Friday, May 2, 2014

The Story So Far (Part 1) - The Big 3

The TPL season to date has been one of the most unpredictable in recent memory. Here is a look at how the 20 TPL clubs are faring thus far. The first part focuses on the three sides that have dominated the title race during the last five years.

Muangthong United

Current Position: 1st
After a couple of early unconvincing home performances, Muangthong have emerged from the pack to top the table. The club parted ways with Scott Cooper after barely a month of the season and they are currently under the temporary guidance of caretaker Pon Chomchearn. The Twin Quilins have won their last four matches and on three occasions they have netted four goals on their travels. In Mario Gjurovski they have the TPL’s joint top goal scorer and arguably the best player in Thailand. Jay Bothroyd has started finding the back of the net and that should ease the blow when fans’ favorite Teerasil departs for Almeria on his one season loan deal. The only worry for MTU would be their goals against column. If they can stop conceding sloppy goals, then a return of the TPL crown to Nonthaburi seems highly likely.

Buriram United

Current Position: 12th
It’s been a difficult start for the 2013 treble winners. They have already been eliminated from the AFC Champions League and their patchy league form has dropped them into the unfamiliar surroundings of mid-table. The loss of Osmar Ibanez to FC Seoul has left Buriram weaker in both boxes. The paper thin squad has struggled to deal with the burden of two games in a week and it’s fair to say that the new signings haven’t lived up to expectations. It's expected that a few of the foreign recruits will be shipped out and a clutch of new signings will arrive when the transfer window reopens next month. Under Alejandro Menendez, some of his players appeared to lack match fitness and it was hard to fathom out his tactical formations at times. He has subsequently lost his job and the task of salvaging something from this season rests on new head coach Bozidar Bandovic’s shoulders. The target for the Serb will be to claw back the 10 point deficit on Muangthong and retain both the domestic cups.


Current Position: 5th
Chonburi had a clearout of fringe players at the end of last season and similar to Buriram United they never adequately strengthened during the break. The biggest fear of all Chonburi fans came into being when star player Thiago Cunha was ruled out with injury for the first half of the season. With mother nature catching up on Pipob and Therdsak, there is a shortage of attacking threat at Chonburi. New coach Masahiro Wada  seems a bit more clued up them the previous incumbent, Withaya Laohakul, but with virtually the same starting 11 to pick from, it’s hard to foresee Chonburi challenging for the title this season. Another season of mediocrity and lack of silverware would not go down well with the Chonburi faithful.

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