Bangkok United aim to stop the rot as Totchawan takes on former club

Bangkok United head coach Totchtawan Sripan is desperate for a win against former club Muangthong United on Thai League (T1) Matchday 16.

The Bangkok Angels’ dramatic slump in form has them heading for a relegation struggle just three months after they led the league.

Title contenders Port FC face a tricky trip to in-form Samut Prakan City, while Nakhon Ratchasima have a great opportunity to continue their revival at home to Rayong.

Totchawan needs big performance

It was supposed to be a fresh start. After the six-year reign of Mano Polking ended with a run of four straight defeats, the arrival of Totchtawan was intended to turn the season around. If anything, things are getting worse.

The head coach did win his first match in charge – a fraught victory over struggling Trat – but he has failed to win any of the three games since. Last weekend’s loss at then bottom side Rayong was just the latest disappointment for Bangkok United fans and the club has now won just one in 10, taking just five points from the last 30 available.

On Saturday, Totchtawan’s side host his former club Muangthong United. The 49-year-old won the T1 title at the Kirins, but little has gone right for him since he left the club almost three years ago. He failed to make a positive impact at Police Tero and Suphanburi and his start at Bangkok United has been worse than anyone could have expected.

Totchtawan really needs his players to rediscover the form they were showing in February and March, before the Covid lockdown derailed their season. It will potentially be a tough match against an unpredictable Muangthong side. Under Mario Gjurovski, the Kirins have been exciting to watch but not always convincing. But Muangthong’s victory over Suphanburi last weekend lifted them above Bangkok United for the first time this year. 

This clash will certainly test the resolve of the Bangkok United players as they try to arrest an alarming slide and ensure they do not end up in a relegation battle in the months ahead.

Samut Prakan attempt to end Port’s winning streak

Port FC may be T1’s form side, with eight consecutive wins, but Samut Prakan City have also hit a rich vein of form, winning four of their last five and rattling in 15 goals in the process.

The Sea Fang have risen to sixth place in the T1 table and should certainly pose a significant threat to Port’s winning run. Head coach Masatada Ishii had a tough start to life in Thailand, but he has started to get the best from his squad.

Samut Prakan will hope that this season is like last year in reverse. In 2019, they made an excellent start before hitting the wall about midway through the season and suffering a dramatic drop-off in form. This time around, there was a very slow start as they won just two of their first 10 matches before hitting form as they approached the halfway point.

Ishii will look to loan signing Daniel Toti Rodriguez to help his side maintain their recent form. The Spaniard has rich T1 experience and certainly adds quality. Port have brought in Yannick Boli from Ratchaburi, giving them several options up front as Nelson Bonilla and Adisak Kraisorn are also in scoring form.

This promises to be a stern test of Port’s title credentials as they try to stay within touching distance of leaders BG. But Samut Prakan City will be equally determined, ensuring this match promises to be a tough battle between two in-form sides.

Big chance for Tero

Over the past 10 T1 Matchdays, no side has picked up fewer points than Bangkok United’s five. The next worse on seven points are Police Tero, Trat and Suphanburi. Tero host Trat on Saturday and will hope to inflict further punishment on a team that has conceded 17 goals in a five-match losing streak.

Tero have had their own problems and last week’s 4-0 defeat at Nakhon Ratchasima was certainly a big cause for concern. It was not the first time Tero had capitulated at the home of modest opponents, October’s 5-0 loss at Suphanburi being similarly embarrassing.

But a match at home to bottom side Trat is as big an opportunity as it gets to take three points. Tero have added experience to their attack with the arrivals of Dragan Boskovic and Teerathep Winothai from Chonburi. Head coach Rangsan Viwatchaichok will certainly hope that this pair can provide the inspiration that his team clearly needs.

Swatcats target third straight win

It feels very different to be a Nakhon Ratchasima nowadays compared to just two weeks ago. Following a run of one win in 11 matches, it looked certain to become one in 12 as the Swatcats trailed Trat 3-0.

But Nakhon Ratchasima conjured up an unlikely comeback to win 4-3 and then followed up with a 4-0 thrashing of Police Tero last week. There has been further positive news with the arrivals of midfielder Gidi Kanyuk and right-back Jesse Curran providing quality in positions where the squad is thin.

Teerasak Po-on’s men now have an excellent chance to make it three wins in a row when they host Rayong on Sunday. Rayong may sit second of the table, but they have been undergoing a revival of their own. After starting the season with nine straight losses, Rayong have taken 10 points from the last six games. A win here would take them to within three points of their opponents and further lift hopes of an unlikely survival.

Failure to take three points would represent a big opportunity lost for the home side, but they will certainly not underestimate a Rayong side that has found its backbone.

Paul Murphy

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