China Over 0.5 team goals (China to score) at 1.74 with Pinnacle (min 1.61)
China +1 Asian Handicap at 1.72 with Unibet/888/Bet Victor (min 1.6)
- This game will be played on a neutral ground (Doha, Qatar), so no home field advantage for the Australians
- Australia have won all 4 of their matches in 2021 but all came against vastly weaker opposition (Kuwait, Taiwan, Nepal, and Jordan)
- The last time Australia played competitive football with similar strength sides was in the 2019 Asian Cup, they faced UAE, Uzbekistan, and Syria, all are on a similar level China, but none have the attacking talent China do (more on that below)
- In those three games they kept one clean sheet and allowed on average 1.35xGA
- Australia's squad looks strong enough but a few have pulled out because of the COVID situation, Mathew Leckie being the main one
- Leckie said he was devastated to withdraw but didn't want to be held in quarantine for so long
- Graham Arnold has taken charge of 17 games (not including Olympics) 13 of which were competitive. From those 13 games only one team was ranked higher than China (UAE) and they lost that game 1-0.
- The only clean sheet against a Top 100 nation came against Uzbekistan in the Asian Cup, Uzbekistan were managed by the ultra conservative Hector Cuper so they 0-0 there wasn't that surprising
- China have won 5 straight games, and although some were against minnows like Guam, Hong Kong, and the Maldives, the 3-1 win over Syria and 2-0 win over the Philippines looks positive especially considering how positive the underlying metrics look
- From these games, they scored 19 goals and conceded once. Their xG per 90 was 3.28, and xGA p90 was 0.18
- China have several naturalized foreigners in their squad now, Tyias Browning (Jiang Guangtai), Elkeson (Ai Kesen), Alan (A Lan), and Aloisio (Luo Guofu), the foremost names
- Elkeson, Alan, and Aloisio are CSL veterans at this stage and provide a much-needed impetus in attack. Between Elkeson and Alan, they have 7 goals from 8 appearances combined. Aloisio is yet to be capped but is in the squad
- China also have Wu Lei (plays in LaLiga, 23 International goals), Wei Shihao, and Zhang Yuning (2nd highest goal contributor in CSL after Oscar), so their attack is stacked coming into this game.
- Under Li Tie China have only failed to score once, which came in the East Asian Championship against Korea. Looking at the squads it seems none of the nations took that tournament too seriously, so I'd put little weight into the result
- Although it's difficult to gauge form when playing teams like Guam and the Maldives, I think we can be optimistic that China will now offer more of a threat since moving on from Marcello Lippi and the introduction of the naturalized foreigners.
Final word: With this being in a neutral venue Australia look too short for me. Expect a competitive game with China scoring at least once.