After losing heavily to Evergrande, Shanghai East Asia stay in Guangzhou to face R&F in a fourth versus fifth clash between two teams whose early season form has them contending for ACL places. Read on for the views of ’s men in Guangzhou and Shanghai.
After missing the last two games Abderazzak Hamdallah should be fit to play some part against East Asia but Zhang Yuan and Park Jong-Woo, who aggravated a muscle injury against Shenhua, are doubts. Meanwhile, Park’s South Korean colleague Jang Hyun-Soo revealed in an interview that he is a black belt in taekwondo, CSL strikers are advised not to tangle with R&F’s new centre-back.
Xujiahui News And Preview (Andy Strong)
East Asia will have Daniel McBreen and Cai Huikang back in contention following their respective one-game suspensions. Wang Jiayu is also expected to be back in the side, after sitting out Wednesday night’s clash with Guangzhou Evergrande with an injury picked up in the Shanghai derby. They will also be hoping Wu Lei can finally shake off the niggling injury that has kept him quiet in his past three outings.
Last Time Out
Shanghai crashed to a resounding 5-0 defeat at Evergrande on a miserable Wednesday night in Guangzhou. With the reigning ACL champions in scintillating form, East Asia were comprehensively torn apart, conceding 4 goals throughout a wretched second half, in which they rarely looked like threatening. Even with the absence of McBreen, Huikang and Jiayu, the visitors were outplayed in every department, and must improve dramatically if they are to return from their trip to Guangzhou with anything.
Given the reds’ dismal away form of late, this could be another potentially painful night in Guangzhou, particularly with the home side in such lethal goalscoring form in front of their own fans. The hosts have bagged 13 goals and conceded just 2 in their last 3 home games, while Shanghai have shipped 7 and found the net just once in their last 3 games on the road. This will be another incredibly tough challenge for East Asia, and I find it hard to imagine anything other than a home win. 3-1.
Last Time Out
The blue and whites came away from Hongkou with a 0-0 draw after a fairly dull game in which both sides found clear cut chances hard to come by. YNP has never been particularly impressed with Zhang Yuan and the winger’s bad miss on the stroke of half time did nothing to alter this opinion.
Clean sheet stats
YNP doesn’t want to tempt fate so with fingers firmly crossed here come this week’s stats:
- Guangzhou R&F clean sheets in 2012: 5
- Guangzhou R&F clean sheets in 2013: 7
- Guangzhou R&F clean sheets in 2014: 5 (after nine matches)
East Asia’s visit gives the Cantonese a chance to have three clean sheets in a row for the first time in the CSL
Question of the month
Guangzhou R&F: Flat track bullies or ACL contenders? The blue and whites have so far played 7 of the bottom 8 ranked CSL sides and only 2 of the top 8. After May is over they will have played heavyweights Evergrande, Shandong, Guizhou and Harbin (admittedly currently bottom of the table but R&F are playing them away only two days after playing Shandong in Guangzhou) so by the World Cup break it will be clearer if R&F’s current fourth place is due to the fixture list or the quality of the Cantonese side.
Causes for Optimism…
Wang Xiaolong has played well in the last two games and if Hamdallah can return to the starting line-up then Wang will have someone to aim at in the centre when he makes his bursts down the wing. R&F have traditionally been poor away from home and will hope to shrug off the lacking of cutting edge shown against Shenhua when they’re back infront of the Yuexiushan crowd.
… and for Concern
YNP would prefer Lu Lin to start ahead of Zhang Yuan so doesn’t consider the latter’s potential absence too much of a blow. Loosing Park Jong-Woo will be much harder to deal with though as whilst Li Yan is a like-for-like replacement, Park is clearly the better player.
Daniel McBreen and Cai Huikang will be back for East Asia and they will probably find that the R&F defence is more to their liking than that of city rivals Evergrande. Wu Lei, Hysen and McBreen showed what they were capable of at the start of the season and Sven will hope they don’t suddenly rediscover that form on Sunday.
Watch Out For
With midweek games something of a rarity for non ACL qualified teams, tiredness will be an issue for both squads on Sunday night. How each coach uses the options off the bench will be crucial in the later stages of what could be a close game. Expect Eriksson to bring on the always energetic Lu Lin and the pacey Chang Feiya if the Cantonese are in trouble in the second half.
A game between two sides who have the potential to excite in attack, even if they didn’t show it in their last matches, should see chances created against defences tired after three games in a week and the hosts edging it 2-1.
Photo of the week
Tuesday night at Hongkou was the first time R&F have worn their all white away kit this season
R&F as predicted by the Yuexiushan News and Review:
P 9 W 4 D 3 L 2 GF 13 GA 10 GD +3 Pts 15
R&F according to the CSL table:
P 9 W 5 D 3 L 1 GF 20 GA 8 GD +12 Pts 18
Guangzhou R&F v Shanghai East Asia kicks off at 7.30pm on Sunday at Yuexiushan