Dear Jadet: This Is How You Beat Buriram


Dear Jadet

I would like to begin by congratulating you on your excellent and highly successful campaign thus far. Unfortunately, you are soon set to face the even more excellent and highly successful Buriram United, who currently sit atop of the Thai League table and may constitute the toughest opposition you have faced this season.

Despite how well the side have done this season, it may be time to change your winning formula and introduce a new, alien concept into your side’s game – tactics. Unfortunately, the man most equipped to give you a lesson on said alien concept, Mano Polking, is currently too busy mastering the art of total football, so we are going to have to settle for the next best thing.

Mind you, I have no idea how far down the list of “next best things” a 17-year-old football ‘journalist’ is, but it’s all we’ve got.

Firstly, it is important to be aware of how Buriram United set up. While they have played two different formations under the management of Montenegrin coach Bozidar Bandovic, they effectively operate as one ‘system.’ In action, we expect Buriram United to appear like this:



Now, in order to counter this, my suggestions are extremely high-risk, so proceed with caution. Buriram United are conditioned to deal with deep-lying defensive structures, as it is the preferred method of most of their opposition in this division. Thus, the best way to defeat the Thunder Castle is to buck the trend and spring them with a surprise.

Using the raucous atmosphere and favorable pitch dimensions at the PAT Stadium, it appears possible to “press” Buriram with enough intensity to force errors and open up spaces to score, while simultaneously preventing them from scoring themselves.

In order to do this, Port should attempt to match Buriram’s basic system, with some minor alterations, in a manner similar to this:



In order to execute their system, the Thunder Castle need width coming from the full-backs in order to stretch the play, with two of either Korrakot Wiriayudomsiri, Narubadin Weerawatnodom and Sasalak Haiprakhon needed to play high and wide in order to give their attackers room to operate.

However, with the presence of Kevin (97) on the left, who has been one of the league’s strongest players this season, Port may have an ace up their sleeve. His excellent recovery pace will allow him to occupy aggressive starting positions, forcing Buriram right-sided player to keep one eye open defensively, effectively handicapping his attacking potential. This should leave their forward three isolated, and thus easier to contain for the defensive line, with the help of Kim Sung-Hwan and Siwakorn.

Secondly, you may notice Nitipong (34) placed at center-back as opposed to right-back. This is a measure mainly to contend with the pace of Diogo Luis Santo, by providing a player that can successfully keep up with the Brazilian and prevent long through-balls from catching the Port defense out when they come forward.

Additionally, Buriram can sometimes find themselves short-staffed in midfield, which is usually patrolled by only two players, who are primarily creative outlets. Cutting these supply lines is crucial, and a far easier prospect than closing down a mobile 3-man frontline.

The midfield of Kim Sung-Hwan, Siwakorn and Suarez (5) should outnumber the defending Champions in the middle of the park, with Boskovic likely to be partnered with Bodin in the absence of Nurul up top.

Ceding possession to Buriram’s defensive players will hopefully expose their lack of creativity, and increasing the risk of the Thunder Castle making a decisive mistake. The ferocity and intensity of the press should be most in midfield, creating “bottlenecks” in the areas where Buriram have the fewest players.

This serves as both a defensive and an offensive measure; done properly, it allows Port to pick up the ball in dangerous areas and outnumber Buriram with minimal defensive risk. The key to Port’s attack is allowing Kevin to run at the left center back and getting Nurul or Boskovic in one-on-one positions in the final third.

Port have shown that they have the talent, support and belief to mix it with the best – and, on occasion, come out on top. As you prepare to face Buriram United twice in the span of five days, it is the ideal time for this hugely talented squad to reach their peak performance levels. I hope my humble suggestions have offered some insight into how this can be made possible.


Yours sincerely




Gian Chansrichawla

Gian Chansrichawla

Gian is an aspiring football journalist living in Bangkok, Thailand. He currently works as the Southeast Asia editor at Football Tribe and has been a keen follower of Thai Football since 2015.

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  1. […] the window of opportunity open once again, it appears that Jadet took the time to read the letter I kindly sent him last week, as Port began with a furious press on the midfield, exposing the lack of on-ball ability across […]

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