Tonight, the first stage of the Dalian Division A group of the Chinese Super League will all come to an end. Guangzhou Evergrande entered the "winning group" and sprinted to defend the title, while Guangzhou R&F had to struggle in the "relegation group". Throughout the 14 rounds of fierce battle in the first 70 days, what are the gains and losses of the two soldiers in Guangzhou?
Evergrande: Defending the title still needs to face many hidden worries
Evergrande’s data on both offense and defense in the first stage maintained the top two levels of the 16 Super League teams. This season, Evergrande did not introduce large-scale domestic and foreign aid. It only recovered a number of players rented out last season, instead letting many veterans go. But after finishing the subtraction, Evergrande’s personnel reserve is still the most sufficient team among the top 16 teams, and the average age has been significantly reduced.
Judging from the overall performance of the first stage, Evergrande’s dominance is still strong, but its aggressiveness and fluency have not shown absolute advantages. This is related to this year's special competition system. In order to ensure physical fitness and avoid injury, there is a rotation factor in the lineup of each game. In the first stage, 14 games were played. Except for the third goalkeeper Liu Shibo and central defender Liu Yiming, the players Cashuai took to Dalian, the other 28 have all played. The current injury situation is not serious. It laid a good foundation for the second stage.
Objectively speaking, Evergrande still has several obvious hidden worries.
One is the old problem of the left back. After Li Xuepeng has recovered from his injuries for a long time, Ka Shuai has used Micro Motion Wing, Zhong Yihao, Wu Shaocong, Mei Fang and others to appear in this position. In contrast, Micro Motion Wing has the best effect. However, in the second stage, facing the higher-quality offense of the opponents in the championship, the left back is always the biggest shortcoming of Evergrande.
The second is the replacement for the right back. Zhang Linpeng is still the main force in the position of Evergrande. However, with the decline in physical function caused by the increasing age, Zhang Linpeng has repeatedly made low-level errors and unnecessary fouls this season. Once the second stage faces a cruel "elimination system", Zhang Linpeng A slight mistake may cause a fatal blow to Hengda. Although Deng Hanwen can play as a substitute, Cashuai doesn't seem to trust him at the critical moment.
As for the midfield, the challenge Evergrande faces is to choose which two domestic players to assist Paulinho. In the past 14 games, Kashuai has used 7 Chinese players in this position in turn, and tried nearly 10 combinations, but has not yet found an effect that can surpass "Zheng Zhi + Huang Bowen". To achieve this year's goal of winning the double-lane championship, Kashuai must use his brains especially on the multiple-choice question of midfield combination.
至于中场，恒大面临的挑战是选择哪两名国内球员来协助保利尼奥。在过去的14场比赛中，Kashuai依次使用了7位中国球员，并尝试了近10种组合，但尚未发现可以超过“ Zheng Zhi + Huang Bowen”的效果。为了实现今年赢得双车道冠军的目标，Kashuai必须动脑筋，尤其是在中场组合的多项选择问题上。
Looking at the offensive end, Evergrande can also dispatch a variety of Chinese and foreign "trident" combinations. There is no doubt that Wei Shihao's progress and Fernando's joining have enriched Evergrande's attack methods this year. But it must also be admitted that Exxon and Talisca have not recovered to their best condition this year, and Luo Guofu's condition has also seriously declined after long-term rehabilitation.
Reflected in the scorer list, now Evergrande’s top scorer turned out to be Paulinho. In the more fierce second stage of the championship, Kashuai also has to think about the combination of offensive end. After all, it is impossible to require Paulinho to operate at high load and high quality all year round by himself.
An important goal of Evergrande this year is to train more of its own youth training players. Tan Kaiyuan, Permanjiang and Wang Shilong have all appeared in the Super League one after another, among which Tan Kaiyuan has scored in the FA Cup. However, compared with U21 players from other teams in the Chinese Super League, Evergrande has not yet shown much advantage in this regard. As a coach with the goal of defending the title, Cannavaro's coaching ability has improved this year, and then he will be more sensible in handling the balance between performance and training newcomers.
R&F: Speeding up reconstruction in the post-Zahavi era
R&F experienced an extremely bad start this season, which has also led to their failure to reach the top four ever since. Although Van Bronhorst’s entry has injected positive elements of change into the team, the weakness of the team as a whole and the lack of individual abilities of many players directly limit his effect on R&F’s transformation. What worries the outside world is whether R&F’s absolute core and top scorer Zahavi’s farewells over the past four seasons have caused R&F to fall into the rhythm of collapse?
In the past few years, R&F’s poor defense has been ridiculed by the outside world. On the one hand, it must be due to the lack of personal ability of R&F’s defensive players. There is a risky speculative mentality in choice. If things go on like this, R&F has gradually become a "one-man team" for Zahavi, and the disconnect between offense and defense has become more and more serious. Zahawi played 7 rounds at R&F this season. Guangzhou R&F has 2 wins, 1 draw and 4 losses, scored 6 goals and lost 18 goals. Among them, Zahawi’s personal data is 38 shots and 4 goals. After Zahavi left the team in the double-lane 8 games, R & F achieved 2 wins, 3 draws and 3 losses, scored 9 goals and lost 11 goals, the goal points were scattered to 5 people, the offensive and defensive data was clearly balanced.
Facts have proved that the departure of Zahavi has accelerated the pace of reconstruction. Now R&F's entire offensive and defensive system has been completely changed, especially in tactical choices. Van Bronhorst pragmatically adopted 541 tactics, carefully constructed a defensive system of 3 central defenders + 2 defensive midfielders, and resolutely played a defensive counterattack, even if he completely broke up with the previous "pretty football". Even if they lost to Evergrande's second round derby, R&F's defensive performance was actually the best game of the season. More importantly, Zahavi's departure has significantly improved R&F's internal atmosphere, and the cohesion between players has been effectively improved, which may be more important than tactical adjustments.
At the same time, R&F is probably the most frequently used U21 player among the 16 Super League teams this year. Taking the 14th round as an example, R&F ranked 5 U21 players. It should be said that U21 goalkeeper Han Jiaqi occupies the main force of R&F this year, and his performance is commendable. Wen Yongjun, who is only 17 years old, also shines. U21 players such as Wu Chengru, Wang Huapeng and Zhang Jinliang also performed impressively. As for Huang Zhengyu, who was qualified as a U23 player in the last year, he scored his first goal in the Super League.
In the next second stage, R&F must resolve the loan issue of foreign aid to replace the departure of Zahavi and Saba. At the same time, R&F must seriously sum up the lessons of the first stage, and work harder on training and management, hoping to go further in the FA Cup in addition to achieving relegation.