The CSL is back at it again. Can the top teams bounce back from poor recent form and then there’s the ever overhanging question this season. Can Guizhou or Dalian manage to string some kind of form together to at least pretend they won’t be relegated by mid-July? Well, they’re playing each other in a true relegation-six-pointer this weekend.
Can TEDA make it three on the bounce?
It’s been two draws on the trot for Shandong Luneng, while Tianjin TEDA have won three in a row. Can Shandong finally make the most out of Shanghai SIPG’s recent dip in form or will TEDA continue to climb up the ladder? A win could see them go sixth, while a loss could mean Shandong fall as far as fifth. It’s all live in two hours!
Are Guoan finally getting back to the top?
No Beijing Guoan fan has dared to hope just yet, they’ve seen their team crash and burn too many times to do that. But there is a slight glimmer of something reminiscent of hope, deep down in their hearts. Whisper it very quietly. Could this be the season Beijing win the league, or at the very least get back in the Champions League? They are only one point behind league leaders Shanghai SIPG and are the only side to have lost only once in the opening ten games.
By now in recent years they would have been long gone in the title fight and slightly lagging in the CL fight, but this year they are third. Next up is Changchun Yatai who have not won in two games and are having a difficult season, where they were perhaps hoping to challenge for a top five position if all went well. A win is a must for them, although it seems they can hold off relegation for now.
R&F are on the up but face surprisingly tough opposition
It was a really, really poor start to the season for Eran Zahavi and company but they are ever so slightly gaining momentum. Three games undefeated and next up are Henan Jianye. But Henan are in surprisingly good form given their third-from-bottom spot with two wins in a row. This could be a tighter affair than what the league table might suggest.
Mid-table affair that could have been a top table clash
It’s true. I thought that perhaps Hebei China Fortune vs Chongqing Lifan could be a top tier clash this season, but instead it is a barely-top-half vs bottom-half clash. Hebei are sitting in ninth and are disappointing absolutely everybody, while Chongqing Lifan are down in 12th and impressing absolutely nobody. But a win could turn the tide for either side. If Hebei win they can latch onto the lower rungs of the top five battle. The same can be said for Chongqing who will also have the added bonus of leapfrogging Hebei if they win.
Evergrande look to turn around
A draw and a loss in their last two games and a very, very beatable Guangzhou Evergrande is what travels to Beijing to face Beijing Renhe. Renhe look to be safe this season, as long as Dalian and Guizhou keep being this bad, and are sitting in a comfortable 10th. But while their form is the same as Evergrande, you would think Guangzhou should win this fairly comfortably, but this has not been the Evergrande of recent years they are also struggling in the Champions League, read how the first leg of the ACL clash with Tianjin Quanjian went and find out about the second leg here later today, at 3:30 UK time.
Another clash that should have been more than it is
This is another one of the matches that should have been a top of the table match, but only Shanghai Shenhua have done well this season in sixth place. Tianjin Quanjian have disappointed and are way down in 11th. Shenhua are sniffing at the Champions League spots and could, with a win, draw level with Shanghai SIPG and Shandong if they both lose. For Tianjin’s part they could crawl back into the top ten with a win. That’s a far cry from where they were last year.
The relegation battle that could almost relegate one team
Yes, we’re only ten games into this season and this could be a tad bit overdramatic, but if Dalian Yifang beat Guizhou Hengfeng, the latter could have as much as 9 points up to a safe spot. That is a lot for a team that has only won one game this season. But one game is also all Dalian have won, their win came as recent as two weeks ago, against Guangzhou Evergrande nonetheless. A win for Dalian could push them right up into Henan Jianye’s backs. If they fail to win their match only one point could separate Dalian and sweet, sweet freedom.
Can SIPG return to winning ways after squandering the lead
At one point it seemed they would run away with the league. That’s how good Shanghai SIPG looked. But then it all went a bit wrong somehow. Now they haven’t won in four, and only have two points to show from those four winless matches. That form seems more like relegation form than a title contender. They take on Jiangsu Suning who were just that, a relegation contender, last season. They have managed to come back to the level people expected last season and have won two in a row since losing to Evergrande three games back. If Jiangsu win they will overtake SIPG and could take the league lead if the rest of the results go their way. It’s a real heavyweight match!