Chinese Super League Previews, Predictions & Betting Tips

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Chinese Super League

The Chinese Super League is the top tier of professional football in China, organised by the Chinese Football Association (CFA).

The league was created in 2004 following a rebranding of the former top division Chinese Football Association Jia-A League. It is one of the most popular professional sports leagues in China, with an average attendance of 23,766 for league matches in the 2017 season.

The Chinese Super League was originally contested by 12 teams in its inaugural year but has since expanded to 16 teams. Unlike in many top European leagues, the Chinese Super League starts in February or March and ends in November or December. 

All teams play each other home and away with league position determined by the highest number of points accumulated during the season. The two lowest placed teams are relegated to the China League One with the top two teams from League One promoted.

When the AFC Champions League began in 2002-03, two Chinese clubs were allowed in the competition. However, qualification for the tournament was changed in 2009 with four Chinese clubs entering the AFC Champions League. The four teams are made up of the top three teams in the Chinese Super League and the Chinese FA Cup winners.

A total of 31 teams have competed in the Chinese Super League since its inception. The title has been won by six teams with Guangzhou Evergrande the most successful with seven titles. The next best is Shandong Luneng Taishan with three titles, Shenzhen Jianlibao, Dalian Shide, Changchun Yatai, Beijing Guoan all winning once.

There was a significant investment boost in the Chinese Super League in 2015  with many top players from Europe lured to China with huge salaries. In 2018, the average salary for CSL players was the sixth-highest of any professional football league in the world.

The Chinese Super League introduced new rules in 2018 stating that each club must register 31 players, including 27 Chinese players including a player from Hong Kong, Macau and Chinese Taipei with four 4 foreign players.

Between 2016 and 2018 there were six player to move from Europe to the Chinese Super League for €30 million or more. These include Oscar to Shanghai SIPG for €60m, Hulk to Shanghai SIPG for €55.8m, Alex Teixeira to Jiangsu Suning for €50m, Jackson Martínez to Guangzhou Evergrande for €42m, Cédric Bakambu to Beijing Sinobo Guoan for €40m and Yannick Carrasco to Dalian Yifang for €30 million.

There is a big disparity between the foreign players and Chinese players in success on the pitch. Foreign players dominate the goals and assists tallies with many of the Chinese players playing in defence and playing complimentary roles.

Paulinho's move from Guangzhou Evergrande's to Barcelona for €40 million in 2017 broke the record for transfer fee for a CSL player to another league. 

Many high profile managers have been seduced by the Chinese Super League, with World Cup winning managers Marcello Lippi and Luiz Felipe Scolari habing success at Guangzhou Evergrande. Other respected managers that have coached in China include Fabio Capello, Felix Magath, Manuel Pellegrini, André Villas-Boas and Sven-Göran Eriksson.

The current Chinese Super League champions are Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao who have won seven titles in a row.

Recent Chinese Super League Winners & Runners-Up


2017Guangzhou EvergrandeShanghai SIPG
2016Guangzhou Evergrande
Jiangsu Suning
2015Guangzhou Evergrande
Shanghai SIPG
2014Guangzhou Evergrande
Beijing Guoan
2013Guangzhou Evergrande
Shandong Luneng Taishan
2012Guangzhou Evergrande
Jiangsu Sainty
2011Guangzhou Evergrande
Beijing Guoan
2010Shandong Luneng Taishan
Tianjin Teda
2009Beijing Guoan
Changchun Yatai
2008Shandong Luneng Taishan
Shanghai Shenhua

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