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The North-East View: A win, a break and the hope of retaining a top ten spot

The international break gives teams around the world the chance to recuperate and have longer to work on ironing out some issues. Changchun Yatai are hoping to iron out their previous defensive issues before returning to action this weekend away to Shandong Luneng.

The Past
Prior to the international break Changchun recording a delightful 1-0 victory against Guizhou Renhe, a result that surprised many.

Eninho pressing forward against Guizhou Renhe

Eninho pressing forward against Guizhou Renhe

Yang Xu was on the score sheet with a clever deflection from star import Szabolcs Huszti. Huszti sent a powerfully driven shot towards Guizhou’s goalkeeper only for Yang Xu to get a touch to it, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way.

This result put Changchun back into 9th position in the league, a spot that Changchun will be looking to at least hold on to for the remainder of the season.

With the 1-0 victory, Changchun were able to prevent a run of poor results having recorded back-to-back losses against Shanghai East Asia (2-1) and Guangzhou R&F (3-1).

The Present
Changchun will have been working hard to improve their defensive competence with them being outscored 5 goals to 3 in their last three matches. The 1-0 victory against Guizhou will no doubt have raised the teams morale and belief that if they work together then any victory is possible.

It was not so long ago that Changchun were on a 5 game unbeaten run and there is no real reason that the team is unable to return to that form should their defense work harder and work particularly on their decision making.

Poor attempted headers and poor positioning have left Changchun undone in recent outings and should they regain their focus then Changchun’s goal of a top-ten finish is definitely within reach.

The Future
Changchun’s next opponents will be Shandong Luneng, completing Changchun’s three games in a row that they will have played away from home. The game will have added intrigue for striker Yang Xu, who joined Changchun on loan from their North-East rivals.

Zhang Xiaofei has been fairly consistent at Left Back for Changchun

Zhang Xiaofei has been fairly consistent at Left Back for Changchun

Yang Xu will unlikely play, dependent on his loan contract agreement, and will have to settle for watching both sides fight for three points from the crowd.

Changchun return to home the following weekend with another North-East derby against CSL strugglers Harbin Yiteng.

This game is very important for both sides as Changchun will be attempting to avenge their surprise 3-1 defeat to Harbing earlier in the season while Harbing will be looking to complete the ‘double’ over their nearest rivals.

If Changchun play their game they should easily overcome Harbin, but overconfidence is a big concern for the team now that they are looking at finishing in the top half of the table rather than the relegation battle they suffered through a season ago.

Look for manager Dragan Okuka to employ a quick attacking mentally and hope for many goals in the coming weeks to help Changchun hold their ground in the league and potentially move up a spot or two before the season is over.

James Reeve is a British sports writer and editor for Wild East Football. James is an avid fan of Changchun Yatai, having been a season-ticket holder in 2015, and has been involved with Wild East Football for a number of years.

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