China v Wales: Giggs era will start with a win

Wales manager Ryan Giggs.
Will Ryan Giggs' reign as Wales manager get off to a winning start against China?
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Dan Fitch is backing Wales to give Ryan Giggs a debut victory over China...

"China have lost two of their last three games against European teams."

Back Wales to win at [1.9]

China [4.9] v Wales [1.9]; The Draw [3.35]
Thursday, 11:30 GMT
Live On BBC Wales

Lippi improving Chinese fortunes

China's players might be unfamiliar foes for Wales, but their manager has locked horns with the new Wales boss Ryan Giggs on several occasions.

Marcello Lippi won five Serie A titles and a Champions League with Juventus, before steering the Italian national team to the World Cup in 2006. In 2012 he made the move to the Chinese Super League with Guangzhou Evergrande and after winning a host of trophies in Asia, became manager of China in 2016.

The 69-year old may have proved himself to be a master tactician, but Lippi is no miracle worker. China's international side will no doubt prosper over time as the investment in the Super League and youth development in the country pays off. For now, Lippi must make do with a squad with limited talent, though there are signs that he's making the most of what he's got to work with.

Though they enter the China Cup without a win in any of their last five games, Lippi's team performed credibly in their latter World Cup qualifiers. Arriving midway through the qualification process to take over a struggling Chinese side, Lippi inspired them to take ten points from a possible 15.

Giggs era begins

Ryan Giggs makes his debut as the Welsh managers and unlike most of his predecessors, he has high standards to live up to.

The history of the Welsh international team is littered with failures, but in recent seasons it has been a story of steady improvement and success. The transformative work of Gary Speed was built upon by Chris Coleman, peaking with a semi-final place at Euro 2016. It's a lot for Giggs to live up to, but he has the benefit of inheriting a squad with a winning mentality, unburdened by the disappointments of the past.

Appointing former international players despite their lack of experience has worked well for Wales, with Speed, Coleman and before them Mark Hughes, all enjoying success, but Giggs arrives with a little extra baggage. Footage of his team talks when the caretaker manager of Manchester United showed him to seemingly be tactically vague and lacking in inspirational qualities.

There was also a lot of goodwill lost by Giggs during his playing career with Wales, due to his poor record when it came to playing friendlies. Thankfully, Gareth Bale has made the effort to travel to China for the friendly tournament, though the injured Aaron Ramsey is unavailable to Giggs.

Value price for Welsh win

Wales are the [1.9] favourites, with the draw at [3.35] and China out at [4.9].

The Welsh are without a win in three games, with their most recent outing seeing them draw in a home friendly against Panama. Yet with their players looking to impress their new manager, odds approaching evens could prove to be good value. China have lost two of their last three games against European teams.

Wales can keep a clean sheet

Under 2.5 goals is the favourite at [1.55], with overs out at [2.46].

There's no doubt that these odds reflect the fact that Wales have seen less than three goals in their last ten games, but with a new manager in charge there's no reason to think that they won't play in a more open manner against modest opposition.

For their part, three of China's last four games have seen over 2.5 goals, with Lippi's side conceding nine goals in those games. It's certainly worth considering, as is the perhaps safer bet of Wales keeping a clean sheet at [1.9], with China having failed to score in their last two games against non-Asian sides.

Can Bale get back to his best?

Gareth Bale failed to score for Wales in 2017, during a period in which he suffered multiple injuries and only played three games for his country. Yet in the prior six years, Bale scored 23 goals in 38 games for Wales and having scored at the weekend for Real Madrid, looks too big at [2.2] to find the net.

Dan Fitch 2017/18 Season P/L

Staked: 433.0 pts
Returned: 442.67 pts
P/L: +9.67 pts

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