After a break of almost two months the Chinese Super League returns this week. Before the break both Guangzhou and Beijing Guoan had their week five matches postponed in a bid to protect national team players ahead of China’s crucial World Cup qualifiers. With these qualifiers now out the way, these games have now been rescheduled and will be the first batch of matches in the next phase of the 2021 CSL season.
Both Guoan and Guangzhou found some good form before the break. And it will be interesting to see whether they will be able to carry this momentum forward into the coming weeks.
Henan Songshan Longmen v Guangzhou
Thursday, 15th July
Huadu Stadium, Guangzhou
Henan’s last match before the break, saw them throw away a golden opportunity to pick up their first win of the season. Surrendering a 2-0 second-half lead, to go down 3-2 against Chongqing.
Henan are unlikely to get that first win this Thursday. Coming up against a Guangzhou team that had seemed to hit its stride before the break, with back-to-back wins against two of this winter’s biggest spending sides.
Henan’s best hope is to put in a battling display in a similar vein to their performance against Shandong and hope they get a few lucky breaks along the way. Their chances will be severely dented however by the suspension of Bosnian centre-back Toni Sunjic. Sunjic has been the glue that has held Henan’s backline together this season and without him they could be in for a very rough evening.
One to watch – Elkeson – Has got off to a slow start this season but could get a couple goals on Thursday night.
Prediction– A ruthless Guangzhou dispatch Henan, with an emphatic 4-0 win.
Beijing Guoan v Hebei
Friday, 16th July
Jiangyin Sports Center Stadium, Suzhou
Slaven Bilic’s Beijing Guoan have got their season back on track with back-to-back wins and will face a real test this Sunday as come up against a Hebei team that is undefeated so far this season.
Hebei’s success so far this year has largely come from a solid and well organised back four that has been difficult to breakdown. If Guoan are going to make it three in a row, Zhang Xizhe could be Guoan’s key man. With Jonathan Viera out injured they will need Zhang Xizhe’s creative flair to bring forwards Zhang Yuning and Cedric Bakambu into the game.
One to watch – Zhang Xizhe – Could be the key unlocking Hebei’s defence.
Prediction – Guoan keep the ball rolling with a 2-0 win.