Thursday, March 15, 2012

Opening TPL & Div 1 Weekend Preview

Buriram United v Chiang Rai United
Pattaya United v Samut Songkhram
Muangthong v BEC Tero
Chonburi v Thai Port
Bangkok Glass v Wuachon Utd
Army Utd v Chainat
Police v TTM
Osotspa Saraburi v TOT
BBCU v Isan Utd

Last season's top three sides, Buriram Utd, Chonburi and Muangthong, all kick off the season with home games this Saturday. It's going to be vitally important that no ground is lost early on, so three points are a must for each side. Muangthong probably have the most difficult task as they welcome back Robert Procureur and his new club BEC Tero. Both MTU and Tero have been busy in the transfer market and it will be interesting to see how the new signings bed in.
Wuachon v Bangkok Glass has been switched to the Leo Stadium as the Wuachon saga still rumbles on. The other promoted sides begin with Chainat visiting the Army Stadium and BBCU will play their first game at the Rajamangala as they welcome the former Sisaket FC side who are now newly branded as Isan United.
Elsewhere, Pattaya take on Samut Songkhram in Nong Prue, Police will host TTM just up the road at the IPE Stadium in Chonburi and Osotspa will be confident of a winning start over a TOT side that they beat 4-0 in the corresponding fixture last year. 

Division 1
Krabi v Bangkok FC
PTT Rayong v Siam Navy
Songkla v Chantaburi
JW Rangsit v FC Phuket
Raj Pracha v Ratchaburi
Korat v Air Force Utd
Bangkok Utd v Pattalung
Khon Kaen v Saraburi FC
Suphanburi v Sriracha

Suphanburi start the season as many people's pick to win Division 1. The Warriors have invested heavily in their squad and have made up to 20 new signings. New arrivals of note include ex-Thai international Pipat Thonkanya, the ever reliable Swa-Moise (Thai Port) and Ali Diarra (Muangthong).
The three relegated clubs from the TPL, Sriracha, Navy and Khon Kaen, have all had to downsize their squads and budgets accordingly as the reality of 1st Division football has kicked in. It will be a tough call for any of them to bounce back at the first attempt, but Khon Kaen and Sriracha do have experience of winning promotion out of this league back in 2010.
Ratchaburi, Korat, Krabi and Pattalung were all promoted from the regional leagues last season. Ratchaburi and Korat have splashed the cash and they'll be hoping to emulate last year's Buriram FC and Chainat who both made back-to-back promotions from Division 2 to the TPL. Ratchaburi have signed eight players from Buriram FC and they also claimed the loan signing of Abbo from Buriram United. Because of these signings, I'm tipping Ratchaburi to win this league. Korat have modestly stated that they plan to make the TPL within three years although the loan signing of Anon Sangsanoi would suggest that privately they aren't thinking so prudently. Pattalung and Krabi might settle for consolidation in their maiden Division 1 seasons. In saying that, there does seem to be a lot of expectation on the shoulders of Krabi's new Italian signing, Carlo Cappari.
Out of the Bangkok sides, Bangkok United appear to have the strongest promotion credentials. Head coach Sasom has been busy in the market making plenty of signings which include his old boys Sompong and Alef who have followed him from Thai Port via Buriram. Bangkok FC have also made some interesting acquisitions with a handful of former TPL players joining their ranks. The other three sides of Raj Pracha, Air Force and JW Rangsit have gone about their business quietly and may be looking at a mid-table finish at best.
PTT Rayong and Saraburi could be another couple of dark horses worth keeping an eye on in the promotion race while for Songkla, Phuket and Chantaburi their goal will unfortunately be survival.

Division 2 Bangkok
Rangsit FC v Nontaburi
Kasetsart v Samut Prakarn Utd
Samut Sakhon v Assumption Thonburi
Customs Utd v Prachinburi FC
Chamchuri Utd v Krung Thonburi
North Bangkok v R-BEC
Cental Lions v Luk Isan
Bangkok Christian v Thai Honda
Globex v Kasem Bundit

The top game of this weekend is the one between second placed North Bangkok and R-BEC who sit one place below them in third. North Bangkok have continued their strong form of last season as they aim to reach the division two play-offs for a second successive season. Top of the table Chamchuri should make it five wins out of five as they host Krung Thonburi. Globex, Thai Honda and Samut Sakhon make up the top 6 and each of them must have pencilled in three points from their games this weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment