Friday, April 4, 2014

Matchday 7 Preview


Chainat v TOT
Osotspa Saraburi v Songkhla Utd
Bangkok Utd v Police
Singh Tarua v Suphanburi
Air Force v PTT Rayong

Buriram Utd v Samut Songkhram
Sisaket v Ratchaburi
Army v BEC Tero
Chonburi v Chiang Rai Utd
Muangthong Utd v Bangkok Glass

So, are Ratchaburi and Singh Tarua to be considered as serious title contenders? The pair sit at the top of the table unbeaten after six matches. The foreign Tarua fans that I know are still keeping their feet firmly on the ground and their target is still to reach 40+ points to secure staying in the TPL. Anything higher than this would be regarded as a bonus at this moment in time. In their last two matches, Singh Tarua have kept clean sheets and their last three goals have come from sources other than Leandro. Avoiding defeat against Suphanburi on Saturday would extend Tarua's unbeaten home run to 17.
Ratchaburi fans on the other hand might be a tad more confident in their pursuit of the TPL crown. The Dragons recruited wisely during the break and the Spanish passing influence of coach Ricardo Rodriguez has worked wonders. In their next seven fixtures, Ratchaburi only face one side in the current top half of the TPL table and that is 8th placed TOT. This run of easier looking fixtures kicks off at Sisaket on Sunday.

The two sides in third and fourth meet in the weekend's finale with Muangthong hosting Bangkok Glass. The Glass Rabbits have flattered to deceive the last few seasons but this time there seems to be a bit more stability around the club. New boy Darko Tasevski has caught the eye, Leesaw is maturing with the captain's armband and Attaphol has been in the head coaching position for almost 365 days now. The same can not be said of Scott Cooper after he resigned last weekend from his brief tenure at the head of the Muangthong ship. From the outset the frosty chemistry between Cooper and the club owners never looked like a winning combination. The relationship had about as much chance of succeeding as Elton John's marriage to Renate Blauel did back in 1984.

Chonburi and BEC Tero are still undefeated but four draws from six have left the duo four points off the pace. Chonburi are at home to an improving Chiang Rai side while BEC Tero travel to Army United who are out to preserve their unbeaten home record.

TOT have a 100% record of draws away from their Laksi home. In four previous top league attempts Chainat have never beaten TOT. Osotspa haven't won a home fixture at the Rajamangala while their opponents Songkhla haven't won an away match. A pair of draws perhaps.

Last season's Division 1 meeting between Air Force and PTT Rayong ended with a 3-1 victory for the Airmen. That must feel like an eternity ago for the fans of Air Force as their TPL dream is slowly turning into a bit of a nightmare. PTT have adapted slightly better but they'll need to tighten up at the back after throwing away a 2-0 lead against Chonburi last Saturday.

While on the subject of squandering two goal leads, the visit of ailing Samut Songkhram should give Buriram the perfect pick me up after their disappointment in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday evening.

Division 1

Pattaya Utd v Sriracha Ban Bueng
TTM v Krabi
Phuket v Bangkok FC
Phitsanulok v Trat

Roi Et Utd v Nakhon Ratchasima
Saraburi v Nakhon Pathom Utd
Ang Thong v Khon Kaen
Ayutthaya v BBCU
Siam Navy v Chiang Mai

Victories last weekend for Nakhon Ratchasima and Ang Thong saw them move ahead of the condensed pack behind them. Korat are undefeated and have only conceded twice in their opening half dozen games. The Swatcats will start as strong favorites when they travel up to struggling Roi Et United on Sunday.
Ang Thong also face struggling Issan opposition on this day when the host Khon Kaen.

Saraburi and Ayutthaya have the chance to amend 4 goal away losses as they return to base. Saraburi host Nakhon Pathom United while BBCU enter the ancient city of Ayutthaya without coach Arjhan Srong-Ngamsap who was sacked earlier in the week.

Bangkok FC have shaken off their hangover from missing out on promotion last year and have collected 10 points from the last 12 available. The Iron Bulls travel to a Phuket side that has won their last two fixtures 2-1.

After an impressive start, TTM have dropped to 8th after suffering back-to-back defeats. They entertain a beleaguered Krabi side that is struggling to find the back of the net. The Andaman Eagles have only netted three times which is four less than recently released striker Valci Junior and one less than their former bench warmer Christiano Lopes.

Lopes is currently at Pattaya and things are brighter down in Nong Prue after two successive victories. They play sibling club Sriracha and whether or not the outcome of this is decided on the pitch or in the boardroom is anybody's guess.

If you go by last weekend's results, the Phitsanulok v Trat match should be an away banker. Phitsanulok lost 6-0 at Korat while Trat disposed of Ayutthaya 4-0.

Siam Navy games have seen very few goals and their results resemble some form of binary code - 1-1, 0-1. 1-0, 1-0, 1-0, 1-1 - Chaing Mai are in Sattahip hoping to smash the code.

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