Guangzhou R&F look to continue their good start to the season when they make their first trip of the year to the dongbei region to play Changchun Yatai. After beating Evergrande in Guangzhou, the visit of the other Cantonese side provides Changchun a chance to do an early season double over the Guangzhou teams.
The blue and whites unveiled a new look shirt last week with the gold text across the chest now advertising the ‘R&F Mangrove Bay’ development on Hainan Island. A world class health resort, the development covers 8,000 acres including 2,200 of rare mangrove wetlands. Plenty of space for a complimentary holiday home for YNP then….
Last Time Out
R&F beat Henan 4-0 in a performance that would hardly have broken sweat were it not for the stifling heat and humidity in Guangzhou. Hamdallah took his goal tally to 8 for the season whilst Davi also bagged a brace.
Changchun gave as good as they got in Shanghai but still went down to East Asia 1-0, partly thanks to some fantastic saves from home keeper Yan Junling.
Stats of the week
13: Number of goals the foreign attacking trio of Hamdallah, Davi and Ken Ilso have scored
1: Number of goals scored by a Chinese player for R&F so far this season. Local hero Lu Lin scored it at home to Hangzhou a fortnight ago
Photo of the week
It wasn’t only Wang Xiaolong who made his Yuexiushan debut last week as half-time saw a performance from the Samsung sponsored R&F cheerleaders.
Causes for Optimism…
The Cantonese picked up their second clean sheet of the year against Henan and Hamdallah continued to find the net at the other end. Ken Islo had his best game for the club so far and Jiang Zhipeng showed a willingness to get forward but was caught out of position at times in defence. His ex-Shenxin teammate Zhu Baojie looked a bit lightweight in midfield though and his performance left something to be desired.
… and for Concern
R&F looked like a team going through the motions for large parts of the second half against Henan and whether it was the heat or their two goal cushion that caused it this indicates physical or mental problems that need to be addressed if they are to beat more difficult opposition.
Changchun were tipped by many to be involved in a relegation battle but they’ve shown plenty of spirit so far; beating Evergrande at Tianhe and scoring a very late goal to come back for a draw against Shenhua. That goal was scored by ex-R&F man Raphael Coelho and the Brazilian is sure to have told his new teammates about the Cantonese side’s poor set piece defence and away record. Their last two trips to Changchun have ended with the hosts scoring late goals to win in the CFA cup and draw in the league.
Watch Out For
With the return of Jiang Ning and Wang Xiaolong added to Zhang Yuan, Lu Lin and Chang Feiya, Sven now has a problem of how to fit five wingers into a formation that only requires two. In a bid to accommodate Wang, Sven played him in attacking midfield towards the end of the Henan game but things will only get more complicated once Park Jong-Woo returns from suspension and probably pushes either Davi or Islo onto the bench. Expect Sven to try out the combinations over the coming weeks before he settles on his best midfield four or five.
Score draw: A glance at the CSL standings would suggest the blue and whites have a good chance to win but YNP can’t help but remember all the times this has been the case in the past and R&F have ended up losing and has a feeling that Eninho will help Changchun to a 2-2 draw on Sunday.
R&F as predicted by the Yuexiushan News and Review:
P 6 W 3 D 1 L 2 GF 6 GA 5 GD +1 Pts 10
R&F according to the CSL table:
P 6 W 3 D 2 L 1 GF 14 GA 6 GD +8 Pts 11
Changchun Yatai v Guangzhou R&F kicks off at 3.30pm on Sunday