Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

2016 Suzuki Cup preview: Looking at Thailand War Elephants

2016 Suzuki Cup preview: Looking at Thailand War Elephants
by rick olivares

Without a doubt, defending champions, Thailand, are still the favorites to annex a second consecutive Suzuki Cup championship. The youthful but solid roster is intact, and they’ve had good form of late.

Zico Senamuang
Thailand has always fielded talented teams and one can never take them for granted. But this current squad that is coached by Kiatsuk “Zico” Senamuang is good and will continue to be so for the next few years. The only key player who is getting in on the years is defender Prathum Chuthong who will most likely make his Suzuki Cup swan song with this tournament.

What’s under the resume of this team? A Southeast Asian Games gold medal in 2013 and the Suzuki Cup a year later. Last June, they defeated Jordan, 2-0, to pocket the King’s Cup. Furthermore, Zico’s wards have also qualified for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup and the final round of the 2018 World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers. You think they are satisfied? No. The results of the past few months have kept Thailand grounded and humble.

Most recently, the War Elephants went up against elite competition and went 0-2-4. But there’s a lot to learn and gain when you play against Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Japan, United Arab Emirates, and Australia. Especially that 2-2 draw against the Socceroos last November 15 in Bangkok. That’s a good way to head into the 2016 edition of the Suzuki Cup.

Zico employs a 3-5-2 formation where they like to send up numbers when they attack. They play the middle then find their speedy wingers when space opens up. It helps they have smooth finishers in strikers Teerasil Dangda and Siroch Chatthong.

Defensively, because of their commitment to fitness and conditioning, they press and tackle a lot. They also employ three defensive midfielders who like to take their foes’ rhythm away.

Basically, Thailand’s work ethic has made it possible for them to win. If anyone wants their crown, they’ll have to outwork them for it.

The Philippines and Thailand clash on November 25 at 8pm at the Philippine Arena.

Projected Thailand Starting XI

Kawin Thamsatchanan (GK)

Adison Promak    Tanaboon Kesarat    Prathum Chuthong

Tristan Do    Saracch Yooyen    Chanathip Songkrasin    Pokklaw Anan   Therathon Bunmathan

Teerasil Dangda    Siroch Chatthong

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