Thai Premier League
The 2011 Thai Premier League Championship has already become a two-horse race between PEA Buriram and Chonburi. Most Thai football experts are tipping PEA to be the eventual champions, but for the sake of entertainment, I hope that Chonburi can hold on to the PEA coattails and keep the title race interesting.
The reigning two times champions Muangthong Utd, have been inconsistent and currently sit in 6th place. Looking at the positives so far, they’ve kept 8 clean sheets out of 11 and are unbeaten at home. On the flip side of the coin, they’ve only won once away from the Thunderdome and have only scored 13 goals in 11 games. That’s definitely not the form of champions!! Thong’s best chance of a trophy could be the AFC cup. Last season they reached the semi-final of the competition and will be hoping that the experience learned from last year can help them lift the cup this time around.
Bangkok Glass and Thai Port have both had disappointing campaigns so far. Bangkok Glass are mid-table while Thai Port are hovering just above the relegation zone. BG have been very inconsistent and many of the BG faithful aren’t happy with the lackluster performances they’ve had to endure this season. Thai Port’s troubles have been of their own making. The boardroom battle between Super Rich and Port Authority has deeply affected morale in the camp. Also the failure to replace star striker Jo has seen the goals dry up with only 9 from 11 games.
Other local teams BEC Tero, Police United and Army United are all currently in the top 5. That’s a vast improvement from last season and a top 5 placing would be a decent finish for any of these teams. On current form TOT would be in the top 5 with them, but after losing their first 5 games, I’m sure they’ll currently be happy with the 13th position they occupy just now.
Similar to the TPL, the 1st division has developed into a two-horse race between Buriram FC and BBCU. They are both unbeaten and sit on 30 points, and are 11 points clear of 4th placed Songkla. As 3 teams will be promoted, both are looking odds on to be playing with the big boys next season. The remaining place could go to any one of about 8 teams. Bangkok United will be hoping to be that team and make a swift return to the TPL.
Air Force United are 5 points off promotion and 5 points off relegation. They have the league’s top goalscorer, Anusak, so the Airmen will need him to keep banging in the goals if they want to join the promotion chasing pack.
RBAC, Thai Honda, Bangkok FC and JW Rangsit are all firmly set in the relegation battle. With 4 teams being relegated, we could see at least 2 or 3 of them dropping down to Division 2. RBAC are almost certain to go down with Thai Honda looking likely to join them. Bangkok and JW Rangsit will both be happy to remain in Division 1 after being promoted from the Bangkok Regional league last year.
2nd Division (Bangkok)
After 10 games, North Bangkok Uni and Prachinburi occupy the top 2 spots. Amazingly, both have only played one home game each and 9 away games due to home ground reconstruction. With an abundance of home games to come, both must be feeling confident of reaching the Division 2 Champions League playoff. Rajvithi and Kasetsart appear to be the other contenders although Samutprakarn United, Bangkok Christian and Nontaburi could come into contention if they can hit a run of form.