Gas Panic? Port FC vs. PTT Rayong Preview

 

The question following that fantastic Friday night trip to Chonburi is: shouldn´t we all just stay at home the rest of the season instead of diluting our glass of football with lesser experiences? Especially with Sunday being the first election day, and hence, a dry day in all of Thailand. Well, I for one am banking on the hawkers around the PAT figuring out that the polls close at about the same time the game kicks off and that therefore they should stay open for business. If you want to be sure, going to the shop before the weekend and getting a few cans to bring with you wouldn´t hurt though. But, with Pakorn (7) having a whole night of long shots to make up for after missing Chonburi due to injury, some throats in and around the Sandpit may be better off sticking with tea anyway.

The feeling in the squad ought to be great, just as it is among the non-miserable bastard section of the fans, after last week´s entertaining win and the long injury list from Friday now being a bit shorter with Kevin (97) and the aforementioned Pakorn both back in play. Dolah (4) has also reported that he´s shaken off the late knock he picked up against Chonburi. However, Rochela (22), Nurul (31) and Rattanai (17) are all still out with injuries and/or suspensions, and rumour has it that Todsapol (6), unsurprisingly as he´s now played a whopping two consecutive matches, is the latest addition to the list.

The last time we squared up with PTT Rayong was during the first half of the 2016 T2 season (the second match was cancelled following the death of King Bhumibol) and that time we won 3-0 at the PAT. Before that we took 4 points off them in the 2014 TPL, but this is ancient history by now so we probably shouldn´t take that as a sign of anything, although it´s always nice to have the stats on your side.

 

The Big Threat: Jumbo-JET

Rayong may be newly promoted, but they should not be thought of as pushovers. They did lose their opening two games of the season but should have had 3 rather than 0 points against Nakhon Ratchasima and beat previous league leaders Patta… sorry Samut Prakan 2-1 last week. They look like a side of decent ability but should really have to hit a high note to threaten the mighty Lions of Klongtoey. The key for them will their offensive marquee signing, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (99). As a Gooner, yours truly has always been a big fan of JET, especially as he was one of my own all-time personal favourites to come up through the Arsenal academy and I was thrilled to see him move to Thailand. He was demoted to the bench against Prachuap following an insipid performance against Korat on the opening weekend but it seems to have worked because he bossed Samut Prakan in the latest match, got a goal and an assist and could have had more to his name with better composure from his striking partner, Apiwat (9). JET has the physique to put any centre-back in T1 off balance and very good technique for a fella his size. Let´s just hope Dolah got his individual errors out of the way at Chonburi and puts in another performance like he had in the first two rounds. We may very well need it desperately. The best strategy would be stopping the ball reaching him and with Go´s (8) performance on Friday still lingering on my retinas that feels doable to say the least. Although, against someone raised on the golf green-esque pitches of London Colney, the floor of the PAT could prove the only line of defence we need in the end.

 

 

The seaside town club with the amazingly sympathy provoking nickname ”The Oil Millionaires” have also invested in the equally likeable Victor Cardozo (5) from Chiangrai United ahead of the season so we should expect the usual amount of shithousery from the annoyingly skilled defender, along with the massive threat his aerial ability poses from set-pieces.

 

 

Still, with a starting XI that gets strengthened with the return of a couple of regulars and the promise of a very good season that our midfield trio delivered against Chonburi, this game should be won by focusing on attack rather than defence. Sumanya (11) was superb and if we find him in space in front of Victor & co. he will surely find the space in behind them as well.

 

Predicted Lineup

Despite the great night last week there was definitely still room for improvement. Panpanpong (19) played well but his defensive flank was left wide open on a couple occasions, and regardless he would´ve had to pull off something special to challenge Kevin for a start if both are fit. Pakorn will probably start as well and I think it will be instead of Bodin (10) rather than Bošković (23), who looked quite happy to be back in his natural position on the wing. That would also mean there´s still room for Suárez (5) without tampering with the midfield trio that looked so very, very well balanced. Possibly, Jadet, in his infinite wisdom, will pick Worawut (24) to replace Todsapol at centre-back but my guess is it´ll be Athibordee (35) who gets the nod.

 

 

Not a bad XI for a wounded squad!

 

Peter Sheppard

Peter Sheppard

Born to a Swedish mother and an English father, Peter, like most Scandinavians, follows the English Premier League as closely as the Swedish league and is an avid supporter of Arsenal FC. Having bounced back and forth between his native city of Stockholm, Sweden, and Thailand for years, he moved to Bangkok to study International Relations in late 2016 and the hunt for a local club to fill the Hammarby IF-shaped hole in his heart began with the start of the 2017 T1 season. A couple of visits to sub-par clubs later he stepped in to PAT Stadium and was home.

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