The Sandpit Predicts… 2017 Starting XI


We’ve seen all sorts of experimentation so far in pre-season, but with just two weeks to go until the 2017 season gets underway, we think we have a pretty good idea of who will be taking the field to face Rachaburi on February 11th.
We’re going to show you predicted starting XIs from Sandpitters Dom and Tom, as well as All three take the 4-2-3-1 formation that has been used throughout pre-season as their template.



Dom has gone for Worawut (36) in goal, backing the ‘keeper who has played the majority of games over the last two seasons to hold on to his place in the side. He likes Rattanai (17) as a quality back-up option but says he will be cowering behind the Zone B drums if Weera gets anywhere near the pitch.

In defence, Rochela (22), Dolah (40) and Meechok (20) are almost certainties, whilst Dom thinks that Panpanpong (19) will edge out Piyachart (23) for the left back spot due to his more solid defending.

In central midfield, Siwakorn (16) partners Wanchalerm Yingyong, who Dom thinks could be preferred to youngster Tatchanon (27). An attacking trio of Genki (18), Suarez (4) and Pakorn (9) will provide ammunition for Kaluderovic (10), who Dom backs to edge out Asdrubal (24) as first choice striker.



Tom thinks that Rattanai (17) has done enough to earn himself a starting spot in 2017. The ‘keeper who played in the crucial cup games against Muangthong last season as well as the key league game against Ubon UMT has looked more comfortable with his feet this pre-season, which Tom thinks makes him slightly preferable to Worawut (36). He also thinks that Weera will be back-up to the back-up.

Rochela (22), Dolah (40), and Meechok (20) are again the obvious choices in defence, although Tom fancies that the more attacking left back – Piyachart (23) – will be preferred to Panpanpong (19) as he thinks Port have looked short of attacking ideas when Panpanpong and Genki (18) have played together on the left.

In midfield Siwakorn (16) is partnered by young newcomer Tatchanon (27), who Tom thinks has played his way in to Jadet’s plans since his arrival from Army. He has looked disciplined and consistent, even earning the praise of David Rochela in The Sandpit’s recent interview with the Port skipper.

Genki (18) will be selected ahead of Ekkapoom (8) on the left wing, although Tom thinks that against weaker opposition the more attacking Ekkapoom could well be favoured. Suarez (4) and Pakorn (9) will complete the attacking midfield, while Kaluderovic (10) will be tasked with scoring the goals to fire Port up the table. have made the surprising choice of Weera in goal. Whilst he has played plenty of pre-season minutes, we would be surprised if he was on the bench, let alone on the pitch in two weeks time. Maybe the guys at know something we don’t!

In defence, it’s once again Rochela (22), Dolah (40), Meechok (20), with Panpanpong (19) getting the nod at left back.

Siwakorn (16) partners Tatchanon (27), with the usual trio of Genki (18), Suarez (4) and Pakorn (9) ahead of them. Up front, Kaluderovic (10) is expected to be Jadet’s favoured option.

The Certainties

Putting the possibility of injuries to one side, there are 7 pretty-much nailed on starters in 2017. Rochela and Dolah will start in central defence, and Meechok will retain his place at right back. Siwakorn will fill one of the two central midfield roles, while Suarez will be used either as an attacking midfielder or a more withdrawn role. Wherever he plays, he will be starting. Pakorn will be right-winger, and we’re pretty sure that Genki will hold off Ekkapoom to start on the left wing, although perhaps this should be in its’ own ‘not-quite certainty’ category.

The Question Marks

It’s a three way battle in goal, as illustrated by our choices. Either Worawut, Rattanai or Weera could be selected, although The Sandpit thinks that Worawut and Rattanai are far more likely options.

Panpanpong is probably a slight favourite to Piyachart at left back. He has been picked for most of the friendlies, although his performances have been less than inspiring. Piyachart, on the other hand, has been playing with the second string, but putting himself in to contention with some excellent displays.

In central midfield, there are many options for Jadet to choose from. We think that Tatchanon might be a slight favourite to start, but Piyachat (28), Wanchalerm and Siwapong are all realistic alternatives.

Up front, all three XIs chose Kaluderovic, but it could well still be Astrubal who is preferred. The Spaniard looked lively and technically very good on his brief debut appearance, but the reason we give Kaluderovic a slight edge is the ease with which he scored his two debut goals. He looked like a natural goal-poacher, and that is likely to be what Jadet is after from his lone forward.

Let us know if you agree or disagree with our selections in the comments section below!


Tom Earls

Tom Earls

Having moved to Thailand aged 10, Tom has been playing or watching football in Thailand for more than 18 years. A keen follower of the Thai National Team and an avid fan of Port FC, he is a regular contributor to The Sandpit.

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  1. Thai_Footy_Farang says:

    In the past season, did we “ever” play 2 strikers up front (e.g. 4-3-2) in the starting XI and did Port ever start with a back 3 rather than back 4?

    • Tom Earls
      Tom Earls says:

      Back 3 was trialled in 2015 under Gary Stevens but with the players we had at the time we would have struggled with any system. With Rochela and Dolah I would definitely want to stick with a back 4 this season. Ideal partnership!

  2. Tom Earls
    Tom Earls says:

    We did use 2 strikers last season when Thiago and Tana played together, but more often started with Maranhao playing behind one of those 2 in a more attacking midfield role.


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