Reinvigorated Port Prepare for Buriram Visit
Buriram’s visit to the PAT Stadium is unquestionably the biggest game of the weekend. It will be a battle between first and second, as Port’s 2-0 victory at the 700th Anniversary Stadium kept them within touching distance of the top.
Port have not beaten the Thunder Castle in their last 13 meetings, with 10 losses and 3 draws since 2014. However, Dusit Chalermsan is already beginning to make his mark on the side; their 1-0 home victory over Muangthong last weekend was an excellent show of grit and defensive solidity, two traits they will need if they want to beat Buriram this weekend. The 51-year-old did the double over Buriram with BG Pathum last season, winning 1-0 both home and away. In terms of the squad, Nelson Bonilla looks back to his best, scoring five goals from six games so far this season, while David Rochela’s return in central defence has been a major boost for the team.
Buriram, meanwhile, come into this game with both Digao and Rebin Sulaka missing from their defence. However, the side managed to limit Samut Prakan City to a single goal with their all-Thai back-line on Wednesday, despite the visitors having more of the ball. Their depth in attacking positions remains as potent as ever, as seen on Wednesday when Suphanat Mueanta came off the bench to seal three massive points.
This game will likely be a cagey affair between two sides eager to avoid defeat, and an intense tactical battle between two coaches who enjoy the big occasion.
Ratchaburi Homecoming to Spark Revival?
It may be too soon to assert that the alarm bells are going off at Ratchaburi, but things certainly haven’t gone according to plan. One win from five games looks like a pitiful return, but considering all of their completed matches this season have been away from home, suddenly the picture becomes very different.
The Dragons are known for being far better at home than on the road. They picked up twice as many points at the Mitr Phol Stadium last season than they did on their travels, with a win ratio of 60% compared to 27% away. In 2019, that was 47% compared to 20%, with a 12 points differential. Their only home match thus far, against Bangkok United, was called off shortly before half time due to adverse weather conditions with the score at 0-0.
Therefore, the visit of Chiangmai United becomes both an expected and much-needed win for Ratchaburi. The Northern side have struggled thus far, as they sit second from bottom after picking up five points from their opening six matches. If the Dragon’s fail to beat Surapong Kongthep’s men, then there may be genuine cause for concern.
Korat Trip Tests Bangkok United’s Credentials
Sitting three points off top spot with a game in hand, Bangkok United have shown a renewed resilience this season and will be confident heading into their match against Korat. Both the club and coach have previously been criticised for failing to have a ‘Plan B’ when their regular possession-based style runs into trouble, but they’ve won each of their last two games with a more energetic and direct approach.
The Angels haven’t won a league match at the 80th Birthday Stadium since 2015, drawing on each of their last five visits. They also suffered a shock 3-2 defeat at home against the Swatcats last season. This game represents another hurdle of recent history to overcome, though not as significant as ones they have already leaped this season.
However, the side that stands in their way will also be fired up and eager to take all three points. The Swatcats have one both of their two home matches thus far, and their return of eight points from six games is impressive considering they’ve had twice as many games on the road. Coach Teerasak’s side are similarly energetic and combative, which could provide a different sort of test for Bangkok United.
Elsewhere, Muangthong will be hoping to atone for their disappointing 1-1 draw against Nongbua Pitchaya in midweek, when they host another promoted side in Khon Kaen United. Chonburi will also be hoping to return to winning ways with the visit of Suphanburi.
BG continue their marathon of five games in 14 days with a match against Police Tero. The Fire Dragons are on a high after stunning Chonburi in midweek, while their hosts need to bounce back quickly after being beaten by Chiangrai.
The Northern side have fought back in spectacular fashion over the past week, emerging victorious from difficult trips to Chonburi and Pathum Thani. Their tour of the country continues in the Northeast with a visit to Nongbua Lamphu.
Lastly, Prachuap will be hoping to pick up some points from their home match against Samut Prakan City, after their midweek defeat to Bangkok United saw them slip into the bottom three.