Thursday, November 10, 2011

Weekend Preview November 11-15

World Cup Qualifier - Group D
Saudi Arabia v Thailand (Fri)
Oman v Australia (Fri)

Thailand v Australia (Tues)
Saudi Arabia v Oman (Tues)

The Socceroos need just one win from their last three games to guarantee progression to the next stage of World Cup qualification. With the advancement of the Australian side almost a certainty, it leaves a three way fight between Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Oman for the second qualification spot. Frank Rijkaard's Saudi side will be confident of making it as they have two home games against Thailand and Oman, and possibly a relaxed Aussie side when they travel Down Under on the last day. For Thailand, they need to go Riyadh on Friday and get at least a point. A loss wouldn't end their qualification prospects, but it would leave them probably needing 6 points from Australia at home and Oman away to reach the next round. A win for Australia in Oman would be a big boost for Thailand as it would surely nullify the threat of Paul la Guen's Oman side.

The current league standings are: Australia 9 points, Thailand 4, Saudi Arabia 2 and Oman 1.

TTM Phichit v Police Utd (Sat)

The stop-start TPL season has meandered along aimlessly and it's been hard to keep focus and to a lesser extent, interest, as to what's been happening lately. The only game this weekend is a rearranged one between TTM and Police Utd. The Insee boys failed to turn up for their last scheduled game against Buriram PEA, and were subsequently booted out of the FA Cup. A victory for Police Utd would lift them into 5th place in the TPL.

Division 1
Chantaburi v Saraburi (Sun)

A point for Chantaburi would move them out of the relegation zone. Saraburi have drawn 50% of their games this season. I wouldn't bet against a draw in this one.

Division 2 Play-offs
(Group A)
Loei City v Ratchaburi (Sat)
Pattalung v Phitsanoluk (Sat)
Phichit v Kasetsart (Sun)

(Group B)
Krabi v Lamphun (Sun)
North Bangkok v Roi Et (Sun)
Korat v Rayong (Sun)

Matchday 5 and 6 will be double headers as the fixture list mirrors itself. In Group A leaders, Ratchaburi, travel to Loei City. The Dragons will fancy beating Loei at home next weekend so they may well settle for a point up in Issan. A win for Pattalung over Phitsanoluk would set them up nicely for the run in. If they won, Pattalung would open up a 5 point advantage with 5 games to play over their northern opponents and it would leave Phitsanoluk with a mountain to climb. Phichit and Kasetsart will play on Sunday in their bids to avoid the wooden spoon.
North Bangkok will use their 5th home venue this year as the IPE Stadium in Chonburi will host their game against Roi Et. The White Squirrels will see the double header against Nth Bangkok as a must for 6 points, and an opportunity to close in on the promotion places. Leaders, Krabi will need to take advantage against Lamphun as closest rivals Rayong and Korat will clash in the next two games. The game between Korat and Rayong doesn't advocate many goals as Rayong's 4 games so far have averaged 0.5 goals per game, while noises coming from the Swat Cat fan club suggest growing frustration with their coach's negative tactics.

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