Number 1 vs The 1 Year Olds: Port FC vs Samut Prakan City Preview

We are top of the league, said we are top of the league… Well it is only week 1, but better to be top than bottom of the league. This week Port face the 1 year olds of Samut Prakarn City (est. 2019). The match kicks off at 5.45 p.m, Saturday 22nd February and is on True Sports 2.

City Highlights

Not much to report on Samut Prakarn who kicked off the season last Friday night against Chiang Rai. The first goal of the 2020 season came after just 3 minutes from Aris Zarifović (27). He missed the first chance from a corner then it was headed on to the bar only to bounce back, Zarifovic jumped up and took the easy header to secure the goal. Chiang Rai equalized just after the break. It was a pretty sedate game with a few chances coming late on, both sides failed to finish off the opportunities they had, 1-1 a decent result for the home side. Chiang Rai did just come off an away loss to Melbourne Victory on the Tuesday so an under par performance from them is not exactly surprising.

New Jack City

Samut Prakan have replaced their old Japanese manager with a new Japanese manager Masatada Ishii – he won the J league in 2016 so has a good managerial pedigree. Their top scorer last year Ibson Melo has departed for Sukothai and Buriram’s underwhelming top signing for 2019 Pedro Junior (10) comes in to replace him. Was Junior a good player who didn’t fit in at Buriram or just an average striker who was talked up by his agent? His 6 goals in 2019 and his opening day performance suggest he’s another journeyman striker not the answer to Samut Prakan’s prayers.

Defensive midfielder Yuto Ono (23) is another reasonable signing for any T1 side. Slightly more worrying for Samut Prakan is signing Ernesto Phumiphan (13), the player who played pre-season for Port but never got a game because he failed to register for the team on time. Him being third or even fourth choice at left back might have affected his enthusiasm to sign for us. Up front Samut Prakan also have Teerapon Yoyei (19) their second highest goal scorer in 2019. He came on in the second half against Chiang Rai and failed to get his name on the score sheet.

Samut Prakan tailed off massively last year following the injury to midfielder and captain Peeradol Chamratsamee (8). In 2020 he’s back and along with Under 23 international Jaroensak Wonggorn (11) on the wing there is some quality in their midfield.  They have the nucleus of the early 2019 side that showed so much promise. The side looks solid enough, but it’s difficult to see them doing anything better than mid table this season, unless Ishii has some secret formula he is saving for week 2.

Korattled

So a 4-1 home win, we can’t ask for much more than that. Korat didn’t have a great day but still had a team that can create chances. Port were given a lot of time and space in midfield and loved it. Good to see Choke giving Kannarin (31) a start; he proved he is capable and with a long season head of us it’s reassuring to see some strength in depth. I’m not going to get carried away with the win but everyone played their role well. Bordin (10) looked to have regained some form, whilst Tanasith (11) came on and continued to look impressive.

Left back Jatarupat (81) coming on late for Kevin (23) did look a bit shaky but he is our third choice at left back and if Steuble (15) and Kevin are fit we are not likely to see that much of him in 2020.

If I could criticise one thing it’s Port attempts to play champagne football and just giving up possession easily to a grateful opposition. Too often Port gave up the simple option to try something that didn’t work. If it’s working the majority of the time great go for it. If this team continues to look for opportunities that just aren’t there we will get punished by better sides. Away at Samut Prakan last year Port were schooled by a well-disciplined side who took all the chances we gave them, we need to remember that.

With Siwakorn (16) still out injured Kannarin (31) should start again. Heberty (37) had a reasonable game – I still think he’s better out on the wing but if Choke is trying to find a way to play Heberty and Pakorn (7) in the same set up this is probably the best way to do it rather than have them on either wing alternating. Choke’s training sessions were held in private this week. Could we see a revamping of the team? Unlikely – I think this is just a new policy of closed training sessions two days before match day.

Likely Starting Line Up

 

I expect Port to win on Saturday but I’m sure Chiang Rai fans expected to win too. As always we could slip up if we are complacent.

My Prediction

Port FC 3-1 Samut Prakarn City

 

Samut Prakan’s view, well Phil’s view of Port

Phil from ajarn.com is continuing his Samut Prakan City fooball blog from last season. Here’s an excerpt from this week’s blog.

Could this be Port’s year?

Yes, but we said the same thing last year. We’ll probably be saying it next year as well. Joking apart, there aren’t many football articles that predict Port to finish outside the top three but this is a club with big ambitions. Top three isn’t good enough. They want to win it!

Care to make a score prediction for this one?

I would take a draw all day long but truthfully, I can only see a defeat. Hopefully we won’t ship four goals like Korat did but I do fear the worst.

Samut Prakan will need to be at the top of their game to get anything out of this one.

Many away fans going?

“General Pathomchai” has organised the usual supporter’s club coach at a sensibly priced 100 baht return, but I guess many Samut Prakan fans, like me, will make their own way there. I mean, who can resist that world-famous walk through Klongtoey Market to get to the ground? There’s nothing like the smell of fish guts and withering cabbages to get you in the mood for an early evening’s footy. Hopefully, we’ll have a bigger away following than the 200-300 that made the short journey last season.

4 weeks is a long time in football

Our next 3 games will really give us an idea of where Port are. This Saturday, can we continue to dominate reasonable teams at home? Next up we have tricky trip to Sukothai on Wednesday, four days later Buriram Away. If we are still singing we are top of the league at the end of week 4 it will definitely be something to shout about.

 


 

The match will be shown on True Sports 2 at 17:45 on Saturday 22nd February, 2020. For those who can’t make it to PAT Stadium, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match on a big screen with sound. Don’t forget to wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount on drinks.

 

Dominick Cartwright

Dominick Cartwright

Originally from London, Dominick has been teaching English in Bangkok since 2006 and has been following Port FC since 2011.

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