Chonburi vs Bangkok United
There is a palpable frustration in the air at Bangkok United.
Tipped as the title favourites just prior to the half-season break, the side have managed just one win in their last eight games since the second leg began. Despite this truly dismal run, they stunningly remain in second place due to the failure of their rivals to capitalise on their failures. However, they did lose 10 points on Buriram in their race for the title.
Meanwhile, the Sharks were on incredible form heading into February, but three back-to-back losses this month have potentially derailed their chase for an AFC Champions League spot. Normally imperious at home, the side were beaten on their own patch by Police Tero, sandwiched in between defeats on their travels to Chiangrai and Suphanburi.
Given the poor form of both sides going into this game, it is hard to pick a winner. Recent history leans towards the hosts, as Bangkok United haven’t won on each of their last two visits to the Chonburi Stadium, but the fixture overall leans towards the capital club. Games between them are rarely dull – matches are usually high scoring and the pair haven’t played out a draw since 2016.
Muangthong vs Chiangrai
Despite relative inconsistency in recent weeks, Chiangrai United have crept into the top four of the Thai League, and are back in contention to qualify for an impressive fourth consecutive AFC Champions League campaign. Their last fixture saw them win it very late against Nongbua Pitchaya, a testament to the side’s mentality and belief.
Muangthong, meanwhile, were incensed that they weren’t the ones to climb into the top four, as they were defeated 2-1 by Khon Kaen United in controversial circumstances. The Kirin conceded two penalties and had a man sent off within the opening half hour, before having a seemingly clean equaliser chalked off just before half time.
This fixture is a hugely significant one for both sides, and could be a defining one in the race for a top four spot. Chiangrai came from two goals down to win 3-2 in this fixture last season, in the game which effectively ended Muangthong’s hopes of a top four finish. Mario Gjurovski’s men will be very eager to avoid a repeat this season.
Relegation Battle Heats Up
Prachuap’s 2-1 comeback victory over Chiangmai United last night greatly boosted their chances of survival, and has left two teams somewhat stranded at the bottom of the table. There is little hope for the Northern side to pull themselves out of the relegation zone now that they are a full 13 points from safety with just seven games left to play.
Just five points above them, things look pretty dire for Samut Prakan City as well. Yet to win since last October, the side spurned a huge chance to re-ignite their survival hopes last weekend, as they failed to score from 22 attempts against Prachuap and ended up playing out a goalless draw.
Tomorrow, the Sea Fang travel to Port FC in what is surely one of their last chances to turn the situation around. The hosts have a new man in the hotseat – former Lampang FC head coach Weerayut Bineadullohman, who has previously served in the club’s coaching staff. He takes over on an interim basis from Sarawut Treephan, who resigned after the side’s defeat to Buriram United last weekend.
Elsewhere, the two high-flying promoted sides Nongbua Pitchaya and Khon Kaen United meet on Saturday evening. The two sides currently sit neck-and-neck in mid table; the King Cobras managed a home victory in the reverse fixture back in October.
League leaders Buriram United are back in action as they face neighbours Nakhon Ratchasima on Sunday. On the same evening, Makoto Teguramori makes his debut in the dugout for defending champions BG Pathum as they host Suphanburi FC.
Lastly, Ratchaburi FC and Police Tero are at the ‘upper end’ of the relegation battle, having put some daylight between themselves and the drop zone due to their form in recent weeks. Bruno Pereira has had a perfect start to life as the Dragons’ boss, winning all three of his opening games, while Rangsan Viwatchaichok is enjoying a renaissance with a Tero which are unbeaten in six league outings and have qualified for the semi-finals of the FA Cup.