Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Story So Far (Division 1)

The standard in Division 1 is the weakest (in my opinion) it's been for five seasons, so teams like Nakhon Ratchasima, Phuket and Bangkok FC will see this as a great chance of  finding an escape route to the TPL. The team in the trio's way at this moment are table toppers Ang Thong. They will be hoping to emulate Chiang Rai United, Buriram FC, Chainat and Ratchaburi who have all recently taken the express route from the regional leagues to the top flight. Ang Thong are a hard working team that knows where the back of the net is. I'd say they are possibly punching above their weight and whether they can last the distance remains to be seen.

Nakhon Ratchasima are the only side yet to lose and they have only conceded four goals in ten matches. The experienced Ivan Boskovic seems to have found his level and is Korat's leading scorer. The league's top scorer alongside Mark Babo Landry is Valci Junior with nine goals. The well travelled Brazilian has filled the shoes vacated by Lee Tuck and if Bangkok FC can get a full season out of Valci, then the bitter disappointment of missing promotion at the death last season would be erased from their memory. Phuket surprisingly stuck with Deco as coach despite a horrific run of form towards the end of 2013. The former Chiang Rai Utd coach was given time to bring in his own players and this has reaped dividends for the Islanders.

Below the top four, Phitsanulok, Saraburi, Chiang Mai and Ayutthaya all have potential to break into the top three provided they can string a run of form together. Siam Navy and TTM are also in the top half of the table but I can't imagine either of those two being TPL bound come the end of the season.

At the bottom, it's a question of which three sides will accompany Sriracha Ban Beung to the lower leagues next season. The goals of Matius Recio have dried up at Khon Kaen and the T-Rex are consequently five points from safety. Roi Et haven't adapted to the first division as well as anticipated and one win from ten matches leaves Nakhon Pathom United in the bottom four alongside the White Squirrels. Krabi have found scoring goals difficult but their saving grace could be their defence which is leaking less than one goal per game. Pattaya have won four from their last six to recover from a disastrous start while BBCU are slipping in the opposite direction after an encouraging opening. On their day Trat can beat anybody in the league but they have been far too inconsistent so far.

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