Guangzhou R&F travel to the Shanghai suburbs to take on Shenxin with both sides looking to get their first win of the 2014 China Super League season.
Both Jiang Ning and Larsen should be fit for selection after missing the opening two games of the season with injuries. The club still state ACL qualification as their aim despite revealing that the pair of deadline day signings are not exactly match ready: prior to this season the last time Larsen played was in January, and then only for twenty minutes, whilst Hamdallah last played a half in November 2013.
Last Time Out
Whowin? Neither side did as R&F created opportunities but couldn’t find the back of the net as they drew 0-0 with Liaoning; captain Zhang Yaokun guilty of missing several chances. Laioning’s Kevin Oris kept his hands to himself and the visitors’ best chance came following a Tang Miao miss-kick.
Shenxin followed up their opening day home derby loss to Shenhua by being thumped 5-1 last week by Shanghai East Asia. Shenxin took the lead before a wonderful overhead kick and a Wu Lei penalty turned the game East Asia’s way.
Stat of the Week
The blue and whites had six players making their home debuts last week.
Picture of the week
The 2014 season appears to be no different from previous years in that attendance at Yuexiushan doubles within 15 minutes of kick-off. This leaves the security staff underemployed before kick-off and these three found an alternative source of amusement.
Causes for Optimism…
The blue and whites had a much more positive outlook last week compared to the Tianjin game and the returning Jiang Ning should add some more firepower in attack; whether Larsen will is another matter. At the other end of the pitch, Cheng Yuelei and his back four picked up their first clean sheet of the season.
Shenxin are pointless both literally and, some Shenhua and East Asia fans may argue given their historically low attendances, figuratively this season. They’ve shipped seven goals in two games so if R&F are to get more away wins this year than previously, Jinshan may well be the place to start.
… and for Concern
For all their dominance in possession last week, R&F still didn’t manage to score and new signings Jiang Zhipeng and Wang Xiaolong haven’t clicked on the left flank. Jiang’s former Shenxin teammate Zhu Baojie wasn’t overly impressive on his home debut either.
Shenxin might be down at the moment but they are definitely not out and having easily beaten R&F in Shanghai last October they will see this game as an opportunity to collect their first points of the season, particularly as the Cantonese are never the same team when playing away from Yuexiushan.
Watch Out For
Left back Jiang Zhipeng returns to his former club for the first time since signing for R&F. Jiang made plenty of forward runs against AIK Solna in the pre-season friendly but was somewhat more muted in attack against Tianjin and Liaoning although he did make a crucial goal line clearance last Sunday. If the blue and whites are to pick up a win in Shanghai he will need to combine this defensive play with more attacking runs.
Away win – Guangzhou R&F are not the best travellers but they will get few better opportunities than this all season to pick up a win as Shenxin have had such a poor start. R&F have not had a great start either but add the return of Jiang Ning to the more fluent display last week and a narrow 1-0 away win is on the cards.
R&F as predicted by the Yuexiushan News and Review:
P 2 W 0 D 1 L 1 GF 1 GA 2 GD -1 Pts 1
R&F according to the CSL table:
P 2 W 0 D 2 L 0 GF 1 GA 1 GD 0 Pts 2