North Terrace News returns after an extended absence with a new helmsman – long time Shenhua observer, Dylan Shi, who this week gives his views on the coming match versus Beijing Renhe.
Like Henan in the last round video highlights here, Renhe also look like relegation fodder to me. Of course, this is a league in which the relegation candidates outnumber the available positions, so it’ll be a fierce contest between several sides to go down.
It’s true that Renhe managed an 8th-place finish last year, only one point behind us, but I think they overachieved. They did win this fixture last season, but they stumbled through most of the rest of the year and I expect them to stumble even more badly this time around.
Renhe have lost all three of their matches 1–0 so far and are the only team yet to score. LOSERS. I suppose it is nearly mildly interesting to note that in a sense they haven’t really had a home match yet, as their first two were away from home and their match at Fengtai was against city rivals Guo’an, meaning green ****s outnumbered orange ****s inside the stadium. But that’s what you get when you move your team every few years and don’t bother even to attempt to build a fan base.
As we saw at Hongkou last year, Renhe set up to play on the counter, but obviously it’s not been as effective this year, as the side currently lack much speed. They sold winger Wang Gang to Guo’an (dumb ****s) and their Kenyan winger Ayub Masika is out injured until May. They have loaned Zhang Wenzhao from Hengda, but he’s injured too. Shi Liang had to come off injured at halftime in the match against Guo’an.
Elsewhere, veteran defender Wan Houliang missed the last match with a high fever and may not be healthy tomorrow.
Renhe have brought in Nigerian–English forward Sone Aluko on loan from Reading as a replacement for the departing Benjamin Moukandjo, but he’s slow, and 4 goals in 58 appearances for Reading won’t strike fear into the cold, shriveled heart of Li Shuai.
Renhe’s bluntness in attack does mean opportunities for Chinese forwards. Against Guo’an, U-23 striker Cao Yongjing started up front, with Aluko and Makhete Diop either side of him. Cao was later replaced by Zhu Baojie, who—you guessed it—is just returning from injury and lacking in match fitness.
Will the real Shenhua formation please stand up?
The Shenhua news is basically just that Alexander N’Doumbou has learned to sing “March of the Volunteers” and everyone thinks it’s super cute and shit. Hopefully we don’t see him at centerback again. I thought he was supposed to be a midfielder.
In fact, I hope to see fewer center backs this time around. It’s too early to tell whether a back three is some attempt to cope with the state of the squad or whether it’s the system that Flores actually wants to play, but after two matches I’m already sick of it.
Sun Shilin and Bai Jiajun are suspended, while Liu Ruofan is injured. That’s about all I know.
We all look forward to seeing what creative ways Shenhua think up to leak goals against Renhe’s limp attack. Hopefully we’ll score enough at the other end to get away with it.
Let us witness the Shenhua erection!
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