Football Tribe Thailand
Almost a year ago today, Bangkok United drew 2-2 at home to Buriram United. However, there has been a dramatic change to both sides since they last met in this fixture.
The Thunder Castle is now without goalscoring talisman Diogo and target man Edgar Silva up front. There are signs that the new Supachok – Pedro Júnior strike partnership is starting to gel, and they look very dangerous on the counter-attack. But can they break down a tight defense?
In addition, tireless midfielder Jakkaphan Kaewprom’s continued struggle for fitness has forced Suchao Nutnum to the starting XI. The 34-year-old captain had a decent game against Jeonbuk Hyundai on Wednesday, but there are doubts as to whether he can perform at his best twice in a week.
With all of this in mind, we can expect Božidar Bandović’s men to sit back, patiently waiting for the counter.
Apart from the home advantage, Bangkok United will also benefit from not having a midweek fixture. The Angels have won two consecutive games – keeping, clean sheets on both occasions. Teeratep Winothai’s linkup play was a pleasant surprise against Trat FC, as the former Crystal Palace trainee earned an assist for Nelson Bonilla’s winner. Pokklaw Anan’s late runs into the box have also been a key attacking feature for the hosts this season, with only his touch letting him down on occasions. If he gets it right this time, the dynamic box-to-box midfielder could be a key to breaking beyond Buriram’s aging central midfielders and getting at their defense.
However, coach Mano Pölking will be gutted that playmaker Vander Luiz and defender Mika Chunuonsee are both out with injury. The Angels’ coach now faces a dilemma and has to decide between returning to the back four that proved successful last season or sticking to the three-man defensive line they have worked on in pre-season.
If Mano goes for the former, then there is a question whether it is viable for Bangkok to field two attacking fullbacks in Peerapat Notchaiya and Tristan Do. If he chooses the latter, he may struggle to find an adequate replacement for Mika at center-back.
Bangkok United will likely be doing most of the attacking but must prepare for Buriram United’s deadly counter-attacking. Failure to do could be a major psychological setback in what already looks like a six-pointer just five games into the season.