It would take a heartless super-villain not to have cracked a smile at the news that Super Power had finally, after 27 consecutive defeats, broken their T1 duck. At long last the league’s longest-suffering fans, who have earned more respect with their tireless singing and dancing on the terraces than the players have on the pitch, had something to cheer about. After a season in which they had twice conceded 9 goals, and racked up a goal difference of -94, that 3-2 win over Navy was probably the feel-good moment of the season.
Sentiment aside, though, Port travel to Samut Prakarn on Wednesday to face a side at the peak of their Super Powers. Seeing as their season has consisted of a solitary victory, two draws and twenty eight losses, this should still hardly be a concern for a Port side who are undefeated in the league since Jadet returned to the helm.
Players to Watch
In my last preview I tried and failed to choose my usual 4 or 5 players to watch, admitting defeat due to an assumed overabundance of quality throughout Muangthong’s starting XI. How wrong I was! This time I am in a rather different situation. Super Power’s current top scorers are Brazilian attacking midfielder Moreira (80) and Thai left winger Suradech (2). They each have 3 goals. So these two might be half decent footballers. All the other ones probably suck.
What I did find quite entertaining in my research is that no-one seems to have any idea where half of their players play. Take Moreira for example, who has started in 6 different positions this season. Ironically, the one position their top scorer hasn’t featured in is striker. Maybe try that one out, guys?
Even more baffling is their use of Keon-Pil Lee (33), who has started games as both a centre back and an attacking midfielder. And as a left-back and defensive midfielder, obviously. I’m imagining Jadet looking pensively at his tactics board, perhaps smoking a pipe for effect. The plump prodigy slowly but deliberately switches Dolah and Suarez’ positions in the starting XI while his assistants nod in silent approval.
Hilariously, Lee isn’t even the only player to play in both left-back and attacking midfield. Thai-Italian Antonio Verzura (69) has also played in both positions. Jadet adjusts his monocle, takes Panpanpong and moves him slowly further and further up the pitch. His assistants look on in disbelief as he tucks Panpanpong alongside Dolah in attacking midfield. The spherical sensation begins to chuckle. His assistants look uncomfortable, not knowing how to react. The massive mastermind finally breaks out in to a full belly-laugh, and those around him follow suit. The hysterical hooting continues unabated, before eventually subsiding as the voluptuous virtuoso wheezes, apparently choking on the brilliance of his own idea. As quickly as a T1 referee brandishing a yellow card to Siwakorn, the room once again falls silent. Was he… serious?
As mentioned previously, Super Power are in their best form of the season. Whilst with any other team in the league that might be concerning, with Super Power it means one win, one draw and four losses in their last six. The four losses were against Sisaket, Ratchaburi, Suphanburi and Bangkok United, the incredible 3-2 victory against Navy and finally the 2-2 draw against Thai Honda.
Super Power’s form could also be affected by the fact that they have now been bought by Capital Group in Maha Sarakham, and will be renamed Jumpasri United in 2018. The players can now be certain that the club will remain afloat, and so they have something concrete to play for. Admittedly, it’s a T2 spot for a club in Isaan, but it’s better than nothing! As an aside, check out their promotional video here. Pretty in pink!
The Sandpit Meets Batman
I am lucky enough this week to have been joined by Super Power supremo Batman bin Suparman, the mastermind behind some of the revolutionary tactical decisions at SAT Stadium this season. He showed me just how he would set up the Port side with the XI expected to start on Wednesday.
Batman also briefly described why he made each of the choices.
Rochela (GK) – Rochela is Port’s most important defensive player, so he should also be Port’s last line of defence. It’s not difficult you know, this management lark.
Piyachat (RB) – My plans to play Siwakorn in central defence have been thwarted by his suspension. Instead I’ve got some hipster I’ve never heard of playing right back. Oh, well.
Josimar, Genki (CB) – I’ve been very impressed with the understanding between these two all season, and where is it more important to have a good understanding than the heart of the defence? One thing I’ve never understood is why you would play your top scorer up front. In my experience, your top scorers should ideally be playing at the back, if not in goal.
Suarez (LB) – Anyone with even a passing interest in the beautiful game know that attacking midfield and left back are completely interchangeable positions. Suarez will therefore feel perfectly at home in his new position. Just ask James Milner.
Nitipong (LM) – Fairly straight-forward, this one. Nitipong has been used as a right back all season, but has been struggling for form. What he needs is a move to the opposite side of the pitch to freshen things up.
Pakorn (DM) – I actually heard this suggested in one of The Sandpit’s Zone F interviews and I thought ‘That’s brilliant. Brilliant!’
Rattanai (RM) – Rattanai is a promising talent, but needs to be more involved in the action. Also, playing him outfield means he will be a threat from set-pieces where he can do that thing he does when he uses his hands to kick the ball. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know you were allowed to do that. This lad could revolutionize football, I tell you.
Dolah (LAM) – This fella has impressed me with his speed, skill and dribbling all season. He will be the creative fulcrum of the side.
Panpanpong (RAM) – A player with as much positional awareness as Panpanpong should really be putting this talent to use in the opposition half. How many times have we seen him lose his marker this season, resulting in a goal? I rest my case.
Adisorn (CF) – The crux of my footballing philosophy is that players who have scored two or less goals in nearly an entire season belong up front. Adisorn is the best option available to me, because he has zero goals and zero assists.
The match will be shown live on True Sport 2 at 17:45 on Wednesday 8 November, 2017. For those who can’t make it to SAT Stadium, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match on a big screen with sound if you ask them nicely. Mention the Sandpit or wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount while you’re at it!