PSL weekend fixtures preview
We are all set for another intriguing weekend of DStv Premiership action with unbeaten Mamelodi Sundowns and Swallows FC to clash, while Kaizer Chiefs seek to make it four wins in a row and Orlando Pirates need desperately to get back to winning ways.
MAMELODI SUNDOWNS V SWALLOWS FC
A top-of-the-table clash between two sides with identical records this season, seven wins and five draws in their 12 matches to date.
Sundowns sit on the summit due to a superior goal-difference, but have been held to successive 0-0 draws in their last two games, versus SuperSport United and, more surprisingly, Bloemfontein Celtic in midweek, where they were one shocking offside call away from losing.
It is the first time Sundowns have failed to score in consecutive games since April 2019, though they did go four games without scoring in August 2018.
Swallows continue to defy the odds but were disappointed with their 1-1 home draw against lowly Chippa United in midweek, after which coach Brandon Truter admitted they were feeling fatigued as the games come thick and fast.
Swallows have three wins and three draws from their six away games this season, scoring eight goals, which is the same number as at home.
This will be the first meeting of the sides since February 2015. Sundowns have won the last six encounters in a row. Swallows’ last success was a 1-0 away win in March 2013 as Siyabonga Nomvethe scored the winning goal.
BLACK LEOPARDS V CHIPPA UNITED
A crucial clash between two teams near the foot of the table who will both be targeting this for three must-win points. Leopards were limp in their 2-0 home defeat to Cape Town City in midweek, while Chippa picked up a good draw at Swallows.
This will be an eighth match on the road in a row for Chippa, which has perhaps contributed to their poor form, though they will have a slew of games in Nelson Mandela Bay in the second half of the season to look forward to.
Chippa have traditionally bossed this fixture with five wins from the previous eight matches (D2 L1), including on their last visit to Thohoyandou in January 2020 when they won 2-1.
Leopards’ only success was a 3-2 home win in March 2019, but they have conceded 15 goals in the eight games between the two, an average of almost two per game.
BAROKA FC V AMAZULU
AmaZulu will be seeking a first away win of the season to ease the frustration of new coach Benni McCarthy, who admits he is growing weary of his players not killing off games in which they have been the dominant force.
Usuthu are winless in four games (D3 L1) and have only managed to score twice in that time, despite creating a slew of chances with the new attacking brand of football they are trialling under McCarthy.
Baroka were on a poor run of form before a surprise 3-2 success at Stellenbosch FC in midweek, which just goes to illustrate how inconsistent and unpredictable they are of late.
They have generally held sway in this fixture with four wins from the eight games to date (D2 L2), though AmaZulu did get a 1-0 win in Polokwane on their last visit in October 2019.
One concern for the home side is the fact that they have failed to keep a single clean-sheet all season.
In fact, the last time they kept out the opposition was a 1-0 win over Mamelodi Sundowns in August last year – 14 games ago.
MARITZBURG UNITED V ORLANDO PIRATES
Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer will just be starting to feel the heat after a single win in their last five games, which came in a 3-0 away success at struggling TTM.
Their last outing was a disappointing 0-0 home draw with Lamontville Golden Arrows in which they created little in the way of opportunities against an admittedly robust defence.
They have not found scoring easy this season, their tally of 13 goals the joint-worst among the top 10 teams in the DStv Premiership, though they have managed more goals on the road (seven) than at home.
Maritzburg’s revival under coach Ernst Middendorp has hit a wobble following their surprise 3-0 home loss to fellow strugglers TS Galaxy in midweek, but he will hope it was just a bad day in the office that will not be repeated.
Maritzburg do tend to raise their level against the so-called ‘Big Three’ with a draw against Mamelodi Sundowns and a win over Kaizer Chiefs so far this season.
They have not managed a win over Pirates since December 2016 though, with The Buccaneers claiming 1-0 victories on each of their last two away fixtures against Maritzburg.
STELLENBOSCH V KAIZER CHIEFS
Kaizer Chiefs have seen a resurgence in form in the last 10 days or so, recording three victories in a row to shoot up the table and into the top eight.
Gavin Hunt’s side have been more effective on the road than at home this season, with 10 of their 16 points coming on their travels, while they have also scored more goals and conceded less away.
All three of leading scorer Nkosingiphile Ngcobo’s goals for the side this season have been openers to set them on their way and with two-in-two, another youngster Happy Mashiane has also been making a good contribution lately.
Stellenbosch have been a model of inconsistency this season, you never know which will turn up – the gritty, difficult-to- beat kind, or the team with the soft underbelly.
One win in six does not make for good reading though (D3 L2) and coach Steve Barker will know they have to improve. Chiefs have won three of the four previous meetings between the sides, but the last ended in a 1-1 draw during the Gauteng bio-bubble.
CAPE TOWN CITY V LAMONTVILLE GOLDEN ARROWS
Lamontville Golden Arrows take their unbeaten run to the Mother City on Sunday and will be buoyed by the fact they have kept clean sheets in their last three encounters as they come up against the DStv Premiership’s best attack.
Only the top two, Mamelodi Sundowns (five) and Swallows FC (seven) have conceded less than Golden Arrows’ eight goals this season and that has been the platform for their run of four wins and seven draws this campaign.
City might have the best attack, but no team has conceded more than the 18 goals they have shipped this campaign, though they did manage just a second clean sheet of the season in the 2-0 win away at Black Leopards in midweek.
City won 4-1 when these sides met in August, but had battled to beat Golden Arrows before that. The previous five matches resulted in two wins for Abafana Bes’thende and three draws.
City do not have a home win over the Durban side since a 1-0 success in May 2017.
TTM V SUPERSPORT UNITED
TTM have slipped to the foot of the DStv Premiership after their midweek loss at Kaizer Chiefs, a third defeat in a row for the Limpopo side. They have not managed a single goal in that run.
They are winless in eight (D4 L4) with their only success a 1-0 home victory over provincial rivals Baroka FC in November.
They have also already lost at home to SuperSport United this campaign, their very first game of the season a 3-2 defeat in the quarterfinals of the MTN8.
SuperSport are just two points off the league leaders but have drawn their last two games, a 0-0 stalemate with Mamelodi Sundowns and a 1-1 home draw with AmaZulu.
They have generally been excellent this campaign, but have the habit of throwing away points too, as evidenced by their 2-2 home draw with lowly Chippa United.
TTM will be wary of SuperSport’s other habit of late strikes – 40 per cent of all their goals this season have come in the final 15 minutes of matches.