Football Tribe SEA Editor
Bangkok United announced themselves as a force to be reckoned with this season, starting the campaign with four wins from four. Those results included impressive wins over Muangthong, Chiangrai, and Samut Prakan, putting them in an incredible position after the first month of games.
The season interruption has severely hampered their momentum, and they may feel the most hard-done-by after the announcement of an extended break which could last until September. However, the side have demonstrated a lasting depth of quality which may allow them to ride the storm and return just as strong.
Wonderkid – Nattawut Suksum
After returning from a season-long loan with FC Tokyo, Nattawut Suksum got his chance to fill in up top while new signing Brenner Marlos took time to find his feet. Scoring just 14 minutes into the campaign, Nattawut showed just how much the experience abroad has helped him and staked a claim for a regular starting berth in the side this season.
Instead of relying on his dribbling and on-ball ability like most other Thai attackers of his build, Nattawut has worked to perfect his runs in behind and work on his lethal finishing ability. A far more efficient forward than most others of his ilk, the 22-year-old could make a major impression if he gets his chance this season.
Key Signing – Hajime Hosogai
Hajime Hosogai’s move to Bangkok United instantly looked like the perfect pairing of club and player. Having squandered his vast ability in experience by playing in an unfamiliar role with Buriram United last season, the former Japanese international is now back playing at the base of midfield, adding much-needed stability to the unit and helping the side build-up play from the back.
The move also stands out as one of the biggest bargains of the season, as he joins the capital club on loan from Buriram. The seven-time champions are allegedly still paying a portion of his wages, while he significantly bolsters a direct title rival. Now that he has found the right home in Thailand, fans will be eager to see the man who spent seven years in the Bundesliga finally show the league his true quality.
Team Leader – Everton Goncalves
Consistency is the key, and that’s especially true with regard to a team’s foreign roster. Everton Goncalves and his countryman Vander Luiz are set to begin their third season with the capital club, and have been a cornerstone of the side’s success in recent seasons. Everton, in particular, will be tasked with leading the side defensively, being the senior man in the back line.
Bangkok United’s mental fortitude has been praised so far this season, as they recovered from setbacks to pick up points against Muangthong, Chiangrai and Samut Prakan in their opening games. Everton has been a major part of that success, helping marshall the defense and improve their fortunes in crucial games on the road and against the other big sides.