Bangkok Utd v Pattaya Utd
Buriram Utd v Police Utd
Muangthong Utd v Chiang Rai Utd
Songkhla Utd v Samut Songkhram
Bangkok Glass v Army
Chainat v BEC Tero
Sisaket P-P Osotspa Saraburi
Suphanburi v Chonburi
TOT v Ratchaburi
With the exception of Suphanburi, the top of the TPL table has a familiar look to it now that the runners have left the starting gate and the field has evened itself out.
Current champions Muangthong United lead the way and it appears to be a two horse race between themselves and Buriram United for the title. Once both sides can concentrate on the home front rather than mixing it up with AFC action, I expect them both to strengthen their grip at the top.
BEC Tero, who have parted ways with coach Stephane Demol this week, and Chonburi should scrap it out for third and fourth place while Suphanburi would realistically see a top 6 finish as being a decent return in their first season back in the top flight.
The main body of the chasing group between Army Utd in 6th and Osotspa Saraburi in 13th already has that look of not being good enough to challenge the Top 4 yet at the same time having too much in their armoury to be dragged into affairs at the wrong end of the table.
At the lower reaches of the league, Bangkok Glass and Chiang Rai United sit in the bottom 6, but I expect them to pull away from danger after tough starts on and off the pitch. It's the other four of Samut Songkhram, Pattaya Utd, Bangkok United and Sisaket who I worry for. Sisaket's immediate problems are being played out in the courtroom so they'll have to sort them out before anything can be addressed on the playing front. The other three have looked fairly inadequate at times and their biggest aim now is to limp through to the next transfer window without getting cut too far adrift from the main pack. Then, they'll be able to plough into the transfer market with whatever funds they have available.
Air Force Utd v Phuket
Ayutthaya v Nakhon Pathom Utd
Khon Kaen v Singh Tarua
Rayong Utd v Nakhon Ratchasima
Trat v TTM
BBCU v PTT Rayong
Saraburi v Bangkok FC
Siam Navy v Rayong FC
Sriracha v Krabi
At present the promotion race strikes you that it will be a four way battle between PTT Rayong, BBCU, Singh Tarua and Phuket for the three TPL spots. PTT probably have the best squad out of the four while Phuket have the match winners that can produce the goods when required. BBCU seem solid yet unspectacular with the dominating Bouba Abbo being the pivotal point of the team whereas Tarua so far have been mainly reliant on the silky skill of Leandro Luz to provide them with their wins.
Air Force and Bangkok FC probably shouldn't be written out of the picture either. Air Force can boast the best defensive record in the league with only one goal conceded, yet will need to improve at the other end as they've netted only five from seven. Bangkok FC have been slightly inconsistent and need to find a run of form to propel them anywhere near the top 3. The only other side that I can see moving up the table towards the Top 6 is Sriracha although they have a lot of ground to make up after an indifferent start.
Division 1 to me doesn't seem to have the same quality that it's had in the past few seasons and I think a lot of this has to do with the standard of the four promoted sides. In the past three years, clubs have come up from the regional leagues and fast-tracked themselves through Division 1 to the TPL. This time, all four promoted sides are currently positioned in the bottom half of the table. Trat should be able to consolidate, but for the other three (Rayong Utd, Rayong FC, Ayutthaya), it's going to be a long grind. TTM, Khon Kaen, Siam Navy and Saraburi have also failed to find any decent momentum while the two Nakhons and Krabi will probably win as many games as they will lose to nestle themselves into the sanctuary of mid-table.