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League One Round 8 Preview: New Money Clashes in Beijing and Harbin Travel to Xinjiang

Beijing BG vs Hebei CFFC is undoubtedly the standout match in round 8, but both Harbin and Hunan’s new manager face stern tests in another interesting week.

Beijing BG vs Hebei CFFC

Hebei's Nenad Milijas celebrates scoring against Dalian

Hebei’s Nenad Milijas celebrates scoring against Dalian

After their huge win over Dalian last week, Hebei face another serious challenge in the shape of Beijing BG. This is a clash between the pre-season’s most heavily hyped teams and, thus far, it is CFFC who have lived up to expectations. Hebei’s four straight wins are neatly counterbalanced by BG’s four without a victory and the Qinhuangdao side have also won two out of two on their travels this year.

That being said, BG’s triple comeback in Jiangxi last weekend suggests they are willing to put up more of a fight than the lackluster Dalian did when they took on Hebei. Head coach Aleksander Stanojevic will also be looking for another opportunity to outwit Hebei’s Radomir Antic as he did twice in 2013 while leading Beijing Guo’an against his Serbian compatriot’s Shandong Luneng.

And, just as those games were played under different circumstances, so were the clashes between these sides in 2014. Both were drawn and just 835 fans turned out to watch the corresponding fixture end goalless as Beijing began staking their claim to be 2014’s draw specialists.

With the healthy cash injections these sides have received under their new owners, both the number in attendance and standard of the game should have greatly increased since a year ago. What may not change, however, is the outcome as BG may have just about enough to stop CFFC recording a fifth consecutive win. Prediction 1-1

Xinjiang vs Harbin Yiteng

Cristian Danalache (10) celebrates

Cristian Danalache (10) celebrates

In a match-up between two of Chinese professional football’s remotest outposts, home field advantage and Cristian Danalache may be enough to give Xinjiang what should probably be considered an upset win. Last week’s draw in Yanbian preserved Harbin’s unbeaten record, but it also marked a fourth consecutive point on the road. Xinjiang, meanwhile, have now taken four points from back to back home games as they get used to be being back in Urumqi.

These two sides last met in 2013 when Harbin won all three matches (including the CFA Cup) without conceding a goal. However, that was back when Xinjiang were still Hebei Huakaier and, more importantly, when they didn’t have the services of free scoring Danalache. The Romanian’s hot form coupled with Harbin’s punishing schedule (a seventh away game in eight) should be enough to push Xinjiang over the edge. Prediction 2-1

Dalian Aerbin vs Guizhou Zhicheng

Despite round six featuring Dalian’s first defeat and Guizhou’s first victory of the season, it is hard to imagine anything other than a home win in this one. This is a team who were barely relegated from 2014’s Super League against a side who should really have started the season in League Two. One weekend’s results doesn’t change that – especially when Dalian’s 100% home record and Guizhou’s solitary point on the road are factored in. Prediction 2-0

Hunan Billows vs Qingdao Jonoon

When these two teams met in this fixture in round five of the 2014 season, Hunan scored a comprehensive 3-0 victory to solidify their position as early season table-toppers. But a year is a long time in football and the boys from Changsha come into this fixture with just one win all season.

After making some strong signings in the winter, much more was expected and defeat in Xinjiang last weekend cost head coach Aleksander Stankov his job. He has been temporarily replaced by General Manager Zhang Xu who will take charge this weekend.

Qingdao, meanwhile, are unbeaten since getting spanked by Harbin on opening day and last week’s win over Wuhan Zall has asserted them as serious contenders for promotion. The outcome of this game is heavily dependent on what Zhang Xu does with a talented team that has been chopped and changed every game this year. If he gets it right and restores confidence among the players, Hunan might just spring a surprise – and everybody (except Jonoon fans) likes surprises. Prediction 2-1

Yanbian players might not get this excited about beating Qingdao Hainiu

Yanbian players might not get this excited about beating Qingdao Hainiu

Qingdao Hainiu vs Yanbian Changbaishan

Ha Tae-goon’s last minute equaliser against Harbin last week means that Yanbian remain unbeaten as they travel down the east coast to Qingdao. Their opponents enter the game in twelfth position having picked up seven of their eight points against the teams below them and the other one against the side directly above them. That doesn’t bode well for Hainiu and, with Yanbian’s foreign trio of Ha, Steve and Jailton Paraiba continuing to impress, it’s hard to look beyond an away victory. Prediction 1-2

Hohhot Zhongyou vs Beijing Institute of Technology

BIT jumped one place ahead of Hohhot in the table after last week’s results, but the Inner Mongolians should be favourites to once again overtake their visitors when the full time whistle is blown. Last week’s second half capitulation was a bitter blow to Hohhot but they should be able to recover in front of what is likely to be another huge home crowd.

Shenzhen's Babacar Gueye (10) in action

Shenzhen’s Babacar Gueye (10) in action

The home side’s previously sturdy defence gave up three second half goals last week and will now come up against the league second highest scorers. However, Hohhot’s attackers are also no slouches and that means that fans may be treated to a high scoring shoot out. Prediction 3-2

Tianjin Songjiang vs Shenzhen FC

Shenzhen will be seeking to build on their first win of the season as they travel to face a struggling Songjiang side. Both these teams had dreadful first halves last week, but only Shenzhen were able to turn it around as Songjaing’s defeat in Guizhou saw them sink to the bottom of the table.

The hosts are in dreadful form and the visitors arrive buoyed by a huge comeback. It’s hard to envisage anything other than an away win here and Songjiang sinking further into trouble. Prediction 1-2

Wuhan Zall vs Jiangxi Liansheng

Jiangxi make the the short trip from Nanchang to Wuhan as they take to the road for just the second time in 2015. Wuhan are coming off of a disappointing loss against Qingdao Jonoon but narrowly overcoming bottom half sides has become somewhat of a specialty in Hubei and that’s likely to happen again here. Prediction – 1-0

Based in China for five years, Jamie has been exploring tiny little third tier Hubei cities without football teams or decent internet connections, but is now a regular at China League One side Wuhan Zall. A keen football afficionado, he regularly takes in the Chinese Super League, enjoying matches in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Nanjing. Jamie is also a keen observer of the fortunes of the Chinese National side.

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