Guangzhou Evergrande v Shanghai Shenhua
Shenhua to score at 1.62 with William Hill (BTTS above 1.75 also backable)
- Evergrande are likely without Li Xuepeng(LB), Browning (CB), Yan Dinghao (CM), Zhang Xiuwei (CM), Liu Dianzuo (starting GK), Fernando (new Brazilian arrival - Winger) and Luo Guofu (CF AKA Aloísio) - While none have been ruled out, Cannavaro has hinted at fitness issues
- Paulinho and Talisica who are two of the best players in the league will be available but they’ve only recently joined back up with the squad so it’s unknown how ready they’ll be.
- Shanghai Shenhua were a gold mine for high scoring games last season. since Kang-hee Choi was appointed their games averaged 3.8 per game (1.73 for, 2.06 against)
- The mid-season arrivals of Stephan El Shaarawy and Korean Kim Shin-wook helped massively in the final third, these two combined with Moreno made for a devastating attack
- From 12 starts Kim Shin-wook averaged 0.86 goals per match. Moreno and El Shaarawy ‘Goals+Assists’ contribution per 90 was 0.53 and 0.57 respectively (all 3 are expected to start)
- Looking at their last 13 league games from last season we see 1.76xG per game and 1.83 goals so we can definitely make the case that they have at least one goal in them here.
- This game is at a neutral venue (Dalian), Evergrandes xGA outside Guangzhou rises from 0.9 (home) to 1.38 (away)
Final word: Evergrande may well have another dominant run this year but their start to the season with late arrivals and team fitness may be an issue here against a very dangerous attacking side.
Dalian Pro v Shandong Luneng
Over 1.5 Dalian Goals at 2.5 with Bet365 - 1.5 units
- With neutral venues being split between Dalian and Suzhou, Dalian will be the only club in the league with home advantage
- Dalian have retained Rafa Benitez and the club is slowing moving forward and is no longer the laughing stock of the league. Since being appointed his side have averaged 1.82 goals per game.
- With Rondon (CF arrived mid-season) playing 60+ mins last season we saw Dalian scores 2 or more goals in 57%
- His contribution last season amounted to 0.95 goals + assists per 90 minutes last season
- Dalian are expected to be at full strength with Rondón leading the line, new signing Larsson (Carrasco replacement from Feyenoord) and Hamsik pulling the strings in midfield
- In terms of xG, Dalian generated 1.64 per 90 last season. This average jumps a bit more though if we filter it to just Rafa Benitez’ games (1.77 per game)
- Although a solid enough defence, Shandong did allow 1.64xGA per game away from home last season
- When travelling away from home against “top half” teams Shandong have allowed 1.9 goals per game
- * Dalian finished 9th last season but I’d rank them in the top half after the improvements under Rafa
Final Word: This bet is not a lock but I’d price it close to 2.1 - 2.25. Shandong are a decent outfit but worth a punt with the implied edge