Buriram Wary of Sharks Bite
With the form that title rivals Bangkok United and BG Pathum are in, Buriram can barely afford a slip-up in their hunt for their first Thai League crown since 2018. They suffered their second defeat of the season last weekend against the latter, while their goalless draw against Nongbua in midweek saw the former take their place at the top of the table.
Things aren’t going to get any easier for the Thunder Castle as they travel to the Eastern Seaboard to take on an in-form Chonburi side, whose three game win-streak is the longest ongoing one in the division. They nicked all three points from Prachuap in midweek thanks to a 96th minute winner from Worachit Kanitsribampen, which took them back up to fourth in league standings.
However, history is clearly on Buriram’s side when it comes to this fixture. The Thunder Castle have won 12 of their last 18 meetings against Chonburi in all competitions, and won on four of their last five league visits. Coach Gama will be hoping that his side can replicate that form and take the summit back as soon as possible.
Sarawut Treephan Returns to the Hot Seat
Port have ended their experiment with Dusit Chalermsan’s style of football – to the extent it ever truly began – and have turned to a familiar face. Sarawut Treephan, who stepped in to replace Jadet Meelarp six games into last season, has once again been installed as head coach.
His first task was to lead the side for their home match against Ratchaburi on the same day as Dusit’s resignation. Port emerged victorious thanks to a wonder strike from Bordin Phala. Last season, Sarawut’s appointment was followed by an impressive eight game winning run, which pulled them back into the fold at the top of the table.
In normal times, a trip to Chiangrai would appear a daunting task for any side. However, the Beetles have been going through a torrid time of their own, shipping four goals in their last home match against Bangkok United before eking out a 1-0 victory in Suphanburi. It may be the ideal time for Port to travel up North, where a win would see the Bangkok side leapfrog their opponents and potentially build momentum.
Prachuap Under Pressure Ahead of Northeastern Trip
Things were looking up for Prachuap after positive results against Samut Prakan City and Chiangmai United, but their four consecutive defeats since have seen the Killer Wasps drop back into the relegation zone. Coach Masami Taki will be feeling the pressure ahead of the side’s trip to Nongbua on Saturday evening.
The game will be even more significant given that Nongbua are coached by Taki’s predecessor, Tawatchai Damrong-Ongtrakul, who was released by the club at the end of last season despite steering them to safety in a competitive relegation battle. ‘Coach Wang’ has impressed with his new side, bringing the same brand of defensively solid football to the Northeast to help them pick up impressive results against some of the league’s toughest opponents.
Nongbua have put some daylight between themselves and the drop zone in recent weeks, but this game will still have major ramifications in the relegation scrap. Coach Wang will be eager to get one over his former employers, while Prachuap and Taki are desperate to show that their decision to change head coach was vindicated. Expect a tense game with deeply personal stakes for both coaches involved.
Alarm Bells Ringing for Ailton’s White Elephants?
The start of Ailton Silva’s tenure in Chiangmai has been difficult, to say the least. The side hosted defending champions BG Pathum in the Brazilian boss’ first game in charge, which ended in a 3-1 defeat. They then faced back-to-back ‘six pointers’ against fellow promoted sides Nongbua Pitchaya and Khon Kaen United, but picked up nothing from both.
The side are now rooted to the bottom of the table, having collected just six points from their opening 12 games, and sit a further six away from safety. Many observers’ picks to be the highest-finishing promoted side before the start of the season, the situation is looking rather dire for the White Elephants.
Ailton’s ability to get results is not in question, having shown his prowess with his title win in 2019, but currently the clock is working against him. He will be hoping to replicate the work of Nongbua, who were able to frustrate the Kirin with a firm defensive structure and hold on to a 1-1 draw at the Thunderdome.
Elsewhere, Bangkok United travel to face a Khon Kaen United side currently enjoying a three-game unbeaten run and buoyed by that aforementioned away win in Chiangmai. BEC Tero were humbled by the Bangkok Angels in midweek, and now face a Suphanburi side which are on an abysmal run of six straight defeats.
Lastly, BG Pathum United host Samut Prakan City while Nakhon Ratchasima travel to take on Ratchaburi.