Henan v Meizhou
Henan are in excellent form after winning their last four games and are looking increasingly dangerous going forward. Now they are second in the goalscoring stakes behind Wuhan and third in the league in total.
The 3-0 win over Beijing last time was impressive and showed a team that has become increasingly cohesive and it looks well-coached, causing problems from set pieces and forging chances from open lay also.
Top scorer Karanga was left on the bench and came on in the last ten minutes to score. He is expected to start and should be fully rested. In the last couple of games, however, Brazilian forward Henrique Dourado has stepped forward and really impressed. Henan always give a chance or two away but offer such a varied attacking threat that teams can’t keep them out.
The only negative is that, after fans were allowed in the home stadium for the first time last week, the ban on fans has been re-imposed.
Meizhou have adapted to their first season in the top flight really well and have quietly climbed up into sixth place. They have, however, yet to play any of the teams above them and this is, in some ways, their real first test.
They will keep things tight to keep out the high scoring Henan and look to their Montenegrin midfielder Nebojsa Kosivic and Serbian striker Aleksa Vukanovic to grab a goal as both have become increasingly influential. Yet their defence has not faced a talented and confident attack like Henan’s and a third defeat of the season is likely.
Guangzhou City v Wuhan Yangzte
These are two struggling teams and are not usually ones that score a good number of goals but this is a game in which both will see opportunities to get a rare win. Guangzhou’s young team have lost nine in a row and are, unsurprisingly, bottom. In their last four games however, they have faced four of the top five and while they have lost them all, they were competitive in most, expect perhaps for last week’s 3-0 loss to the unstoppable Wuhan Three Towns.
This then is their first chance to play a fellow struggler for some time and the sounds coming out of Guangzhou are that they really want to get off the bottom. With the team looking fresh and younger than most, there is plenty of energy.
Wuhan have won just one of the last eight and have slipped down the table after a good start in which they won their first three games. Defensisvely, they have struggled even if they have faced top teams in their last few games.
Like Guangzhou, Wuhan see this as a game in which to bounce back. There have been fewer reports of wage issues in recent days and morale seems better. The two teams don’t have much firepower but leave a lot of holes at the back when they do push forward. Wuhan are the favourites to win the game but they are also a team that has forgotten how to keep a clean sheet and Guangzhou fancy they can get something out of this.
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