ABSA Premiership Week 3 Preview

The midweek fixtures this week turned up some pretty textbook results, with no real upsets or shocks to speak of. Chances are, if you picked the favourites, you came away with cash, and hopefully some nice multiples were paid out. Probably the biggest stumbling block was Chiefs’ draw at home to a stand-out performance by Moroka Swallows, denying the home side a well-backed win. It’s time to get back to regular weekend action before another lengthy two week break at the beginning of September. Teams will be desperate to enter this international break with three-pointers, with those selected for Bafana Bafana duty looking to prove their selections correct. With that in mind, lets take a look at what’s coming up this weekend.

Golden Arrows vs Mamelodi Sundowns
Downs were held to a tense 1-1 draw at home last time out to a talented Platinum Stars side, with them conceding late to miss out on the three points. They may have the strongest depth of any PSL squad at the moment, but finishing off games has haunted them for a while now, which never makes them the ‘sure thing’ that their team sheet would automatically portray. It was good to see Lebohang Mokoena back after a long layoff, but with him only playing the last twenty minutes, I can’t see him starting this game. Arrows are coming off a loss to Wits earlier this week, with a rather tame showing. There were no real stand-out performances, besides a few so-so chances going a begging, and this leaves me with little confidence once again in their potential this season. With Downs at 17/20 for an away win, it makes it a safe enough bet for me, and may be a great banker for multiples.

Platinum Stars vs Polokwane City
A spirited midweek showing by the new kids on the block, Polokwane City, made a few people stand up and take note. They seem bullish at home, and not willing to show much respect for any side visiting, an attitude that made Celtic work for their 3-2 win. After trading early goals, fans were made to wait until the 74th minute, with three goals in 14 minutes ensuring a thrilling end to the game. It was Stars’ match with Sundowns midweek that I was most interested in, and thought Stars thoroughly deserved their late equalizer in that game, albeit a goal mouth scrap after a shot came off the woodwork. Stars will take this momentum into this game, and I think the men from Limpopo are going to find it tough to get any points here. Whilst they are still largely an unknown entity, Stars should see them off easily enough, with the bookies laying them at a very short 7/20. Again, one only for the multiples.

Supersport United vs Kaizer Chiefs
Here are two teams that carry huge support bases, and with their homes in neighbouring cities, this clash is going to be well attended and full of atmosphere. Supersport grabbed a good win away to AmaTuks on Wednesday, a fixture that had me worried with a few of my colleagues tipping Tuks for the upset. Matsatsantsa came through in the end, with a George Maluleka goal in the 26th minute. There could’ve been more goals in this game, with the scoreline not really a true reflection of things. Chiefs are always expected to win at home, so fans felt aggrieved when they beloved AmaKhosi were forced to share the spoils with Swallows last time out. They fell behind, if only for four minutes, with Bernard Parker slotting home a penalty after a hideous challenge on Knowledge Musona. It seems Stuart Baxter can’t settle on a starting XI yet, and until he does it’s going to cause punters some concern. The bookies have Chiefs priced at 12/10 favourites, but I tend to think we’re in for a draw here at 22/10. Both sides have attacking prowess, so possibly a goal or two each way. This game is set to be a humdinger either way it goes, and will be a must watch affair on Saturday evening.

Maritzburg United vs University of Pretoria
The Team of Choice suffered some homesickness in Bethlehem during midweek, with a goal conceded in each half away to Free State Stars. With two losses from their opening two fixtures, Ernst Middendorp will be relieved to be back at headquarters for this late evening clash. AmaTuks are a well fancied side, with a lot of pundits expecting good things from them this season, despite going down to fellow Pretoria-based side Supersport United just a few days ago. These two teams have only ever met three times prior to this, but Maritzburg have never lost to them, with a win and two draws so far. They’ll want to use this to get back to winning ways, or least get a point from this game. I’m going to get more flack from a close friend at Maritzburg United with this prediction, after I downplayed their chances in midweek, but I can see another draw on the cards (Sorry Mike). AmaTuks do have some decent talent, and a somewhat carefree style of play, especially away from home. The bookies are also unsure where this is going, with the home side at a tentative 12/10 to pick up the three points. The draw is at 22/10 and will be where I’ll be putting my money.

Ajax Cape Town vs AmaZulu
Muhsin Ertugral will be chomping at the bit in anticipation of this game. His side hasn’t seen the lush green fields of PSL football since the 3rd of August, with their midweek clash against CAF Champions League chasing Orlando Pirates postponed. I still don’t know how they managed to dodge relegation last season, and will have their backs against the wall until they find some form worthy of putting them far from the drop zone. A tepid draw in their only other game this season leaves much to be desired even at their fortress, Cape Town Stadium. AmaZulu went down as one of the few surprises in the midweek fixtures, after a historic win against Pirates in the opening gameweek made everyone stand up and take notice. As mentioned, that win had its flaws, and it showed against Aces, who were the deserving winners on the day. These sides have a lengthy head-to-head history, with Ajax having a slight advantage collecting 27 points to AmaZulu’s 18 in previous encounters. With that being said, I can see Usuthu picking up points here, despite the bookies having Ajax as odds on favourites at even money.  The draw is at 22/10 and an AmaZulu win will pay 5/2. I’m tempted to take a draw here, and for those with a ‘go big or go home’ attitude, an AmaZulu win could just be the pick of the weekend.

Bloemfontein Celtic vs Free State Stars
The last game of the weekend serves up an interesting Free State derby, with PSL stalwarts Celtic hosting lesser recognized Stars. Their records so far this season match up identically, with a win and a draw each, with equal goal differences too. This almost seems too good to be true, both sides losing to equally respected opposition in Sundowns and Supersport United respectively, followed up by moral boosting wins against similar opponents in Polokwane City and Maritzburg United. Their head-to-head records are just as close, with Celtic edging seven wins to five in their previous sixteen clashes. Celtic would always seem the more fancied, with the bookies agreeing, laying them at a healthy 12/10. Stars are out at 22/10, exactly the same as the draw. This is the real thinker of the weekend and could serve up anything. The results have been separated by more than goal in recent years, and expect the same here. For value’s sake, I’m going to go for a draw. If you’re looking to include in multiples, be sure to cover yourself with a home win just in case.

With a bumper weekend of PSL action, let’s not forget to get behind the Amabhakabhaka as they continue their quest for Champions League glory in a tough away leg in Egypt against a powerhouse Zamalek side. UP THE BUCS!

Written by The Caretaker Coach for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!  

The man knows his football, but even he gets it wrong from time to time. Feel free to share your PSL tips and multiples below.