Monday, 9 January 2012
Muangthong United Vs Buriram PEA: FA Cup final preview
The result of Wednesday's FA Cup final between the Quilins and Buriram PEA is likely to be slightly less important than the passing of the torch it signifies.
Whatever the outcome of the game, some changes, possibly irreversible, will come into effect shortly after.
PEA will merge with Buriram FC in a move that will at least calm fears of a potential conflict of interests had the two clubs competed in the TPL separately. Muagthong look set for another large end of season clearout - hopefully more successful than the last - as the club finally realise the fight for 'top dog' spot needs to be stepped up.
Both moves should be beneficial to Thai football as a whole but perhaps the most important change in effect will be the interest in the game. Although the Thai FA have preformed a truly startling feat of incompetency with the scheduling of the tournament - that's why the final is being played on a Wednesday - the stadium is still likely to be sold out and viewers around the country will tune in to watch on satellite TV.
The stage is set for a clash of two Thai heavyweights and could be indicative of a Rangers Vs Celtic style battle for long term supremacy devloping in Thaland. Chonburi and BG may have something to say about that but although they finished above us this year, the Sharks have moved slowly to improve their stadium and exposure compared to the other big clubs and BG seem content with a top five, rather than top one space.
In team news, MTU should be boosted by a return to near-full fitness for Christian. This gives Fowler plenty of choice for his attacking line up. Although Robbie had a good first half on Saturday, his presence in the starting line up commits us to one second half substitution and that limits our tactical options. I'd far rather start with Teerasil and Christian in attack.
The rest of the squad are almost full strength. Zesh Rehman was absent on Saturday but possibly not for fitness reasons.
MTU have not scored against PEA in four league games. This is the first time the sides have met in cup competition since PEA moved from Ayutthaya.