Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s Chinese Super League clash between Wuhan and Wuhan Three Towns, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
The hosts currently top the standings after winning all three of their league matches, while their city neighbours sit two points further back in second place.
Wuhan avoided the relegation playoff by just one point last season, but the early signs of the current campaign suggest that a relegation battle may be out of the question.
Shanghai Port were edged out on the opening matchday before Hebei were ousted via a 2-1 scoreline thanks to a 90th-minute winner from Felicio Brown Forbes.
After winning their opening two matches, Wuhan’s quest for a third consecutive victory looked to be heading for failure as the goalless contest drifted into the final 10 minutes.
However, Li Peng struck in the 81st minute to ensure his side are the only team in the Chinese Super League that are yet to drop points this season.
Although they have only scored four goals in their opening three games, a strong defence that has kept two clean sheets has proven key to Wuhan’s early success.
Wuhan Three Towns, meanwhile, are enjoying their first campaign in the top flight after winning promotion last season by topping the Jia League.
Their campaign began with a comprehensive 4-0 away win against Hebei before thrashing Guangzhou 6-0, giving them maximum points after two matches.
They looked on course to rack up a third consecutive victory when Xie Pengfei opened the scoring in the 10th minute against Shanghai Shenhua, but a stoppage-time equaliser from Bi Jinhao ensured Wuhan Three Towns had to settle for a point.
Shanghai Shenhua’s late equaliser also denied Wuhan Three Towns the chance to join their city neighbours on nine points.
Despite dropping two points on Sunday, Wednesday’s visitors know that a win in midweek would see them leapfrog Wuhan FC in the league table.
Wuhan Chinese Super League form:
Wuhan Three Towns Chinese Super League form:
After being given his first starting opportunity of the season against Guangzhou, Asmir Kajevic is expected to keep his place in the Wuhan starting lineup.
Brown Forbes will keep his place in the frontline, with the 30-year-old looking to add to the two goals he has scored this season.
Meanwhile, Xie will be looking to continue his fine run of form after scoring in the last two matches.
Wuhan possible starting lineup:
Z. Wang; Ming, Viana, P.Li, Xu; Jia. Hu, Nie, Y. Liu; R. Hu, Jin. Hu, Brown Forbes
Wuhan Three Towns possible starting lineup:
D. Liu; Deng, Wallace, Y. Liu; Xie, Stanciu, X. Zhang, H. Zhang; Davidson, Ademilson
We say: Wuhan 1-1 Wuhan Three Towns
Both teams enter the contest in fine form, and we think that could result in a close-fought contest, and with both sides desperate to maintain their unbeaten records, we believe the two teams will settle for a point apiece.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.