Football Tribe SEA Editor
Samut Prakan City begin their second season in Thai Football. The side’s inherited squad know each other well from working together for many years and are now going to be under the guidance of former J-League winning coach Masatada Ishii, who will seek to make them a more pragmatic and effective unit to build on the results of the prior campaign.
Competition is stiff for places in the upper echelon of the Thai League, and a slow start to the campaign has led many to doubt whether Samut Prakan have what it takes to improve on last season’s 6th place finish. Here’s a quick look at some of the players who will be determined to turn the clubs’ form around.
Wonderkid – Jaroensak Wonggorn
What a difference a year has made for Jaroensak Wonggorn. The right-flank maverick started last season as a virtual unknown, struggling for game time at club level. However, Jaroensak was given his chance when many clubs refused to release their players for the AFF U22 Youth Championships and the pacy winger hasn’t looked back since. After a remarkable breakout competition, club coaches Surapong Kongthep and Tetsuya Murayama made the most of his pace and crossing ability by converting him into one of the deadliest right wing-backs in the league. His excellent performances earned him a call-up for the AFC U23 Championships, where he established himself as Thailand’s chief super-sub, picking teams off on the counter in the final minutes to register three goals and finish as his country’s top scorer.
Jaroensak hasn’t managed to translate his excellent national team form back into the domestic season, which is understandable after the long and grueling 2019 campaign. It is possible that he uses this the league’s enforced month-long break to get himself back on form for this season.
Key Signing – Yuto Ono
Finding a midfield partner for Peeradol who can provide safety and security for the backline was vital this season. Samut Prakan conceded 50 goals last season, more than any other team in the top half, and were the highest-placed team to finish with a negative goal difference. The former FC Gifu captain will add solidity to the midfield and aim to be an enforcer for coach Masatada Ishii as he aims to build a more resolute side and fix the weaknesses of last season.
Team Leader – Peeradol Chamrasamee
It is harder to find one player with a bigger influence on the entire team than Samut Prakan City’s Peeradol Chamrasamee, and the best way to gauge his ability may just be in his absence. The Sea Fangs’ midfield string-puller was influential in helping the side overperform in the first half of last season, as Samut Prakan found themselves in an unlikely title race and were third place going into Matchday 17 against Chonburi.
While the side managed a win to bump them into second, it came at a cost, as their captain sustained an injury which would rule him out for the coming weeks. After collecting 29 points from their first 16 games, their points-per-game average dropped 1.8 to 1.0 and went on to demonstrate form which would have seen them struggle to survive relegation if carried out over the whole season.
Peeradol made his return when the side was on a run of four straight losses before Peeradol returned on matchday 24 to score in the side’s 3-2 victory over Chainat, but failed to recapture the same form he did in the early season as the side slid into a sixth-place finish. If they want to build on that result, especially with the growing competition at the upper end of the table, Samut Prakan City are going to need Peeradol to be at his best.