South African PSL Preview

It was a sluggish start for the big guns in the first gameweek of the ABSA Premiership, with Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates all failing to start the season with a win. Defending champions Chiefs and their predecessors Sundowns fired blanks in goalless draws, with Pirates losing to SuperSport. However, the leagues new boys Golden Arrows and Jomo Cosmos both made encouraging starts to their campaign. This weekend sees only seven league matches as the Buccaneers played their second league match on Tuesday night due to their participation in the CAF Champions League this weekend.

Saturday 22 August

Uni. Of Pretoria 13/10 | Draw 21/10 | Polokwane 2/1 

University of Pretoria and Polokwane City are one of two matches that will kick-start the weekend’s fixtures. AmaTuks started their season with a 1-0 loss away at the Chatsworth Stadium to NFD champions Golden Arrows. It was a disappointing result for Tuks as Golden Arrows were reduced to 10 men as early as the 21st minute after their goalkeeper brought down Lennox Bacela. Polokwane City started their campaign much brighter, proving that last season’s good scoring form was no fluke. Rise and Shine were last season’s third top scorers and netted three against Bloemfontein Celtic at home in what was a dramatic win after coming back from a 2-1 deficit. Polokwane beat AmaTuks in the sides’ first three meetings until Tuks’ emphatic 5-1 victory over them in Polokwane last time out. It should be a tightly contested match this time and the draw is tipped. 

Sundowns 11/10 | Draw 21/10 | Wits 24/10

Mamelodi Sundowns host Bidvest Wits in what is undoubtedly the match of the weekend. Gavin Hunt’s Wits finished third behind Sundowns last season, and after strengthening their squad they are looking serious title contenders. The Clever Boys drew 0-0 here last season and then managed a 1-0 home win over the then defending champions. Pitso Mosimane’s charges have failed to impress thus far. The Brazilians drew their opening match 0-0 away to Platinum Stars and were booted out of the MTN8 by Bloemfontein Celtic prior to that. Wits kicked off their season with a 2-1 home win over Ajax Cape Town, with former Sundowns star Elias Pelembe grabbing the winner after Sibusiso Vilakazi’s opener was cancelled out. After some disappointing form I’m backing Downs to bounce back and claim the win. 

Black Aces 2/1 | Draw 21/10 | SuperSport 13/10

Both these sides couldn’t have wished for better starts to the league season. A first half goal from Bhongolwethu Jayiya was enough to secure Mpumalanga Black Aces a 1-0 victory away to a dangerous Free State Stars. It was a valiant effort from the Aces backline, especially goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane who was awarded with the Man of the Match award. SuperSport, too, put in a workmanlike performance to secure an epic 1-0 victory over Orlando Pirates. Matsatsantsa survived a lengthily break in play after their Tuesday night fixture had to be completed on Wednesday afternoon due to floodlight failure. Pirates launched numerous attacks, but SuperSport escaped unscathed with Michael Boxall’s 19th minute goal proving decisive. Aces were poor at home last season, winning just four of their 15 matches at Mbombela, losing six times and scoring a measly 14 goals whilst conceding 18. SuperSport won this fixture 1-0 back in February and are tipped to repeat that feat. 

Kaizer Chiefs 4/10 | Draw 3/1 | Free State Stars 7/1

Steve Komphela will host his old club Free State Stars to the FNB Stadium, still searching for his first win in normal time with Kaizer Chiefs. AmaKhosi have drawn four matches in a row under Komphela. The dull run starts from the Carling Black Label Cup where they drew 1-1 with rivals Orlando Pirates, they then had to go to extra-time to oust Maritzburg 5-3 in the MTN8, drew goalless with Chippa in their league opener and also played out a 1-1 stalemate with Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 semi-finals last time out. Chiefs have dominated this fixture, winning it 14 times in the last 23 meetings, and losing only twice. They pulled the double over Stars last season and with Stars losing 1-0 at home to Black Aces in their first game, the home win looks a banker bet. 

Ajax CT 11/10 | Draw 21/10 | Maritzburg 24/10

Ajax Cape Town will look to start their home form well in the league after losing their opening match 2-1 away to Wits. They host a Maritzburg United team who held them to a goalless draw here last season. Ajax made it difficult for all who visited the Cape Town Stadium, losing just one match at home last season and winning nine times. They had the second best defensive home record after Kaizer Chiefs, conceding only 10 goals. Maritzburg started their season in uninspiring form, drawing 0-0 with Jomo Cosmos at their Harry Gwala Stadium. Ajax should take maximum points. 

Sunday 23 August

Jomo Cosmos 15/10 | Draw 21/10 | Golden Arrows 17/10

Sunday sees the two newly promoted sides battle on a much bigger stage than last season. Arrows finished the NFD seven points above Jomo Cosmos. The sides drew this fixture 0-0 last season, with Golden Arrows winning 3-1 in the reverse tie. Cosmos did decently to earn a point at Maritzburg United in their league opener but Arrows did much better to beat University of Pretoria 1-0 at home after going down to 10 men early in the game. The away win is tipped.

Bloem Celtic 1/1 | Draw 22/10 | Platinum Stars 26/10

We close out with Bloemfontein Celtic hosting Platinum Stars at the Free State Stadium where Celtic performed admirably against Kaizer Chiefs in the first leg of their MTN8 semi-final last weekend. Celtic have done well in this year’s MTN8, beating Sundowns on penalties in the quarter-finals before drawing 1-1 with Chiefs. Their first league game didn’t go as well as they lost a 2-1 lead at Polokwane to lose 3-2. Nevertheless, they will be confident playing in front of their home support against this Platinum Stars team. Dikwena held Sundowns to a goalless draw in their first match of the season. Phunya Sele Sele are unbeaten against Platinum in the last two seasons and have won this home fixture three times on the trot. Back Clinton Larsen’s men for the three points. 

PSL Picks
AmaTuks DRAW 21/10
Sundowns WIN 11/10
SuperSport WIN 13/10
Chiefs WIN 4/10
Ajax CT WIN 11/10
Arrows WIN 17/10
Celtic WIN 1/1

Written by Wayde Dorkin for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!