Thursday, 25 November 2010
FA Cup final preview part 3 - The line up and tactics
This Sunday's match between Muangthong United and Chonburi is a very even affair.
On paper, the advantage goes to the 'Quilins'. As thai-fussball.de shows with its very useful fact sheet, the previous meetings between the sides have seen just one win for 'The Sharks' but two for Muangthong, and with United eyeing a historic double, the league table shows them as the slightly stronger side.
But the truth will out on the pitch, and the Supalachasalai clash could be a very difficult affair for the marginal favourites. For one thing, 'thong are without arguably their two strongest players in Kawin and Christian. The former has a broken hand, the latter is suspended in controversial circumstances. Moreover, as Rene explained, there's been little time for United players to rest, while fewer Chonburi players have been called to duty in the last two weeks.
With fatigue and crucial injuries to cope with, it is hard to predict MTU's tactics for this game and particularly hard to guess who will support Teerasil in attack. Ibrahim has impressed greatly in recent games but the forward is still relatively young and inexperienced. Ronnachai Rungsiyo is a more experienced player but seems out of favour and his style is almost identical to Teerasil's, making him more of an out and out striker rather than a forward in the pacy supporting role of Ibrahim (or Christian). It's possible Siaka could partner Teerasil in attack and Narongchai or Nawapol may be called in to midfield.
Chonburi's tactics against us on their own turf proved effective as they put men behind the ball and double-marked creative players. They seemed to learn from their mauling - despite the game being quite even - at the Thunderdome where their style was more open. I would guess at a slightly defensive, counter-attacking style from the boys in blue, and they have the firepower to make it work.
Will fatigue punish Muangthong? Will Chonburi foil the Quilins in their newest tactical battle? Or will MTU pull through one last time and take the double glory? We'll know in just three days
For the road to the final, staff details and a few other facts, visit the aforementioned thai-fussball page.
My guess at MTU's starting lineup is this;