Chinese column – The East Asia young guns and Qingdao-victory

Only two games this weekend in the CSL due to the national games, so we got to see a few of the talents of Shanghai East Asia and Qingdao won 4-1, so now they are above the relegation zone again.

The game in Liaoning on Friday was not the most interesting one this season. Shanghai East Asia without their star player Wu Lei, who is together with the national team and in the first half, the team had two injuries as well, so instead we had the chance to see some of their young talents from their Academy in Chongming.

Tactically the game was not interesting to analyze due to a lot of mistakes, low tempo, and two teams with no inside motivation to really fight for the three points due to their league position safe in no-mans-land. Liaoning came in a 4-4-2 formation, while East Asia continued with their 4-2-3-1, but not many chances were create by none of the teams.

It is always interesting to scout on the next generation and East Asia had a few ‘young guns’ in their team this evening. Number 11 Fu Huan played the left full back and he did a fine job. A relatively big player for a full back position, but his speed is good, he seems solid with the ball, only a few passing mistakes during the game. Right now number 18 Sun Kai should be the first choice on the left full back, but hopefully Fu Huan will put pressure on him next season claiming the spot.

As a winger we saw number 13 Zheng Dalun. A very fast player with dribbling skills and flair, but we also saw some classic young player mistakes in his decision making. This is the most difficult area for a young player coming up. “When to do what” – basically said. And Zheng Dalun tried a few times to dribble against 2-3 opponents and of course he and the team lost the ball, so he needs to learn from his mistakes.

We have already seen number 15 Lin Chuangyi this season, but it was good to see him in 75 minutes. A technically good player - best as an offensive midfielder or fake winger with a good touch on the ball and he can finish as well with both feet.

In general a very poor and uninteresting game, Liaoning won 1-0, but good to see the next generation from the Xu Genbao football school.

Important Qingdao-win
Changchun is down in the relegation zone again after the Qingdao-win on Saturday against Tianjin TEDA. A poor, messy, and unpredictable game where played in Qingdao; TEDA took the lead, but Qingdao out of nothing scored 4 goals in the last 23 minutes.

Due to the bad results, Qingdao had moved the central midfielder number 24 Gabriel Melkam down in the central defense next to the captain number 17 Liu Jian. This change gave Qingdao some more physic in the central area of the defense, but also a player down there, who is calm with the ball and can play the ball forward to keep possession in longer periods for Qingdao. So a correct change by the head coach Goran Stevanovic.

A football team is like a house construction where you need the foundation to be solid as step number one to make the house secure, and then you can build the rest of the house. And 24 Melkam and 17 Jian is a solid defense foundation to build on.

The summer signing of Australian Joel Griffiths has also proven to be a top signing by Qingdao. When a team like Qingdao is in deep trouble like right now, you need a few mentally very strong players to step up, ask for the ball and show the rest which way the team are going. And Griffiths showed from the beginning of the match that he has the right mentality. He made a lot of free kicks, showing an aggressive attitude and shouting to his teammates to step up.

And of course in the end Griffiths scored two goals as well, so he was also crucial in this more simplified aspect of the game.

Qingdao playing almost in a 4-3-3 formation with Griffiths as the right winger had big problems creating chances, but after the 1-1 goal – the team smelled momentum and in the end it was 4-1 – even without a good performance. So Qingdao is above the relegation zone with only three matches to go, and we will have a very interesting fight to avoid relegation all the way to the end.