Friday, November 1, 2013

Matchday 34 Preview



BEC Tero v Army Utd
Buriram Utd v TOT
Chiang Rai Utd v Bangkok Utd
Muangthong Utd v Chainat
Osotspa Saraburi v Chonburi
Police Utd v Pattaya Utd
Samut Songkhram v Ratchaburi
Sisaket P-P Bangkok Glass
Songkhla Utd v Suphanburi

The final weekend in correspondence with the majority of the season will hardly set the pulses racing for the neutral observer. The only issue remaining with consequence is the filling of the solitary relegation place. Pattaya United are three points adrift at the bottom and they need to win at Police United and then rely on results elsewhere going in their favor if they are to remain in the TPL. Samut Songkhram, Ratchaburi and Songkhla Utd are all locked on 29 points and the best outcome for Pattaya would be for Ratchaburi to win the derby at Samut Songkhram. If Samut Songkhram lost and Pattaya won then the Dolphins would survive.

The TPL crown went to Buriram last weekend and I'm sure celebrations will be in full flow at the Thunder Castle when they host TOT. Even though it took Buriram until the penultimate weekend to clinch the title, the championship race was won at a canter for them. Second placed Muanghtong have played well below par this year yet they still managed to finish miles infront of Chonburi in third who themselves will finish well ahead of Suphanburi in fourth. From my own point of view, I'm hoping other challengers will emerge for the TPL title race in 2014 or we could end up the Celtic/Rangers scenario with Buriram and Muangthong continuing to dominate the TPL for the impending future.

Division 1


BBCU v Rayong Utd
Khon Kaen v Ayutthaya
Krabi v TTM
Nakhon Ratchasima v Phuket
PTT Rayong v Bangkok FC
Rayong FC v Nakhon Pathom Utd
Siam Navy v Trat
Singh Tarua v Air Force
Sriracha v Saraburi

In contrast, there is still plenty to play for in Division 1 at both ends of the league ladder. Six clubs enter the last round of fixtures with their destiny still undecided for 2014. By 8pm Saturday evening, four of them will be celebrating while two of them will be solemnly reflecting on their woes.
With Air Force already crowned champions, there are two remaining berths left to fill for the TPL promotion train. The PTT Rayong v Bangkok FC contest is simple to explain. If Bangkok FC win they go to the TPL whereas a win or draw for PTT Rayong will send them up. A loss for PTT could still see them promoted providing that Singh Tarua don't beat Air Force United.
The Klong Toei side are guaranteed promotion if they beat Air Force. If Tarua did lose, they'll still be promoted if Bangkok haven't won at PTT Rayong.

63 PTT Rayong
62 Singh Tarua
61 Bangkok FC

In the relegation scrap, it's one from Rayong FC, Sriracha and TTM who'll be accompanying Rayong United to the regional leagues next season.
Rayong FC currently occupy that unwanted placing and anything other than a home win against Nakhon Pathom Utd will see them relegated. However a win would keep them in the first division provided one of Sriracha or TTM hasn't won.
For Sriracha a victory keeps them up while a draw or a defeat would send them down if Rayong FC have beaten Saraburi.
A win for TTM would halt their second successive demotion. A point in Krabi  could be enough provided neither Sriracha or Rayong FC has won. TTM do have a better H2H over Sriracha so a TTM loss with a Rayong win and a Sriracha draw would send the Blue Marlins down.

35 TTM
34 Sriracha
33 Rayong FC

Division 2 Playoffs

(Group A - Saturday)

Luk Esan v Nara Utd
Phitsanulok v Kasetsart
Roi Et Utd v Prachuap

(Group B - Sunday)

Ang Thong v Nakhon Nayok
Chiang Mai v Sukhothai
Udon Thani v Paknampo NSRU

The playoffs approach the halfway stage as we've reached Matchday 5. This weekend's fixtures will then be reversed next time out as the runners turn towards home.

In Group A three home victories would open up a seven point gap at the top for Roi Et Utd and Phitsanulok. The closest challengers to the top pair, Kasetsart and Nara Utd, are four points behind and six points over the next two games are probably required if they are to be taken seriously as promotion candidates.

In the regional league northern section, Chiang Mai completed the double over Sukhothai. A repeat of that over the next two games would almost ensure that the 700th Anniversary Stadium will be welcoming Nakhon Ratchasima and BBCU next season.
The rest of the pack is tight and the double headers between Ang Thong v Nakhon Nayok and Udon Thani v NSRU will make or break the prospects' final outcome.

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