crap, but there’s a reason why the richest club in the CSL went for Zeng above any of the other 14 first choice Chinese keepers in the league.

          • bcheng

            29/10/2013 at 10:41

            Pretty sure Zeng came on a free and am positive he wasn’t their first choice, however despite all their money, Evergrande wasn’t able to attract Yang Zhi to leave Guoan.

          • weka

            29/10/2013 at 10:51

            Lippi knows a lot about football. More than all of us combined. While he persuaded Huang to not join Beijing Guoan… how could he do so for Yang Zhi? Especially someone who’s been injury-struck and out of place for the favorable current #1 GK? He also realized that a defense sucked and saw something in Zeng in the NT matches.

            Then a few days ago, Lippi commented on Zeng Cheng’s success as a goalkeeper saying it was one of Evergrande’s turning points.

            Zeng Cheng has been massive for Evergrande – like it or not. I doubt they’d be the same place they were today if they had Yang Jun in goal or Li Shuai

  4. Radeba

    18/10/2013 at 22:52

    Hello Everyone,
    I am a ground hopper and a Chinese league match has been on my agenda for a long time. I will be in Singapore in c/w 48 (Nov 25th) and am considering to fly over to Guangzhou to see Evergrande vs. Beijing. What time is the KO? Is it feasible to make it a one day event i.e. depart for Spore after the match? How to get a ticket? What is the pricing and other prerequisites (prior registration etc). Thanks in advance for your kind advice.

    • GZBiffo

      19/10/2013 at 09:34

      Hello Radeba,

      According to Soccerway (, kick-off will be at 8pm. Since the match is over a month away however, the time or even date could possibly change in the meantime, especially considering how late in the year the game – very late changes to the match schedule are not altogether uncommon and games played in colder months often start earlier than that.

      Getting a ticket from abroad is very difficult as far as I know – tickets can be booked online but it seems a China Mobile SIM number is required (and only that company too – no other Chinese mobile phone company is good enough apparently), as is either a Taobao (Chinese e-Bay) card or online banking with a Chinese bank. They’re not too interested in catering to foreigners I’m afraid.

      However, if this stays a midweek game, it should be possible to get a ticket from the office in the stadium grounds on the day. Prices vary depending on where you sit and what the club thinks they can get away with charging, e.g. the ACL final tickets mostly cost the price of a season ticket or more. This shouldn’t be anywhere near that expensive but there are no guarantees on what prices will be. And if the match does kick off at the scheduled time, I would not expect to be able to depart that night (though the stadium is right beside a subway station where you can get a 40-minute train to the airport).

      Good luck!

      • Radeba

        19/10/2013 at 16:49

        Hello GZBiffo,
        Thank you very much for your kind response and valuable tips, much appreciated.
        Best regards

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