Football Tribe Thailand
Buriram United was left bitterly disappointed to lose the Thai League on goal difference last season. The nation’s most successful side are expected to return with a vengeance this season, but four points from as many games to start the season has left fans concerned and neutrals scratching their heads. It is worth noting that last time Buriram had such a poor start was in 2014 – when they went on to win the title. Will the Thunder Castle be able to mastermind a turnaround once again?
Wonderkid – Suphanat Mueanta
What more is there to say about 17-year-old Suphanat Mueanta. Last season, he ranked 4th on the T1 Thai topscorer chart, debut for the senior national team, finished as Thailand’s highest goalscorer at the SEA’s games (5) and showcased his talent for all to see on the continental level at the AFC U23 Championship. The Thunder Castle continues to struggle to find the back of the net and now that Suphanat free of any youth team duties, he could be the difference-maker yet again.
Key Signing – Ricardo Bueno
Let’s be clear, the real Ricardo Bueno is yet to land in Buriram. The former-Brazil Série A striker seems to be trying to do too much on his own thus hampering his assimilation into the squad. Still, there are glances of individual brilliance. Bueno can receive the ball in tight spaces, play through-balls and is surprisingly decent in the air too. This is a second-striker who can create as well as score goals – the type of attacker Buriram missed since Diogo Luis Santo left for JDT. The league postponing may give the Brazilian extra time to settle in and we may finally get to witness the real Ricardo Bueno.
Team Leader – Andres Tunez
The big Venezuelan defender has been a vocal presence in the Buriram backline for many seasons and, with Diogo Luis Santo and Suchao Nutnum gone, there is even more responsibility on Andres Tunez to lead this evolving side forward. Andres Tunez may have lost a yard of pace he once had, but his sense of command and organization is still vital for the team. So far in 2020, Buriram United has already let 10 goals past them in 4 league games – that’s 8 more than they did this time last year. Fixing the defensive leak must be high of Bozidar Bandovic’s agenda and Tunez, their best center-back, is just the man to lead this operation.