Chinese column - Vital Changchun-win

This week, I saw three of the teams involved in the relegation battle live, and we can conclude that Qingdao is looking to join Wuhan as the team going down to league for one next season.

Horrible Qingdao-performance
Qingdao played a 100 % horrible game on Friday in Shanghai against East Asia. Not entirely because of their big 1-6 loss, but mainly due to unfocused and demotivated players from the first second of the match. The management of Qingdao better look in the mirror and consider whether they have the right staff and squad, because this performance was unacceptable at a professional level.

The central defense with 4 Gustavo and 17 Liu Jian made some classic mistakes being too aggressive and focused on winning the ball instead of keeping their goal protected. Therefore East Asia scored after just 16 seconds played. Number 24 Gabriel Melkam was the only player performing well and trying to hit back during the game, but he was too alone. There we no clear concept or gameplan, and I could not see what the head coach have told the players on the tactical meeting before the match. How would Qingdao win the game? How would they pressure East Asia? How should they create chances themselves? Impossible to – statistically – find an answer during the 90 minutes.

I must admit as being a coach that I’m chocked a team fighting for their spot in CSL 2014 can perform this bad. Not only in terms of style, concept or passing quality, but also in terms of attitude and mentality. I analyzed players, who did not care or were more focused on injuring the East Asia players than winning the game.

The Qingdao offense was also non-existing and they are the team in the league with the lowest number of goals so far – a total of 20 after 25 rounds.
They decided to sell their top player number 10 Zheng Long in the transfer window which probably was a good deal if we consider the finances, but Long was the key offensive player, the architect in the team, so it can be an expensive departure if Qingdao is relegated on November 3rd.

East Asia moved up to 6th place after an easy, but solid win and again, I must applause Wu Lei for another top performance. Not only because of his 3 goals, but due to his mentality. He is “an honest player”, because he works and runs until he almost faints. You can always count on him and his work rate as a coach, and it is a sublime skill to have together with the rest of the football repertoire.

Changchun too much for unmotivated Shenxin
On Sunday a huge relegation battle too place in Pudong, Shanghai – Shenxin vs. Changchun. Again I was surprised that Shenxin did not come with more energy into this match. Let’s face the facts: Shenxin are not safe yet even though they are in a stable position. In their 4-4-1-1 system they seemed not-aggressive and not-motivated in the first half. I’m not sure why some of their foreign players; Number 26 Johnny and 19 Kieza did not play, but the 11 players did not seem to invest too much in the first half.

Therefore Changchun could build up their game with patience and a lot of possession phases. They played a bit too slow to really punish Shenxin, but got some chances and were 1-0 up at half time. Changchun is a fine passing style team with a top striker in number 10 Isac as the lonely man on top. A player, who can create chances on his own.

The Changchun game plan was to find space in between the opponent’s organization and then they are looking for the deep pass to number 20 J. Rezek, who took some very good deep runs across of the pitch or 10 Isac. Number 11 Zhang Wenzhao also played a good game and showed offensive skills in 1:1 actions and as a combination player on the last third of the pitch for Changchun.

Number 35 Eninho is a great player on the midfield, moving towards the defense to receive the ball to set the play for Changchun. He is very important for their style and is calm enough to change the tempo in the game from slow to fast or the other way around. He can sense the game and can distribute the right passes at the right time.

In my opinion Shenxin has lost their concept and energy since they fired their coach Zhu Jiong. I have not seen them play well since he left the club and the results has not been better as well. They were better in the second half of the Changchun-game, but only based on more energy and will – still no clear concept and too many technical mistakes. Number 16 Yu Tao came out extremely aggressive and his teammates followed his example and started to win some duels and regain possession.

Unfortunately Shenxin missed number 19 Kieza in front as they have no other reel strikers in the squad. Number 2 Mao Jianqing is a fine technical player, but he is not a central striker and performs better facing the goal than with his back to the goal as he did on Sunday. So Shenxin never came really close to an equalizer, and due to the loss they are still involved in the relegation battle together with Changchun, who went a position up with the three points.