Sports Mole previews Thursday’s Chinese Super League clash between Tianjin Jinmen Tiger and Chengdu Qianbao, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Tianjin Jinmen Tiger will play host to Chengdu Qianbao on Thursday, with both sides still winless after three Chinese Super League matches.
The hosts occupy 13th position, while Chengdu Qianbao sit a place further back due to a poorer goal difference.
Tianjin avoided last season’s relegation playoff by two points, and the early signs this time around suggest that they could be involved in another battle against the drop.
The campaign started with a 1-1 away draw against Meizhou Hakka, but rather than building upon that point, Tianjin have gone on to suffer consecutive defeats.
They were edged out 2-1 by Shenzen in their first home match of the season, before heading on their travels to face Beijing Guoan on Monday.
Yu Genwei‘s side looked set to play out a goalless draw, but Marko Dabro‘s 86th-minute winner condemned Tianjin to a narrow 1-0 defeat.
After ending their previous campaign with four consecutive clean sheets, Thursday’s hosts will be determined to discover that defensive resilience as they bid to move up the league table.
As for the visitors, they have struggled to adjust to life in the top flight after winning promotion via the playoffs last season.
After losing 2-0 away to Shenzhen on the opening day of the season, Chengdu Rongcheng endured a disastrous outing against Beijing Guoan, losing 3-2 while finishing the contest with eight-men, with Abduhamit Abdugheni, Gou Junchen and Tim Chow all shown red cards.
They will at least head into Thursday’s contest with a renewed sense of belief after playing out a goalless draw against Cangzhou on Sunday to clinch their first point of the season.
Although they can take positives from their first clean sheet of the campaign, Chengdu Qianbao are one of six teams that are yet to win in the Chinese Super League this season.
With Sunday’s clean sheet coinciding with the first time they have drawn a blank in the final third this season, the challenge for Seo Jung-won will be to find the right balance between defence and attack.
Tianjin Jinmen Tiger Chinese Super League form:
Chengdu Qianbao Chinese Super League form:
Zhou Tong could miss out for the hosts after the 31-year-old was withdrawn in the 31st minute of Monday’s encounter with Beijing Guoan.
If Zhou is not fit enough to feature then Wang Qiuming may be presented with a starting opportunity in the centre of midfield.
Ba Dun and Dejan Radonjic could also come into the starting lineup after appearing as second half substitutes against Beijing Guoan.
As for the visitors, Chow could return to starting lineup after serving a one-match suspension, which could result in Wu Guichao dropping down to the bench.
Chow’s inclusion could be the only change made to the side that picked up Chengdu Qianbao’s first point of the season on Sunday.
That would mean Felipe Silva will continue to operate in a front two alongside Kim Min-woo, with the pair both looking for their first goals on the season.
Tianjin Jinmen Tiger possible starting lineup:
Xu; Z Wang, Song, Andujar; Su, Q. Wang, Zhao, Piao, Rosa; Radonjic, Ba
Chengdu Qianbao possible starting lineup:
Geng; T. Liu, R. Hu, J. Hu; R. Gan, Chow, Feng, Romulo, H. Hu; Kim, Silva
We say: Tianjin Jinmen Tiger 1-1 Chengdu Qianbao
Both sides enter the contest with just one point in three games, and with winning proving to be a difficult task for the two teams, we think they could cancel each other out on Thursday, resulting in the spoils being shared.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.