So the 2014 CSL season has come to a close and Changchun Yatai found themselves finishing 12th in the league after a 1-1 draw with Hangzhou. But now let’s take a look back at the season and see how each player stacked up throughout the year. Only players playing 5 games or more will be rated.
2. Wang Wanpeng – Defender – Appearances: 26(0) – Goals: 1 – Yellows: 2 – Reds: 0
Solid on most occasions but was susceptible to the odd loss-of-attention. Only received two yellow cards the entire season, the best of any season where he has played in more than 17 matches. Was the regular centre-partner of import player Anzur Ismailov.
4. Yan Feng – Midfielder – Appearances: 12(2) – Goals: 0 – Yellows: 3 – Reds: 0
Age is beginning to take its toll on Yan’s career as the 32 year-old midfielder was reduced to his lowest number of appearances in his career. Provided the defence with some support in the games that he played but ultimately his effect on the team was minimal.
5. Anzur Ismailov – Defender – Appearances: 28(0) – Goals: 3 – Yellows: 5 – Reds: 0
Ismailov is the most consistent defender in Changchun’s squad and he played every minute of the 28 games he played this season. His positioning at times was shaky, but he made up for it with precision-timed tackles and even got on the score sheet 3 times during the season. Should continue to be the centrepiece of Changchun’s defence next season.
6. Pei Shuai – Defender – Appearances: 19(9) – Goals: 0 – Yellows: 2 – Reds: 0
Pei has played an average of 19 matches a season over his first four years as a pro, keeping up with that average this season. Did not feature often during the first half of the season but was relied upon more frequently as the season went along. Changchun’s most talented youngster continues to develop well and his positioning and passing have improved as the season has progressed.
8. Eninho – Midfielder – Appearances: 28(0) – Goals: 9 – Yellows: 5 – Reds: 0
Easily Changchun’s best player throughout the season. Eninho was Changchun’s most potent threat in front of goal and was extremely accurate in dead-ball situations. Eninho’s age appears to not be affecting him and he should continue his strong form into next season.
9. Fatos Beciraj – Forward – Appearances: 27(3) – Goals: 7 – Yellows: 4 – Reds: 0
Finished the season with seven goals, putting him two goals behind Eninho, and proved to be a threat at times. Management lost faith with him for a short period during the season and he was replaced by Yang Xu. Returned to the starting line-up and provided Changchun with a decent attacking option.
10. Szabolcs Huszti – Midfielder – Appearances: 14(2) – Goals: 3 – Yellows: 3 – Reds: 0
Could arguably be considered Changchun’s best player, at least in the second half of the season. Joined during the summer from Hannover 96 and provided Changchun with a completely new edge and was responsible for a number of goals, including three of his own.
12. Lü Jianjun – Defender – Appearances: 28(0) – Goals: 0 – Yellows: 5 – Reds: 0
Provided the team with attacking options from defence all season and regular sent crosses into opponents boxes. Was able to back-track quickly and was involved in a number of crucial tackles/blocks throughout the season. A solid regular player for Changchun.
14. Cao Tianbao – Forward – Appearances: 23(11) – Goals: 2 – Yellows: 2 – Reds: 0
Provided the team with an attacking option, but has never been a reliable option up-front. Only managed two goals this season and has not scored more than three goals in a season since Changchun’s 2nd place 2009 season.
15. Sun Jie – Defender – Appearances: 24(4) – Goals: 0 – Yellows: 6 – Reds: 0
Sun is a young defender (only 23 years-old) and played more games this year than the previous four combined (24 this year and 23 the last four years). Was reliable in the air and was occasionally used as a defensive midfielder. Has the potential to become a regular for Changchun.
16. Jiang Zhe – Midfielder – Appearances: 11(11) – Goals: 1 – Yellows: 2 – Reds: 0
Used purely as a substitute this season. He was unable to compete with players such as Eninho, Iglesias and Sun Jie and was on the bench for 21 total games as a result.
17. Walter Iglesias – Midfielder – Appearances: 14(1) – Goals: 2 – Yellows: 2 – Reds: 0
Iglesias’ true potential was never fully realised this season. He played sparingly in the first quarter of the season before solidifying himself as the starting central midfielder before suffering a back injury that kept him out for a prolonged period of time. Next season should be more fruitful for the Agentinian.
18. Li Xiaoting – Midfielder – Appearances: 23(8) – Goals: 0 – Yellows: 5 – Reds: 1
Li started the season as one of the first names on the team sheet, but after the arrivals of Huszti and Feng Renliang he saw his time begin to diminish. A red card has lowered his overall rating and his effectiveness for the team was reduced due to the mentioned transfer signings. Should Changchun sign Feng permanently, Li may find himself reduced to a substitute spot for next year.
19. Liu Xiaodong – Forward – Appearances: 6(5) – Goals: 0 – Yellows: 1 – Reds: 0
Virtually nonexistent this season and has failed to score for Changchun since 2010. A young player that does not appear to have a future at the North-East club.
21. Liu Weidong – Forward – Appearances: 9(2) – Goals: 0 – Yellows: 2 – Reds: 0
Played just nine games all season and was unable to force his way into the starting line-up with Beciraj, Yang Xu and Cao Tianbao firmly entrenched ahead of him. A part of Changchun’s 2009 team that finished second, his time may be up in the North-East. His CSL experience would benefit a team such as Harbin Yiteng in next season’s China League One.
23. Zhang Xiaofei – Defender – Appearances: 27(0) – Goals: 0 – Yellows: 4 – Reds: 0
Zhang provided the team with some impressive last-ditch tackles that helped his team prevent numerous crosses from entering their box. His passing was poor at times but his determination to fight for every ball and latch on to any forward working down Changchun’s left-side made him one of the more reliable players in the team.
27. Yang Xu – Forward – Appearances: 11(3) – Goals: 2 – Yellows: 3 – Reds: 0
Yang joined Changchun on-loan from Shandong Luneng and provided the team with a legitimate number 2 striker behind Beciraj. Yang managed to score two goals during his short stay with Changchun and fans will be hoping the team signs him permanently next season to bolster the team’s attacking options. Without him, they are fairly limited.
28. Mi Tianhe – Goalkeeper – Appearances: 10(0) – Goals: 0 – Yellows: 1 – Reds: 0
Mi started the season as the team’s first-choice goalkeeper but lost his place to former Chinese international Song Zhenyu. Had some decent saves throughout the season but was average at best.
29. Song Zhenyu – Goalkeeper – Appearances: 20(0) – Goals: 0 – Yellows: 1 – Reds: 0
Played well enough to be Changchun’s main goalkeeping option this season. Some good performances from Song lead to Changchun climbing into the top ten this season but ultimately inconsistency from Song and his defenders lead to the team slipping down to 12th. Changchun should look to sign a legitimate number 1 goalkeeper but retain Song due to his experience.
37. Feng Renliang – Midfielder – Appearances: 8(2) – Goals: 0 – Yellows: 0 – Reds: 0
A player that Changchun should look to sign permanently, Feng had a number of good performances during his short loan-spell. Having only played 12 times for Guangzhou Evergrande over the last two seasons he’ll most likely be looking for a new home and Changchun would welcome his attacking abilities to compliment a stronger Changchun side next season.