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League One Team of the Week – Round 2: Yifang and Meizhou lead the way after big wins

Round 2 of the League One season has been done and dusted for a while now but, in a new feature, WEF presents the team of the week. Unlike other such sides, it is a team in a realistic formation with all players featured in the position they played this week. So no back threes made up entirely of fullback or a midfield full of wingers. This week’s team is in a 4-4-2. The selected XI must also follow League One rules, meaning only three foreign players and an under-23 star.

Goalkeeper – Zhang Chong – Dalian Yifang

Really no outstanding performances in goal this week, but Zhang Chong kept a second consecutive clean sheet in Yifang’s 2-0 win over Beijing BG and made couple of decent saves, including an athletic stop from a Wang Jianwen free kick.

Right Back – Lee Chi-ho – Meizhou Hakka

The former Beijing Guo’an man put in a very impressive display up against Wuhan Zall winger Jean Evrad Kouassi and was extremely hard done by to concede a soft penalty against the Ivorian winger. He’s back on the right side of defence this year having struggled on the left last season, and his inclusion in WEF’s prestigious League One Team of the Week comes just a few days after he made his first appearance for the Hong Kong national team in over a year.

Centre Back – Lars Saetra – Baoding Rongda

The big Norwegian put in another excellent performance during Baoding’s surprising 2-0 Hebei derby victory over Shijiazhuang Ever Bright. Following on from his powerful display in Wuhan during round 1, Saetra matched up to Shijiazhuang’s physical forward Jacob Mulenga and proved to be an impervious wall as Baoding comfortably repelled their local rivals.

Centre Back – Wang Wanpeng – Dalian Yifang

Wang’s centre back partner Jonathan Ferrari was the real star of another fine defensive display from Yifang, but he can’t be included because of the foreign player quota and so Wang is the next best thing. Yifang’s defence floundered last season, and the 34-year-old veteran didn’t cover himself in glory, but the former Changchun Yatai stalwart looked like a different player in this game and comfortably handled anything Beijng BG’s attack could offer.

Left Back – Zhou Ting – Dalian Yifang

The 38-year-old was the centre of attention this round when he returned to Beijing to take on BG just a few months after ending his eleven year spell at Beijing Guo’an with an apparent retirement. It would be easy to put Zhou in the team as a nod to nostalgia, but the Liaoning native more than earned his place by shackling former Guo’an teammate Yan Xiangchuang on BG’s wing and showing consistent composure on the ball.

Right Wing – Zhang Jian – Dalian Transcendence

Being 2-0 down at half-time to Beijing Renhe, Transcendence appeared as though they were on course to suffer another hammering following last week’s 6-0 humiliation at the hands of Shenzhen FC. After the interval, however, they looked like an entirely different side and the main reason for that was Zhang who led his side to a near comeback through his obstinate determination not to suffer another heavy defeat. His team came up short, and the former Chongqing Lifan winger only mustered one assist in the fightback to 3-2, but his constant running and drive to push the team forward was inspirational for a side that looked otherwise doomed.

Central Midfield – Liu Xiaodong – Baoding Rongda

Another former Changchun Yatai man, Liu was the engine which drove Baoding to their famous Hebei derby victory as well as laying the foundation for the whole thing by opening the scoring with a fine fifth minute daisy-cutter. Liu helped push Baoding to promotion when he arrived half way through last season, and it’s clear that he is going to play a key role this year as well.

Central Midfield – Yao Junsheng(U23) – Meizhou Hakka

Meizhou looked like a totally different side this week as they comfortably defeated apparent promotion contenders Wuhan Zall and Yao Junsheng looked like a totally different player. The Shandong Luneng loanee had a bit of a nightmare debut against Dalian Yifang in round 1, but he totally turned it around this week with a very mature performance on Thursday night. There’s no doubt that Valeri Bojinov was the star of Meizhou’s excellent first half, but Yao more than pulled his weight and started to give some indication of why he has been saddled with weighty comparisons to Xavi.

Left Wing – Ouyang Xue – Meizhou Hakka

Taking advantage of Wuhan Zall manager Ciro Ferrara’s baffling decision to play career centre back Li Chao at right back, the former Guizhou Zhicheng winger was electric in the first half of his side’s 2-1 win with both of the goals coming as a direct result of his crosses. Last year, we named Meizhou’s Gao Zhilin in our team of the year on the left-wing, but he and Ouyang switched sides this week much to the benefit of the latter.

Forward – Biro-Biro – Shanghai Shenxin

WEF’s 2016 League One player of the season was a little subdued in round 1, but came to life this week as his side hammered Hohhot Zhongyou 5-0. The pint-sized Brazilian is playing in a more central role this season, and proved that he can do just as much damage from there this week as he produced two goals and an assist. Make no mistake, Hohhot’s defending made them extremely cordial visitors, but the 22-year-old punished every error and his second goal – a delightful lob of hapless Zhongyou goalkeeper Han Fangteng from an improbable angle – sums up exactly why China, League One and Shenxin are lucky to have him.

Forward – Nyasha Mushekwi – Dalian Yifang

The big Zimbabwean showed his value to Yifang this week when he almost single-handedly helped turn an attritional 0-0 draw into a 2-0 win within a matter of minutes against Beijing BG. He powered in a 60th minute Cui Ming’an corner with his head, before firing home what was probably a slightly mis-hit volley three minutes later. Shenzhen FC’s Harold Preciado’s two goals away to Yunnan Lijiang were better taken, but the Colombian forward has a much stronger supporting cast, where as Mushekwi seemed to will his goals in out of nothing.

This is a new feature starting this week but, in the interests of continuity, this is the round 1 team of the week in a 4-3-3 formation.

Guo Chunquan (Zhejiang Yiteng)
Yang Zexiang(U23) (Baoding Rongda) Cui Min (Shenzhen FC) Xu Bo (Shijiazhuang Ever Bright) Zhou Ting (Dalian Yifang)
Xu Liang (Shenzhen FC) Huang Xiyang (Wuhan Zall) Deng Zhuoxiang (Qingdao Huanghai)
Chinedu Obasi (Shenzhen FC) Harold Preciado (Shenzhen FC) Aboubakar Oumarou (Shenzhen FC)

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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