Football Tribe SEA Editor
Nobody yet knows what kind of Muangthong United we will see this season. Some say their recent major departures spell doom and gloom, while others have faith in coach Alexandre Gama to help calm the waters. The Kirin come into this season with an unprecedented variety in terms of what fans expect from them, and getting off to a good start will be crucial in stabilizing what is a nervy and uncertain time for the club’s fans.
Muangthong lost 2-1 in their opening league fixture last week at the Leo Stadium against BG Pathum United. After gaining both a goal advantage and a man advantage by half time, the side’s rhythm was disrupted and eventually shattered by the harsh dismissal of captain Sarach Yooyen, which gave the hosts the impetus to turn the game on its head and collect all three points.
The visitors were sorely lacking a game-changer last week, the absence of which was even more pronounced considering the side have sold Heberty Fernandes, Teerasil Dangda and Charyl Chappuis in the recent transfer window. The expected replacement in that regard, Willian Popp, was sidelined with an injury.
In fact, the number of players on the treatment table could be a worry for Muangthong. Last week’s goalscorer Derley has been in light training this week, while defensive midfielder Patcharapol Intanee has also been taking his first steps since returning from an extended absence. Their presence could be crucial in what is likely to be a very intense match. Fans will also be hoping to see more of Uzbekistan international Sardor Mirzaev, who should have had more time to gel with the team after his seemingly rushed debut last time out.
From the look of things, the hosts will need all the help they can get against a Bangkok United side out to disprove the disasters and shake off the rust of last season. The Angels were professional in their victory over Prachuap on Matchday 1, and appear quietly confident that they can make a splash this season.
This fixture has produced a number of memorable encounters in the past. Muangthong pulled themselves back from behind twice to seal an incredible 3-2 victory last season in a game that arguably sparked the side’s revival in the second half of the campaign, while a game of the same score back in 2016 will live long in the memory, setting up an enthralling title race between these two local rivals.
It may only be matchday 2, but there is no time to waste in the 30-game campaign, and both teams will be hungry for the points. This match has a lot to live up to, but it seems perfectly poised to serve up another feast.