Shanghai SIPG v Shijiazhuang | Sunday 16th August 2020, 13:00
Early on Sunday afternoon the bookies have priced up Shanghai SIPG versus Shijiazhuang as something of a one-sided affair, which is understandable in one sense.
SIPG have finished in the top three in the Chinese Super League for five seasons running, including their first and only ever top flight title in 2018. Shijiazhuang on the other hand are back in this league after a three season absence, and have adjusted to life back at this level quite nicely.
SIPG have the likes of former Chelsea playmaker Oscar and one time Stoke man Marko Arnautovic doing their thing, whilst summer recruit Ricardo Lopes has quickly established himself as a key performer in Vitor Pereira’s team.
Hulk is still officially on the books of the club but he is winding down his contract ahead of an intended move back to European football. His absence this season has been noted, as SIPG haven’t looked their normal selves thus far.
Sure, they are unbeaten, winning three and drawing the one, and they did hammer Hebei 4-0, but they’ve been tasted in the other contests. In three of their four games they’ve conceded the first goal and been made to work much harder than their talented roster suggests they have to. Hulk was the star man in this pack, and one of the other top foreign players needs to take on that role, but are yet to do so in the same manner.
Shijiazhuang got their first win of the season under their belts last weekend when despatching Tianjin 3-0 at home. Oscar Maritu and Mariqui will lead their attacking line and they will certainly ask plenty of questions of a shaky SIPG defensive unit. This team are ranked joint-fourth in the league in relation to shots on goal, and they’re joint-first in shots on target, alongside SIPG.
SIPG are able to build relentless pressure, especially in the second half of games and that has been getting them over the line this season. It probably should again this weekend.
I do however have a nagging doubt about them defensively, and goalkeeper Yan Junling has looked shaky recently too, and was at fault for the goal conceded to Wuhan last time out. Minus Hulk, they’re not the same to me, and I don’t see this being a home walkover on Sunday.
Shanghai SIPG Double Chance and Both Teams To Score is priced at 10/11 (Bet365) on the bet builder and that should have some legs. Both teams only have one clean sheet in four outings so far, plus they’ve scored in them all, too. Both are strong in attack and I envisage action at both ends.
Rosenborg v Aalesund | Sunday 16th August 2020, 19:30
When we all think of Norwegian football than Rosenborg are naturally the club most of us will think of.
Well, things haven’t been going to plan for them over the last few seasons now, and already this season it looks inevitable that once again that won’t be involved in the title race. Sure, they finished third last season but still some 16 points behind eventual champions Molde. 13 games into this campaign they’re 14 points behind Bodo/Glimt.
Then again, things could be worse and Aalesund have endured a more than difficult start to life back at this level. After a two season absence they are back in the big time but they find themselves bottom of the pack with only one victory to their name. They do at least have a win and draw to their name in their last three, so perhaps they’re acclimatising to this level once more.
That being said, without a doubt the big, big problem for Aalesund is defensively as quite simply they’re conceding goals for fun. They’ve already shipped a whopping 40 goals in Eliteserien action, which is an average of just over three per game. That most definitely needs to change if they’re to climb the table, even more so considering they’re only scoring 1.38 goals per game in reply.
Rosenborg are simply just lacking a bit of consistency to truly challenge the top two in the division. They’re more than capable of putting a run of results together, but back-to-back wins is something they’ve been finding a challenge.
The main reason for that is they’ve lost their last two away from home, but being back at their Lerkendal Stadion will suit. After all, they’re on a four match winning run at home and have lost only twice here since the start of last December.
Quite a lot therefore is pointing towards a home victory on Sunday night, and the only thing that would back me off punting that is the price. Quotes of 1/3 do not appeal given that consistency has generally been their issue, but they won’t get a better chance of scoring a few goals over 90 minutes than facing one of the leakiest defences in Europe.
There is some value however to getting Rosenborg on side and that comes in the goals market. 14 of their 21 points and 16 of their 22 goals have come in home matches so that is generally when you see the best of Rosenborg. I fancy them to knock a few goals in against an Aalesund side that is the only team in the league without a clean sheet.
Rosenborg to Score in Both Halves is 10/11 (William Hill) and looks the most appropriate play. This has paid out in each of their last three at home, whilst in seven of Aalesund’s eight league losses this season has seen them concede 3+ goals, so they tend to ship a few when they lose, which we expect them to do on Sunday. Rosenborg Win and Over 2.5 Goals is 4/5 (BoyleSports) if that also floats your boat.
Shanghai SIPG v Shijiazhuang – Shanghai SIPG Double Chance and Both Teams To Score (10/11 Bet365)
Rosenborg v Aalesund – Rosenborg to Score in Both Halves (10/11 William Hill)