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The Sandpit 2021/22 Big Guess Up- Chonburi

Chonburi are your typical team that won something many moons ago, and still hang on to the belief that they should be mixing it up with the top-half of the table every season, and possibly be involved in a challenge at some point. Bar their Thai FA Cup in 2016, that was their last piece of silverware, with the Kor Royal Cup in 2012 being the piece before that. Safe to say, for a team with the pedigree that Chonburi has, and for a fan base and boardroom that expects so much: they’ve been massively underachieving for the last 5-years. Bar a few glimpses of promise of course, namely the FA Cup win in 2016, and them finishing runners-up in it last season too.

For me, I feel we’ve seen a transition of the club, and in my opinion, it’s for the better too. In previous seasons I’ve looked at the Chonburi squad, laughed, and commented ‘Dad’s Army’ on it. The same can’t be said now, as there is a youth movement at the club, with there only being a handful of players over the age of 30. It’s a major shift in strategy in my opinion, and they’ve now got a core of talented [young] Thai players, that have gained experience in the past few years, with them being complemented by solid foreign players in the form of Dennis Murillo, Gidi Kanyuk, and Yoo Byung Soo. I’m not that fussed by Renato Kelic if I’m honest, but when you compare him to Junior Lopes, I guess he looks like prime Paolo Maldini…

I think this season is one that should be a real lift to Chonburi fans, because there’s plenty of reasons to be excited by their squad, and the pressure is now on their head coach to lift them out of their slide down the table in recent years. Since 2016, Chonburi have finished: 5TH à 7TH à 9TH à 7TH à 12TH. Simply put, they’ve been a club mismanaged for at least the past 5-years, and it’s about time they started to turn things around.

Chonburi they’ve cleaned up this close season

Head Coach – Sasom Pobprasert

I haven’t paid too much attention to coach Sasom in the past if I’m honest, with my main memories of him being from his time with Air Force Central. From conversations that I’ve had with certain individuals, I’m led to believe he’s quite a useful coach with younger players, which makes the Chonburi strategy of signing a plethora of has-beens in the past few seasons even more of a headscratcher for me. Regardless, the same can’t be said about the team this season, and it should be a good indicator of just how good their coach is.

Below is Sasom’s record in charge of Chonburi:

GAMESWINSDRAWSLOSSESWIN %
441781938.64

 

I guess it’s solid enough, but it’s nothing to write home about either. If they can finish this season with more draws than losses [and more wins than draws of course!], then that would be considered a major success in my eyes.

Coach Sasom, is his Sharks team set to fly up the table?

 

Key Player – Dennis Murillo

It was actually quite difficult to decide on who I feel will be their key man, as you could’ve also gone for the likes of Kritsada, Worachit or Gidi. I opted to not take the easy option and give multiple players, and I’ll tell you why: Dennis is superb. I’m not saying he’s a magnificent player, as I feel that he’s quite average in a few areas, but if you’re looking for someone who’ll find the back of the net for you on a regular basis: he’s your man. There’s no fuss with him, he can be relied upon to show up and do his job, and considering some of the ‘diva’ foreign players that we’ve seen in Thailand, it’s a nice change.

Provided he gets good service from Gidi and Worachit, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him have another 20-goal season, and fill the goalscoring void that the club’s had since they inexplicably sold Lukian in 2019.

 

Dennis Murillo her erm rocks and he plays for Chonburi now

My Prediction – Mid-table, possibly top-half

I think we’ll see quite an improvement from Chonburi this season, and I’m quite certain that we won’t see them flirting with relegation this time about. Simply put, there’s worse teams in the league this year, but take nothing away from the club: they’ve gotten their recruitment right. Only Rayong scored less goals in the division last season, so to get the top scorer remain in the country and his main supply route, is both quite a coup and a simple fix to your main problem. Better late than never in that regard! If I were on the Chonburi board, my message to Sasom would be quite simple:

“You’ve been able to build a strong team this season. Get the results required, or you’ll be moved on.”

Whether or not he has the capability to do so remains to be seen, but there’s enough attacking pieces at the club to see them find the back of the net frequently. The problem for me is their defensive unit, though I quite like Chatmongkol, but I’m just not certain that there’s enough quality within it to keep their opposition at bay. Throw Chanin into the mix, who’s good for at least 3 howlers a season: it should make for an interesting season to say the least!

 

 

 

 

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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