The coming season of the Chinese Super League - 2021It is now less than two weeks to go until the premiere of the Chinese Super League 2021 kicks off. Normally, the league has already started at this time of year, but since the Corona virus puts everything on hold, the premiere this season is not until April 20, with December 5 as the end date. The official name of the league in the 2021 season is Ping An Chinese Football Association Super League as the insurance company Ping An is the main sponsor.
A season without a championThe 2020 season was won by Jiangsu Suning after beating Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao (now only Guangzhou) in the final by a total of 2-1 in two games. On February 28 this year, however, Jiangsu Suning's owner Suning Holdings Group announced that it was going to dissolve the club with immediate effect as it wanted to focus on the company's core business and had failed to find new owners for the club. This means that the 2021 season will be played without a reigning champion, if you do not want to consider runners-up Guangzhou as the champions.
Many club names changesMore news for the season is that it is no longer allowed to have a sponsored company name as part of the club name. This has meant that 14 of 16 clubs in the league have now been forced to change their name. It was only the clubs Shenzhen F.C. and Dalian Professional F.C. who did not have their main sponsor in the club's name.
Favorites - GuangzhouFavorites to win this season are without a doubt Guangzhou. Last season, they won the league quite easily and the team is completely packed with Brazilian players. One of the Brazilian players is the national team player Paulinho (formerly Tottenham and Barcelona) who, despite being a midfielder, is a very reliable goal scorer, as well as the talented Anderson Talisca (with merits from Benfica and Besiktas). In addition, they have several "naturalized" Brazilians, which means that they have played in China long enough to get Chinese citizenship and thus are not counted as foreigners in the league anymore, and thus not taking up space as a foreign player.
Candidates to become the top scorer of the leagueUnfortunately for the Chinese league, China itself does not have many players that are reliable goal scorers. The best Chinese goal scorer last season was Wei Shihao who ended up in a shared 10th place with 8 goals scored. The best goal scorer of the Chinese Super League 2020 was instead the Congolese Cédric Bakambu with 14 goals scored (there were few goals scored in total due to the Corona shortened season).
It is always difficult to predict a top scorer winner before a season starts, but clearly Cédric Bakambu is one of the favorites again this year. Guangzhou's Paulinho has been the second-place goal scorer two years straight, but as a midfielder it is always difficult to become the top scorer of a league in the end. It would be nice if a Chinese player could step up this season, but China has a hard time producing really good strikers, instead the best Chinese players are midfielders.