Port face Bangkok Glass on Saturday, looking to imitate the kind of performance they put on against Chiang Rai, if not the result. Port were comfortably the better team, but ended up 1-2 losers, as Chiang Rai proved more clinical in front of goal than their opponents. Wednesday saw Port put in another good performance, albeit against T3 Ayutthaya, but once again Port did not score nearly as many goals as they could. Glass, on the other hand, are coming off 3 comfortable wins in a row, overcoming Honda and Navy to nil in the league, then triumphing 6-1 against Navy in the FA Cup on Wednesday. A further win against Suphanburi, a draw against Sisaket and losses to Bangkok United and Ratchaburi complete Glass’ last 6 league games, from which they have taken 10 points. Port have taken just 4.
Players to Watch
Last time we previewed a game with Bangkok Glass we picked Matt Smith (4) out as a player to watch and he ended up being injured. Well, this time we had a chat with Matt, and we’re quite sure that he’s fighting fit and ready for the physical battle that Josimar is likely to engage him in on Saturday. For more on Matt, read our interview here.
Peerapong (23) has had a stellar season in 2017. The defensive midfielder who has been at Glass since 2007, has played a part in every league game to date, been busy and combative, and has also chipped in with a few spectacular goals. An absolute belter in their 6-0 win against Sisaket sticks in the memory. Port would be well advised not to give the shaggy-haired enforcer too much space if he does decide to venture forward.
Chaowat (19) has come of age in 2017, making the attacking midfield spot his own. The 21 year old star has never been a physical presence on the pitch, but his guile and vision make up for that. Not a prolific scorer or assister, but very often the player who makes the ‘key pass’ in the build-up. With Ittipol (7) likely to come back in to the Port midfield on Saturday, it will be a battle between youth and experience.
Toti (8) just returned from a spell out, playing his first game in over a month against Navy. Let’s hope Glass’ best player against Port last time out is still a little rusty…
Jhasmani Campos (21) is Glass’ top scorer and assister so far in 2017 with 9 goals and 7 assists. That’s very good indeed from attacking midfield. Campos might be the most one-footed player I’ve ever seen, but it’s a bloody good foot. Port defenders be advised: if he’s on the left he is going to cross it with his left, and if he’s on the right he’s going to cut in and shoot with his left. Try your best not to let him do either!
Ariel Rodriguez (7) would normally be next on my list of players to watch, but hasn’t played yet in July or August, so I’m assuming he is unavailable for selection. With Jakkapan Pornsai having moved on to Bangkok United, 2 of the key architects of Port’s 3-0 defeat to Glass in the first half of the season could play no part. Despite the form book, that should give Port some hope!
Port will likely stick with their usual back 5 of Worawut (36), Nitipong (34), Dolah (4), Rochela (22) and Panpanpong (19). It’s outrageous that Panpanpong has been allowed to make as many mistakes as he has without bring dropped, but Zico just can’t seem to bring himself to replace the experienced left back with either of the younger, better left backs at Port’s disposal. Dolah picked up a knock on Wednesday which meant he was substituted and had some ice strapped to his leg, but hopefully it won’t be enough to keep him out of Saturday’s game, particularly as Pravinwat (55) is unavailable to replace him as he is on loan from Glass. We really don’t want fifth choice centre back Anisong (15) being exposed to the Bangkok Glass attack, that’s for sure.
In midfield, Zico seems to prefer Ittipol (7) to Adisorn (13) in defensive midfield, and I can see why. A more composed, technically proficient midfielder, Ittipol defends well and keeps play ticking over nicely, although he normally only lasts until about the hour mark before being subbed off. Siwakorn (16) will doubtless start alongside him in midfield, while Suarez (5) has very likely done enough to retain his place in ‘the hole’ behind Josimar.
Goals from the bench against Ayutthaya followed by a superb performance against Chiang Rai, then another solid display against Ayutthaya, are probably the best 3 consecutive games Suarez has had so far at Port. If he can keep up the level of performance we have seen in the last few games, he will undoubtedly retain his place in the team.
On the right wing, Pakorn (9) has finally been blossoming into the player we always knew he could be. Tenacity and tracking back have improved markedly, and his decision making is becoming less and less selfish by the game (except from corners!) Pakorn is without a doubt now the main creative force in the Port starting XI. Well done Zico! On the left, Genki (18) is just about doing enough to hang on to his starting berth, but then again the competition is Tana (99)… To be fair to Genki he had decent games against Ayutthaya and Chiang Rai, but is certainly not on his best form at the moment.
Josimar (30) remains the only viable option up front, and thankfully he managed to get back in to goalscoring form on Wednesday, converting a header from 6 yards and rounding the ‘keeper to finish from close range at the death. We desperately need a confident Josimar up front, as our chance conversion has been pretty pitiful of late. A little run of 5 goals in 5 games would be lovely right about now, Josi!
Predicted Starting XI
Peerapong vs. Suarez
Peerapong is a rough, tough customer enjoying an excellent season, but an in-form Suarez could pose him real problems. If Suarez can harass Peerapong when he gets the ball he could help stymie Glass’ attacks, and if he can find space when Port have the ball he could make a crucial contribution going forward too. With the most positional flexibility in the team, it will be down to Suarez to get it right.
Another key match-up could be between Pakorn and Glass left back Supachai (17). Remarkably the left back is still usually first choice at the age of 37, but an in-form Pakorn will be licking his lips at the prospect of tormenting the aging full-back, who I would imagine isn’t the paciest in the league.
The match will be shown live on True Sport HD 3 at 19:00 on Saturday 5 August, 2017