Beijing Guoan’s win last night, their seventh straight, set a China top flight record for victories to start the season. The previous record holders, Dalian Wanda (1998) and Shanghai SIPG (2018), both won the title and as the calendar moves to May, Guoan’s destiny is likely to be decided.
Last night’s performance against Dalian Yifang was a master class from Jonathan Viera, scoring a hat trick and leading the team to a 4-1 victory. The score line is all the more impressive as both Cedric Bakambu and Zhang Yuning weren’t in the lineup with Wang Ziming receiving his first start.
While the victory record is nice to have, it’s all meaningless without silverware at the end of the season and May could go a long way in figuring that out. Seven matches spread out over three competitions make things tough on Roger Schmidt.
The month opens with the club defending the CFA Cup title with a trip north to Harbin to face off against Heilongjiang FC. Easy enough in theory, but then they travel 2730 kilometers south for a top of the table clash against Guangzhou Evergrande. In recent years Guoan has struggled at Tianhe (1-3-1 in last five league visits), but if there is a silver lining it’s that Anderson Talisca, the league’s leading scorer, appears to be out.
The Beijingers then return to the capital to face Jeonbuk Hyundai, a crucial Asian Champions League match because a victory removes some of the pressure to get a result in Urawa two weeks later. From Urawa it’s off to Shanghai where they face Shanghai SIPG in yet another match that, while not even at the season’s halfway point, could really alter the title picture.
The above skipped over the two matches that are sandwiched in between then Evergrande/Jeonbuk and Urawa/SIPG part of the month, newly promoted Shenzhen and struggling Tianjin Tianhai will come to Gongti in between.
This is arguably the best Beijing Guoan team ever, with few weak spots and plenty of cover at most positions. May will test the team’s depth but if they are up for it, if they can remain at the top of the table, also advancing in the Cup & ACL, it could mark a memorable year for the capital side.
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