The long mind numbingly dull wait is over and the first week of T1, 2020, is finally upon us. The customary promotion/relegation chaos is over, as is the equally chaotic exercise known as the Thai transfer window. Hence, its time for a look at this year’s participants and figure out what we may expect from them in terms of performance. Starting with the bottom four:
13. Trat FC
A very impressive first year in the top flite produced a mid-table finish, but the team suffered heavy losses, especially in the form of T1 top-scorer Lonsana Doumbouya who moved to the Chinese second division, and risk suffering a hard case of second season syndrome. Still, what they haven’t lost is the advantage of a geographical location that usually keeps big away followings from turning up and “Prince” Adefola Durosinmi, they also brought in a solid replacement for Doumbouya in the form of Ricardo Santos, along with some interesting ASEAN names, which should still be enough to avoid relegation, if only just.
Player to watch: Prince Fola
14. Police Tero FC
First runners up in T2 last year, has kept a solid core of players and added some decent names to it. Will not go quietly in what is looking like it will be a fierce relegation battle but I still see them dropping right back down in the end.
Player to watch: Arthit Boondjinda
15. Suphanburi FC
Finished in the relegation zone last year but was given a wildcard to stay in T1 after PTT Rayong dropped out. The big signings didn’t turn out too well and the strategy during this window has involved making good use of the ASEAN-quota. If the pieces turn out to fit it could be all well and good but will struggle to remain in the top flite this time around.
Player to watch: Felipe Amorim
16. Rayong FC
Snatched the final promotion spot from T2, despite suffering a 7-0 beating at Police Tero on the final day of the 2019 campaign, after Sisaket only almost managed to parry their 12 point reduction but in the end came up 2 short of a top three finish. Rayong, in a sense, replaces local rivals PTT, who terminated senior team operations and withdrew from T1 at the end of 2019. The outlook on promotion is gloomier than that of PTT last year. Some pretty underwhelming transfer activity, bringing in a new frontline, with ageing T1 journeyman Bireme Diouf joining as the marquee signing from Trat and giving AFC Ajax academy graduate Leandro Resida a second go at the Thai League following his not too impressive spell at Chainat. Can basically just hope to put up a good fight against relegation.
Player to watch: Leandro Resida