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The Sandpit 2021/22 Big Guess Up -Ratchaburi Mitr Phol

 

Ratchaburi are a team that intrigue me every season, as they typically seem to promise so much during the first-leg of the season, only to drop off in the second-leg and have you wondering what could’ve been. They’re a club that aren’t afraid to make spur of the moment decisions, ones that’ll have you scratching their head, but I’ll cut them some slack: they have a wonderful stadium. I guess one of the perks of being a semi-basketcase is the fact that you’ll get some slack cut due to being able to offer a great matchday experience. Take note clubs with running tracks.

I’m going to be quite blunt: they were poor in the Asian Champions League. So poor, in fact, that they terminated the contracts of Junior Mapuku and Vafa Hakhamaneshi, who were both new arrivals. Bar having a brilliant name, I didn’t think much of Mapuku’s CV, and if Ratchaburi wanted a ‘target man’ type of striker: they’d have been better off signing Jhonatan Bernardo. He spent the second-half of last season at Chiangmai last season, and was quite impressive with the way he was not only able to score goals, but also bring his teammates into the play too. Vafa was quite unfortunate in my opinion [the entire backline was poor in the ACL], but he mustn’t have ‘clicked’ well enough for the club to think of him as part of their long-term plans.

It’s been an off-season filled with departures for Ratchaburi, with key players Roller and Karaboué leaving, whilst bit-part and forgotten players such as Patiño, Porteria, Santipap, and Apiwat departing too. I was quite surprised that they didn’t give OJ Porteria more chances, but it is what it is. He’s now back in the Philippines, where I’m sure he’ll obliterate the league once again.

 

Head Coach – Somchai Maiwilai

Somchai has been at the club on-off since 2009, which is quite incredible really. In that times, he’s had 6 spells as the head coach, 3 of which were on a ‘caretaker’ basis, whilst he’s also had 2 spells as the assistant coach. There was a 4-year spell [2014-18] where he wasn’t at the club, which also coincided with a short period where the club did quite well in the Thai Premier League/Thai League 1. Whilst I’m not a big fan of a 4-3-3 set-up personally [I find it a bit boring], Ratchaburi tend to sign the right players to play it the way it should be played, and a lot of that can go down to the help that his Director of Football [Robert Procureur] gives him too.

I don’t think that Somchai is a brilliant coach, but I also don’t think that he’s a bad coach either. He’s your stock standard coach that’ll get the team set-up, and although he won’t get every decision right: he’s got their best intentions at heart. Ratchaburi have had a few personnel losses over the course of the off-season, which hasn’t helped them out, but I’m still of the opinion that they’ve got enough about them where they’ll manage a top-6 finish.

 

Somchai Maiwilai in standard manager pointing pose

 

Key Player – Steeven Langil

It’s the Martinique international winger that’s the key man, with his pace and trickery obliterating most of the Thai League 1 left-backs since his arrival in the Land of Smiles. He’s got the perfect blend of pace, trickery, and end product to boot, and he’s one of the better imports within the league. If you want an example of the quality of his delivery, have a look at the first goal Ratchaburi scored against the Scum a few years back:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSdVPAZaG_E

The highlight in that video [for me] was the comical goalkeeping talent of Đặng Văn Lâm, and the shambolic defending for Ratchaburi’s second goal. I sure hope you Scummers never change!

Now, back to Langil, he doesn’t quite have as good a striker/target to aim for this season, with Ratchaburi losing Boli last season, and replacing him with Derley this season. I know there’ll be a lot of clowns that get upset by this, but the stats back it up: Boli scores more goals than Derley. Therefore: Boli is a better striker. Hopefully Langil-Derley are on the same page early on, as they’re the duo that will keep The Dragons close-ish to the top of the table.

 

Steeven Langil hes rather good

 

My Prediction – Top-6

Ratchaburi are one of the few clubs to have not filled their entire foreign quota, and I’m not including the ASEAN rule in that. I think they’ll make a few big moves during the mid-season window, especially if it begins to get a bit easier to bring in players from abroad, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them shoot right up the table in the second-leg. It’d make for a nice change anyway! They look a top-6 team for me, but looks can be deceptive, but if they make a few solid additions during the next transfer window: they could certainly nail down their spot.

They’ve got a solid enough core to the squad, and I actually quite like some of their additions. A move away from Bangkok United might allow us to see less petulance from Sanrawat, do on his day: is a quality player. If he’s afforded the freedom to move about as he pleases, we could see a big season from him. Hopefully: there’s better barbers in Ratchaburi too! The return of Jakkapan, the addition of Wüthrich, and the drive from Kritsananon… there’s plenty to like in that midfield. I think we’ll see Woodland feature as a central-defender alongside Pawee, and I’m curious as to whether Schipmann will get many opportunities in goal too. There’s a host of puns we can use if he does, so I’m hoping that he’ll get a plenty of chances over the course of the season.

But, what I really want to know is this: will Phakin Khamwilaisak get some meaningful game-time!?

 

 

 

UnTacticalTimes

UnTacticalTimes

The Sandpits grumpy little thundercloud. You suspect he hates Christmas and doesn't leave the house over Songkran for fear of seeing people enjoy themselves. The author of this one decided to use a nom de plume of their choosing.

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