IMPORTANT NOTE: FANS ARE BANNED FROM ATTENDING
Due to last season’s shenanigans, fans from both sides are not allowed to attend Sunday’s clash. As of Wednesday when this was written, there has been no word of big screens or anywhere that all fans will be convening to watch Port take on their biggest rivals. What we can tell you, is that The Sandpit, and a fairly substantial group of fans, will be spending our Sunday afternoon shouting at one of The Sportsman’s big screens instead. Join us and get 10% off regular prices, and an atmosphere as hostile to the Muangscum as Zone B itself!
Port will ‘welcome’ SCG Muangthong to a boggy PAT Stadium on Sunday, looking to strike a final and decisive blow in the War Of Heroes. Port have already condemned The Dream Team to one stunning defeat this season, when Suarez’ majestic header and Josimar’s volleyed brace in front of the Yamaha Ultras Stand were just enough to hold off a Fight Back by Kirin United. Sick of the gaudy corporate slogans yet? Here, have some Leo. It might wash it off.
Motherfuckers! Is nothing sacrosanct?
Muangthong face a 9 point deficit to Buriram, although they have a game in hand after their clash with Honda last week was rained off. With just 12 more points available, a Muangthong defeat against Port and a victory for Buriram at Suphanburi would send the title to the Thunder Castle, as Muangthong’s inferior head to head record with Buriram mean they lose out if the sides finish level on points.
Now, there’s some motivation if ever Port needed it!
Players to Watch
Alright, I give up. I can’t pick my usual 4 or 5 players, so this is basically the whole team. Hold your noses!
Legendary stopper Kawin Thamsatchanan (1) will of course start in goal, with the reliable Japanese veteran Naoaki Aoyama (5) and Brazilian man-mountain Celio Santos (29) in central defence. If Muangthong go for a back three then they will be joined by Adisorn Promrak (5), with regular full-backs Peerapat Notchaiya (2, the rubbish one on the left) and Tristan Do (19, the good one on the right who all the Port fans hate because he’s a tough little so-and-so) playing a little higher up the pitch.
With all the options available to Muangthong, it’s difficult to say who will get the nod on Sunday, although Charyl Chappuis (23) will very likely start in attacking midfield. Muangthong have been reshuffling their pack quite a bit of late, and the Thai-Swiss heartthrob seems to be one of the beneficiaries, playing in a more advanced role. He showed superb awareness and touch to lay on the opening goal in Muangthong’s 2-0 victory at Buriram a couple of weeks back.
One man who has been utilized in central midfield quite a few times by club and country this season is the man well known to Port fans, although more often not by his real name Theerathon Bunmathan (3), but rather by – shall we say – his pet name. Yep, it’s Hia Um. I really hope Muangthong persist with the experiment, as it’s been a load of rubbish as far as I can tell. Hia Um is probably the best crosser of the ball in the league, so the idea of playing him in central midfield where he seldom has opportunities to cross the ball is utter nonsense. In the first half of the season, Hia Um racked up an outrageous 7 goals and 11 assists from left back and occasionally left midfield, but since Rajevac moved him in to the centre of the national team midfield, copycat-in-chief Totchtawan Sripan has followed suit to the tune of zero goals or assists in Hia Um’s last 9 league games. I’m cheating a bit to be fair, as he didn’t play centre midfield in all of those games, and to his credit, Hia Um did bag the final goal in the league cup victory against Buriram with a superb finish. Buuut let’s forget about that and assume he’s going to be rubbish. He normally is against Port, anyway!
It’s worth briefly mentioning that Sarach Yooyen (6) has just returned from injury, and could play a part. While being injured, the Thai national team regular has been frequently linked with Port, but as I said at the time, there’s very little chance of that happening, as once he’s 100% fit Sarach should just slot back in to the team with Wattana (34) or Thossawat (8) losing their place.
Just let these figures sink in for a moment. Since joining Muangthong mid-season, former Sisaket forward Leandro Assumpcao (77) has scored 13 goals in 13 starts in all competitions. Having joined at the same time, his compatriot Heberty Fernandes (7) has 15 in 13 starts, including 10 in his last 6 league games. The comparative slouch in Muangthong’s front three is Thai superstar Teerasil Dangda (10) who has 13 goals in 26 games, and has also turned creator for a further 13. Remember when we only conceded 2 against them last time out? Well, 2 of these 3 weren’t there at the time. Good luck, chaps…
After an absolutely calamitous collapse in the back half of May that saw Muangthong go down to the three promoted teams in succession, they haven’t lost in the league since. That’s 9 wins and 4 draws. They’ve secured 5 wins and 1 draw in their last 6 outings, with 24 goals scored and 6 conceded.
Port are not in quite such strong form, although Jadet has a 100% winning record in the league since replacing Zico, with 2 wins from 2. The last 6 games also include 2 draws and 2 losses, but the less said about the Zico era the better!
Well, I went through all of their mob, so I may as well do the same with ours.
It will be interesting to see if Jadet puts Dolah (4) straight back in to the starting XI, or if Todsapol (6) keeps his place at the back. With Muangthong’s forward line being more mobile than it is tall, Todsapol could be a wise choice, although with Celio coming forward for set-pieces we may yet miss Dolah’s physical presence if he’s not there. Whoever is picked will of course be partnered by Rochela (22), with Panpanpong (19) and Nitipong (34) likely to continue as full-backs. Rattanai (17) made an impressive return to action last week, and should keep his place in goal, despite Paulo Rangel’s despicable attempt to injure him.
Adisorn (13) seems to have fought his way back in to the first XI with another feisty performance in defensive midfield against Nakhon Ratchasima. This sort of game, against more glamorous opposition in swampy conditions is just where you would expect Adisorn to shine alongside Siwakorn (16) in the Port engine room.
Pakorn (9) and Genki (18) will occupy their usual places on the wings, with Suarez (5) and Josimar (30) up front. Both the Spaniard and the Brazilian are in fine form, with Suarez having scored 2 in his last 3, as well as providing 3 assists, whilst Josi has bagged 4 goals in his last 3. The pair were responsible for Port’s 3 goals at the SCG, so will not be underestimated by Celio (29) and Aoyama (5) this time round.
Predicted Starting XI
The match will be shown live on True4U and True Sport HD at 17:45 on Sunday 22 October, 2017. Remember everyone, FANS ARE BANNED FROM ATTENDING, so The Sandpit will be convening in The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 for happy hour beers, where the match will be shown on a big screen with sound. Mention the Sandpit or wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount while you’re there!