Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Matchday 8 Preview

Wednesday 9 April
PTT Rayong v Muangthong Utd
Samut Songkhram v Chonburi
Songkhla Utd v Bangkok Utd
Suphanburi v Buriram Utd
Bangkok Glass v Army Utd
BEC Tero v Sisaket
Chiang Rai Utd v Air Force
Ratchaburi v Osotspa Saraburi
Police v Chainat
TOT v Singh Tarua

With the Songkran festival set to hit the streets of Thailand this weekend, the Matchday 8 fixtures have been pulled forward to Wednesday evening. There has been plenty of focus at the top end of the table recently so I thought I'd take a closer look at the teams at the wrong end of the table. A quick glance at the foot of the league shows four sides in danger of being cut adrift. They are Bangkok United, Songkhla, Air Force and Samut Songkhram.

Two of the aforementioned sides meet at the Tinsulanon tomorrow when Songkhla welcome Bangkok United. The Fighting Bulls played more like the cowering calfs on Saturday when they were hammered 7-0 by Osotspa. The fact that they've conceded 19 goals already does not bode well for the southern side. Four out of five of their points have been collected on their own patch and I feel home form is going to be vital in their bid to last the course. At this moment in time, I'm not overly optimistic about their survival prospects.
On paper, Bangkok United's opening fixtures haven't been overly challenging yet they sit in the relegation positions. Add to that the fact that they have plenty of depth in their squad, I find it slightly bewildering that they are struggling. Last season Bangkok United did the double over Songkhla so the same again is required for Rui Bento's side.

After a couple of years of financial turmoil, Samut Songkhram finally looked to be heading in the right direction with the arrival of a new sponsorship deal. However, the opposite has happened and the Raging Mackerels are in last position. They are currently scheduled to use the Army Stadium for their next three home fixtures and that will surely go against them especially tomorrow against Chonburi. In the last two seasons, Samut Songkhram have beaten Chonburi at home. On both occasions, the matches were played on a quagmire after a deluge of rain made the Samut Songkhram pitch virtually unplayable. On an even playing surface on neutral territory, the Sharks will begin as firm favorites.

Air Force astonished many Thai football fans when they won the first division last season. So far on their return to the top flight the have 100% records both at home and away. At the Thupathemi they've drawn all four matches while away they've been beaten in all three. Air Force along with Samut Songkhram are the lowest scorers with only four goals. This needs to be improved and they need to start collecting points on the road. I can't see either of them happening up at Chiang Rai United.

Sitting two points above the quintet are Police and PTT Rayong. The duo both have home matches with Police hosting Chainat and PTT entertaining Muanthong United. Last season's FA Cup quarter final saw PTT Rayong race into a three goal lead before Muangthong recovered to win 4-3 after extra time.

This time last year Suphanburi v Buriram would have been a much anticipated top of the table clash. This time though it's a mid-table affair with both clubs trying to salvage their seasons.

Top of the table Singh Tarua travel to TOT. It's been almost five years since the Khlong Toei side recorded a league win over the Telephone Boys. That came back in September 2009. Second placed Ratchaburi take on Osotspa Saraburi which won't be an easy task. OS have moved into the top half after a couple of unexpected home losses blighted their early season form. 

Elsewhere, Bangkok Glass will be confident of keeping their perfect home record intact after the visit of Army. In eight previous TPL attempts, Army have never beaten Bangkok Glass. BEC Tero will also be feeling similarly positive that they can beat Sisaket.

There are no Division 1 games. The action will return on the 19th April.

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