Muang Thong United vs Kawasaki Frontale
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 23 May 2017
Kick-off: 14:30 CET
Muang Thong United lost 2-1 at Kashima Antlers on the last day of the group stage, a result that didn’t hurt them too much, since they had already qualified for the last 16 of the competition. What came after that though, is… beyond ‘hard’ to explain… Three losses in a row in Thailand’s championship, first at Thai Honda, who are right above the relegation line, and then at home to Port and Ubon UMT, two teams that are struggling to stay in the upper half of the table. I repeat, the last two defeats were at home (even though, against Port, the stadium was empty, due to a ban. Muang Thong paid for crowd trouble in a Cup game). Just as their coach, Totchtawan Sripan, said, the team are missing key players who are injured, others look tired from the consecutive matches, but even so, that’s something that can excuse Muang Thong for losing at Kashima, not three games in a row in Thailand’s championship. They remain first in the table, but second-placed Buriram United, just one point behind them, have a game in hand.
Muang Thong United have four defeats in a row, and Kawasaki Frontale have four wins in a row. What’s impressive is that they haven’t conceded a single goal in those four games, and have scored a total of 12. Four were against Eastern, the weakest team of their Champions League group, but the other three wins were in games for Japan’s championship, the two more recent ones away from home, at Jubilo Iwata, and last Friday, at Kashima Antlers. Kawasaki look in excellent form, and given that they are facing a Muang Thong side with many problems, they have a golden opportunity to get a score that will give them the upper hand ahead of the return leg at home, next week.
Muang Thong United vs Kawasaki Frontale: Head-to-head Stats
Muang Thong United and Kawasaki Frontale have never played against each other before.
Muang Thong United vs Kawasaki Frontale: Prediction
I respect Muang Thong United for everything they did in the group stage, but I will be really-really surprised if they win this one. I’m backing the visitors not to lose.
Muang Thong United vs Kawasaki Frontale: Tips
‘Draw or Kawasaki’ is at 1.50, which is obviously not… fabulous, but, risking writing something that could embarrass me once the game is over, it’s one of those bets that feel, to me, very-very difficult to go bad. I’m not 100% confident backing Frontale to win, so for something above 2.00, I’d go for over 2.5 goals, at 2.25. Muang Thong’s games lately have been… crazy, they lost the last two at home by a total score of 4-6(!), and Kawasaki have scored at least twice in their last four games. Obviously this is a ‘special’ game, a first leg of a Champions League tie, both teams should look kind of reserved the first 15-20 minutes, but eventually I expect goals to start coming, and the game to have at least three