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Chinese Super League Round 7: Previews and predictions

The re-jigged Super League format means that the games are now coming thick and fast, with each week now containing about two rounds of fixtures. Now that teams are playing two to three league games each week, fitness and squad rotation are both going to be big issues. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see how teams cope with this new situation and so as another round of fixtures is about to begin, let’s dive in and take look at all eight matches that are taking place over the next few days.

Guangzhou v Qingdao

Wednesday, 21st July

Guangzhou Higher Education Mega Center Central Stadium, Guangzhou

Qingdao lost 2-0 on Sunday to a ten man Henan team, and will likely find it tough going again on Wednesday as they come up against Guangzhou. Guangzhou look to have hit their stride again after 3-1 win against Chongqing Liangjiang Athletic and will come into Wednesday night’s clash brimming with confidence.

It’s difficult to see Qingdao coming away from this game with a result. Guangzhou will likely line-up again in an attacking 3-5-3 formation and could try to put the game to bed before half-time.

One to watch – Wei Shihao – Has impressed since returning to starting line-up and will no doubt try to kick on this week and cement his place in the team.

Prediction – A comfortable 3-0 win for Guangzhou.

Cangzhou Mighty Lions v Shandong Taishan

Wednesday, 21st July

Tianhe Stadium, Guangzhou

Another fantastic performance from Han Jiaqi saw Guangzhou City hold Shandong to a 0-0 draw last Sunday. While this frustrating result has led some to question Taishan’s legitimacy as title challengers, it should also make them all the more desperate to take all three points against the struggling Mighty Lions.

Shandong have one of the strongest midfield’s in the CSL, with midfield dynamo Son Jun-ho proving to be one of the signings of the season. Expect Taishan to dominate the middle of the park in this encounter and secure a convincing win.

One to watch – Stoppila Sunzu – The hardworking centre-back will have to be on top of his game if Cangzhou are to get anything from this match.

Prediction – Shandong ease their way to a 2-0 win.

Chongqing Liangjiang Athletic v Shenzhen

Wednesday, 21st July

Huadu Stadium, Guangzhou

Shenzhen have been one of the Chinese Super League’s surprise packages this season and are riding high in the table after struggling last year. Chongqing by contrast have not fared so well losing four of their opening six games and currently hold the league’s worst defensive record.

This being said though it’s certainly not out of the question for Chongqing to spring a surprise. They’ve been a bit unlucky this year and have quite a few decent attacking players who could cause problems for Shenzhen. If they can catch a few lucky breaks on Wednesday night then they should definitely be able to get a result.

One to watch – Zhang Yuan – The attacking midfielder made his first appearance of the season in Shenzhen’s last match and made big impact as a second-half substitute. He should see more playing in the next few weeks and it will be interesting to see if he can follow up on a promising start.

Prediction – An entertaining 1-1 draw.

Guangzhou City v Henan Songshan Longmen

Wednesday, 21st July

Yuexiushan Stadium, Guangzhou

Henan finally got their first win of the season last Sunday with a thoroughly deserved 2-0 win against Qingdao. This Wednesday they’ll face Guangzhou City who also had a decent result on Sunday, holding Shandong to 0-0 draw.

This is going to be a really difficult game to call. Although City have made a significantly stronger start to the season, Henan have looked a lot better since the league restarted.

They’ve finally managed to get Brazilian Fernando Karanga back into country and he looked excellent against Qingdao, bagging a goal and an assist in a standout performance. With him now back in the side, Henan should finally have some real punch going forward and should definitely be in with a shout of taking all three points against City.

One to watch – Han Jiaqi – The Guangzhou City goalkeeper has been in excellent form this season and we could see a real duel with him going up against an in form Karanga.

Prediction – All things considered a draw is probably the most likely result, 1-1.

Changchun Yatai v Beijing Guoan

Thursday, 22nd July

Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre, Suzhou

Both Guoan and Yatai come into this encounter on the back of extremely disappointing results and both teams will no doubt be looking to make amends this Thursday.

Changchun lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation for the first time this season against Hebei and it really didn’t work out well for them. They ended up being over run in midfield and will likely switch back to something more familiar against Guoan on Thursday.

Guoan will probably be hoping that Changchun don’t go for anything too defensively minded after being frustrated by Tianjin Tiger’s park the bus tactics on Monday.

One to watch – Serginho – Yatai have struggled for goals this year and will need the Brazilian’s creative flair if they are to find the net against Guoan.

Prediction – Guoan edge out a nervy 1-0 win to relieve some of the pressure on manager Slaven Bilic.

Tianjin Tiger v Shanghai Shenhua

Thursday, 22nd July

Kunshan Stadium, Kunshan

Tianjin Tiger were the team that no expected anything from at the start of the year but so far they’ve managed to keep picking up results. And against Shenhua they’ll probably stick with their ultra defensive 5-4-1 formation that got them a draw against Guoan on Monday.

It definitely won’t be easy for Shenhua to pick apart a stubborn and well organised Tiger side. But if they are persistent and disciplined they should have enough quality in the final third to get their fourth win of the campaign.

One to watch – Christian Bassogog – The Cameroonian winger has mostly been used a substitute this year, but should have a chance to start after an impressive performance against Dalian on Monday.

Prediction – Shenhua grind out a 2-0 win.

Shanghai Port v Hebei

Thursday, 22nd July

Jiangyin Stadium, Jiangyin

Rumours have been circulating about Hebei’s precarious financial situation and these rumours were given further substance this week with the sale of Brazilian striker Marcao to Wuhan Three Towns.  Losing a key player like Marcao will be a huge blow for Hebei, especially when they don’t have another out and out striker in the squad.

Paulinho will likely be pushed up take on the centre-forward position for the rest of season, but this far from an ideal situation for Hebei.

They still have fairly decent team though and should remain fairly competitive against the leagues weaker clubs. They will however now really struggle against the top sides and getting a result against a CSL powerhouse like Shanghai Port is simply going to be too much to ask for.

One to watch – Ricardo Lopes – Started the season brightly but hasn’t found the net since April. With Arnautovic reportedly not returning, the pressure will be on Lopes to find his shooting boots.

Prediction – Port too good for Hebei and run out 2-0 winners.

Dalian Pro v Wuhan

Thursday, 22nd July

Kunshan Stadium, Kunshan

Wuhan’s season got a kick in the right direction on Monday with a battling 0-0 draw against Shanghai Port. They’ll have a chance to really jump start their season this Thursday when they face fellow strugglers Dalian Pro.

Dalian Pro incidentally have Wuhan’s previous manager Jose Gonzalez in charge. Given what a terrible job he did at Wuhan last year, his appointment as Dalian manager for this season has been a bit of head scratcher. So far he’s done just as badly at Dalian, with Pro taking only three points from opening six matches.

It’s difficult to predict who will come out on top in this bottom of the table clash but given Wuhan’s improved showing against Port, they would seem the more likely to win.

One to watch – Anderson Lopes – Wuhan’s big signing during the break. The Brazilian striker made his debut with substitute appearance on Monday and should play bigger role against Dalian Pro this Thursday.

Prediction – 2-1 to Wuhan as they get the monkey of their back and claim their first win of the season.

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