Thursday, July 19, 2012

Weekend Preview 21-22 July

Chainat v Osotspa Saraburi
Bangkok Glass v Army
Thai Port v Wuachon
BEC Tero v Chonburi

Samut Songkhram v Muangthong
TTM v Pattaya Utd
Chiang Rai Utd v Police Utd
Esan Utd v Buriram Utd

This weekend marks the end of Leg 1 with match-ups this round being reversed next Wednesday due to the fixtures for Leg 2 being mirrored.

Muangthong will see their double header with Samut Songkhram as an opportunity to haul six points although the color of money may be the Kirins biggest enemy. According to sources, Samut Songkhram players have the lure of a 1M baht bonus from their sponsors if they can beat MTU in their next two games. The Mae Khlong players already pocketed a 500K perk for winning at Chonburi, so beating SMS may be more difficult than anticipated for Muangthong.

Chonburi produced a stunning comeback on Wednesday against Chainat to head the chasing pack. However, the pursuing group will take points off each other as BEC Tero host Chonburi and Bangkok Glass take on Army. Tero have lost their last seven TPL meetings with Chonburi while Army have never beaten Bangkok Glass in the TPL although they did mange to hold BG to 1-1 draws on both occasions last season.

Buriram United fans will make the rare trip eastwards as they travel to Ubon Ratchathani. Esan United haven't particularly caught the eye but they do sit in the top half of the league. In recent matches, Buririam have only collected five points from their last five fixtures while Esan Utd have doubled that total in their last five.

At the foot, there are plenty of clashes of interest which could reshape the bottom of the league table over the next few days. TOT, who haven't won in six, won't anticipate stretching that run to eight with two meetings against BBCU. Chiang Rai Utd and Police will both be looking for four points against each other as will Chainat and Osotspa. Thai Port's splendid win over Buriram appears to have been a one off exploit as they have failed to find the net in their last two TPL games. The Klong Toei side have struggled creatively without the injured Alex Ruella. Nevertheless, at least Port have scored some goals in front of their home support unlike TTM who have yet to break their duck. Pattaya are the latest side to face the TTM (mis)firing line.

Division 1
Sriracha v Khon Kaen
Saraburi v Bangkok Utd
Air Force Utd v Raj Pracha
Chantaburi v PTT Rayong

Siam Navy v Krabi
Bangkok FC v Suphanburi
Pattalung v Korat
Ratchaburi v JW Rangsit
FC Phuket v Songkla

As with the TPL, the Division 1 schedule has been flipped. After Wednesday night's games, the top 2 of Ratchaburi and Krabi have put some daylight between themselves and the rest. The Dragons have the easier couple of matches coming up as they take on JW Rangsit while Krabi face tougher tests against Siam Navy.

A few weeks ago, Suphanburi's coach said he'd step aside if his side weren't in the top 3 at the end of Leg 1. At this moment his job is safe by one point as the big spending side cling on to third place. Come Monday that might not be the case as the Warriors face Zico's resurgent Bulligans. Standing in line to replace Suphanburi are Sriracha, Bangkok United or PTT Rayong.

At the other end, with Chantaburi as good as gone, the next two clubs propping up the league, Raj Pracha and Air Force, have what could be described as a 12 pointer in the next few days. The struggling duo have a rich history within the Thai game and unless both show an upturn of form in leg 2, then they'll have uninspiring trips to Central Lions and Krung Thonburi looming next term. The other two sides filling up the bottom five are FC Phuket and JW Rangsit. The Islanders will stay in the south for the next two as they tussle with Songkla while as mentioned earlier, JW will most likely stay in the relegation spots after their encounters with leaders Ratchaburi.

Division 2 Bangkok
Samut Prakarn Utd v Rangsit FC
Krung Thonburi v Central Lions
Nonthaburi v Kasem Bundit
Chamchuri Utd v Samut Sakhon

Luk Esan v Customs Utd
Assumption Thonburi v Bangkok Christian
R-BEC v Globex
Thai Honda v North Bangkok
Rayong Utd v Kasetsart

The noteworthy contest this time out is Rayong United v Kasetsart. Back in the early weeks of the season when Rayong Utd were formerly known as Prachinburi Utd, they defeated Kasetsart 2-1 as last season's champions endured a sluggish start. Kasetsart have steadily improved and if they can get through this one undefeated you'd feel the momentum would be with them with a relatively easy schedule to follow.
Thai Honda would almost certainly kill off North Bangkok's promotion bid if they beat the Horsemen on Sunday while R-BEC should be too strong for Globex. Samut Sakhon haven't been firing on all cylinders lately and they may have to settle for another solitary point as they travel to Chula Uni's Chamchuri.

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