Thai League Matchday 21 Preview

Port Aim for Turnaround Against Buriram Juggernaut

In what is likely the top pick of this weekend’s matches, Port FC travel to the Chang Arena to face Buriram United.

The two sides come into this game in very different circumstances. Buriram’s win last weekend saw them extend their lead on top of the table to eight points, before they thrashed Nongbua Pitchaya 4-1 in the FA Cup. Bangkok United’s faltering form has also taken the pressure off Masatada Ishii’s men, as their supposedly principal challengers have only picked up one win since the second leg started last month.

Port, meanwhile, suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of bottom club Chiangmai United. There have been murmurings of discontent among the club’s fanbase in recent weeks, and former boss Choktawee Promrut has come back into the fold while current head coach Sarawut Treephan remains under pressure.

BG Out for Revenge Against Police Tero

BG Pathum United were dumped out of the FA Cup semi-finals in midweek, after losing 1-0 to Police Tero at the Boonyachinda Stadium. Both Chatmongkol Thongkiri and Sumanya Purisai were sent off, and Evandro Paulista struck the winner in extra time.

The Rabbits are playing the exact fixture again just three days later, and have a chance to restore some pride. They returned to the top three due to their recent and fairly impressive 2-1 away win over Chiangrai.

Meanwhile, Tero are unbeaten in their last five matches, and showed incredible resilience to avoid defeat in recent fixtures, such as their dramatic 2-2 draw with Buriram and trip to Chiangrai. The side’s confidence will be further boosted by their extended cup run, and could pose a threat to anyone in the league on their day.

Time Running Out for Samut Prakan

Samut Prakan City are under pressure to turn things around, after slipping down to 15th place and a full five points adrift of safety. They face Prachuap, who are just one place above them, in what could be the weekend’s most thrilling relegation six-pointer.

The Killer Wasps arguably looked dead and buried a couple of weeks ago, but back-to-back wins against the league’s top two have suddenly put them within touching distance of a great escape. It took a while for the side to find their feet under coach Issara Sritaro, but they are now the back of three straight wins and are in the quarter-finals of the League Cup.

Meanwhile, the hosts have won just three games all season, tied lowest in the division along with the only team below them. This game could well be the most critical game of Samut Prakan City’s season, if not their brief three-year history.

Critical Week Awaits Chiangrai United

The 2019 Thai League champions are in the middle of their most important run of fixtures of this season. The side managed to beat Chonburi two weeks ago, but suffered a 2-1 defeat on their own turf to BG Pathum last weekend.

They now sit in sixth place, just behind Muangthong United, who they travel to face in a week’s time. This weekend, however, they host an in-form Nongbua Pitchaya side who are yet to lose a single game since the start of the second leg. Their forward line of Hamilton Soares, Barros Tardeli and Mahmoud Eid present a constant threat on the counter-attack, and their pacy, direct football has managed to unravel some of the strongest teams in the country already this season.

With another AFC Champions League adventure on the horizon, the Beetles will need to pick up as many points as they can now before the fixture congestion kicks in – if they want to keep their top four hopes alive.

Elsewhere, Chonburi FC will be looking to arrest their sliding form and retain their place in the top four when they visit Suphanburi on Sunday evening. The Sharks will be very disappointed after their 2-1 home defeat against Police Tero, which was only their second of the season. Suphanburi will likely be similarly tough opponents, as they will be eager to continue their momentum after escaping the drop zone.

Another game with major consequences for the relegation battle is Ratchaburi’s visit to the 700th Anniversary Stadium to face Chiangmai United. The Northern side pulled off that aforementioned win over Port FC, though many believe the turnaround may have come too late to save the side from the drop – this fixture may present one of their last chances to prove the doubters wrong.

Lastly, Muangthong travel to face Khon Kaen United while Bangkok United will be looking to improve on their record of one win in seven matches when they host Nakhon Ratchasima.

gianchansrichawla

Thai League fan and writer. Editor at Football Tribe Asia. University student.

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