Dalian vs Shandong
The two teams are ending this stage of the season in opposite directions. Dalian have won just one of the nine games so far and are looking forward to resting. They actually played quite well in the last game, a 2-0 defeat against Zhejiang, but just were unable to get the goals. They didn’t play their usual pressing game as much and look to hit quickly on the transition, but employed a more patient possession game.
Against Shandong, they will probably try to press, though not as high up the pitch as before. Dalian will look to cause problems on the counter-attack however.
Shandong won their sixth game out of seven in beating Changchun Yatai with the first goal from a fantastic cross from Liu Binbin from the left and a great header from Cryzan. With Marouane Fellaini in the team, it gives Shandong an aerial threat which means they can score plenty of goals. They have scored at least two in five of the last six games. The late addition of Chen Pu added some energy and he ended up scoring the winner after being rested in the previous game.
Both teams will be tired after little rotation of players but Shandong have more variety to their game and can go long and direct as well as working the ball wide to get balls into the area. Shandong are much more clinical in attack and have plenty of goals in them.
Zhejiang v Guangzhou City
Zhejiang are going well with ten points from the last five games and are growing in confidence. The 2-0 win over Dalian in the previous round was a clinical display. They absorbed pressure and hit Dalian on the counter and it worked well. There is a good understanding between Franko Andrijasevic in midfield and Nyasha Mushekwi in attack and these two make the team’s biggest goal threat. When Zhejiang struggle going forward it is when opponents target the pair and deny them space to operate but Guangzhou just don’t have the ability to do that and it is likely that the pair will cause many problems in this game.
At the back, Zhejiang have conceded just two goals in the past four games and energetic defensive midfielder Zhang Jiaqi has played a big part in the improvement, working hard and protecting the back four.
When the two teams last met, Zhejiang ran out 4-2 winners but took their feet off the gas after going 4-0 up. Guangzhou have lost eight out of nine and kept only one clean sheet so far this season. The defence has improved a little of late but that is partly because teams are more tired than before and are doing enough to win but don’t want to exert themselves too much. Guangzhou’s best hope will be to try and get men behind the ball as much as possible but it is unlikely to keep Zheijiang out for 90 minutes. Zhejiang are keen to maintain their top half status going into the break and should have too much for Guangzhou.
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