It’s a case of second versus fifth in the Chinese Super League this weekend, when Shandong Luneng face off against Shangai SIPG. With the likes of Brazilian superstars, Hulk and Oscar, Shangai will fancy their chances.
However, Shandong aren’t without their own superstars. Both Papiss Cisse and Graziano Pelle are with the Chinese side and both of those players have previously proven themselves at the highest level. Cisse with Newcastle in the Premier League and Pelle with the Italian national side and in the Serie A.
It will be an interesting game between two of the Chinese Super League’s most exciting teams. Who will come out on top will likely depend on how their star players perform.
Shandong Luneng form
Shandong Luneng come into this game on the back of a hard-fought win over Chanchung Yatai. That match finished 3-2 and displayed all the best and some of the worst qualities of this side. Yes, they were fantastic going forward, but they really did struggle at the back.
Papiss Cisse was on target in that game and was lively throughout. Shanghai will have to neuter his threat if they are to take all three points away from this game. The often-underrated Diego Tardelli also got on the scoresheet. When people discuss the top Brasilian players in the Chinese Super League, his name is often ignored. However, it really shouldn’t be. He is a great player and would be a threat against any defense.
Shanghai SIPG’s form
Shanghai’s last game was against Guangzhou Evergrande. That game ended a score draw and represents a missed opportunity for Shanghai to close in on top-spot. They will be hoping to make amends for that draw against Shandong and get the job done as early as possible.
The aforementioned Hulk has been a revelation since moving to China and will no doubt be a thorn in the side of Shandong. With the likes of Oscar supplying through balls from midfield, it could end up being a very long evening for the home side – particularly when you consider how leaky the Shandong defense is.
The Chinese Super League has hit a crisis in recent days with news that 13 clubs have been warned with expulsion after failing to pay the salaries and bonusses of some players. Considering the growth and increasing interest in the league, it seems a shame that this happened at this particular time. However, it is the case and a new focus has been put on the league over the past week.
It will be good for the footballers to let their skills do the talking and for both Shanghai and Shandong to show that this is a league that is still very much full of quality.
Shanghai are 31/20 to defeat Shandong with Ladbrokes and it’s a result that we can definitely envisage happening. They are above them in the league, they are playing exciting football and we reckon the draw in their last game was just a blip.
They have only lost one of their last six games and look like a side that have the league title in their sights. We just don’t think that Shandung has the defenders to keep Shanghai from scoring, so we think the away side will definitely pick-up a victory here.