South African PSL Preview

The ABSA Premiership has kicked off in typical fashion. With just three games in, only one team is unbeaten so far, and that club is Mpumalanga Black Aces of all sides. Mushin Ertugral has started his tenure at the struggling PSL club with a bang with two wins and a draw and are coming off a 1-0 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns. Champions Kaizer Chiefs continued to stutter in their last league game, drawing 1-1 with Polokwane, while Orlando Pirates find themselves in 12th place with just three points after losing to Bloemfontein Celtic two weeks back. Due to Pirates’ participation in the CAF Champions League their match against table-toppers Black Aces will be played next Friday on the 18th of September. SuperSport host Kaizer Chiefs in what is the highlight of gameweek four.

Saturday 12th September

Golden Arrows 4/1 | Draw 5/2 | Mamelodi Sundowns 13/20 

Golden Arrows and Mamelodi Sundowns will play one of two matches on Saturday that open the weekend’s fixtures. Both sides have one win, one draw and one loss from their opening three league games. It’s a decent start for NFD champions Arrows but the same can’t be said for one of the title favourites Sundowns. Abafana Bes'thende started with a good 1-0 home win over University of Pretoria before drawing goalless away to Jomo Cosmos. They slumped to a 2-0 loss away to Platinum Stars last time out and will be looking to bounce back against the PSL giants here. The Brazilians’ win came at home to Wits, winning 4-2 but they have struggled away, drawing goalless at Platinum Stars and losing 1-0 to Mpumalanga Black Aces in their last match. Sundowns’ record against Arrows is dominant and they have beaten the minnows in the last four encounters. Sundowns are tipped to improve their poor run away from home with a win.

Free State Stars 12/10 | Draw 21/10 | Chippa 22/10

Free State Stars became the first PSL club, and most definitely not the last, to fire their manager this season. Ernst Middendorp replaces Kinnah Phiri after the club lost their first three matches following a nail biting spell last season. Middendorp’s record in the PSL is far from impressive yet the German has walked into jobs effortlessly each and every time he has departed a club on bad terms. Chippa United have a home draw against Kaizer Chiefs under their belt as well as a 4-0 hammering of University of Pretoria. Their only away fixture saw them get pummelled 4-1 from Orlando Pirates. Free State Stars won here last season but after the administrative changes I don’t see them claiming their first victory. The draw is on the cards. 

SuperSport 2/1 | Draw 21/10 | Kaizer Chiefs 13/10

SuperSport and Kaizer Chiefs meet on Saturday evening in the local match of the weekend. With a revamped SuperSport side out to prove their title credentials against the champions, we should be in for a cracker of a match. All eyes will be on Dean Furman, who comes up against a Soweto giant for the first time after signing for Matsatsantsa last month. Furman will be go head-to-head with his ex-Bafana team mates Siphiwe Tshabalala and Reinelwe Letsholonyane in midfield while Jeremy Brockie will look to get the better of the Chiefs defence as he did last season, scoring in the 2-0 win back in February of this year. AmaKhosi did, however, beat SuperSport in the three meetings prior to that and will look to avenge their defeat to Gordon Igesund’s team last time out. Both sides have started their title pursuit off slowly, winning just once and drawing twice. However, the defending league and MTN8 champions are in the final of this year’s MTN8 after beating Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 last weekend. SuperSport have already beaten Orlando Pirates, 1-0, but went on to draw with Black Aces and Jomo Cosmos. Steve Komphela hasn’t had the smoothest of rides in the hot seat but he is tipped to get this one right with a win for the defending champions. 

Ajax 7/10 | Draw 23/10 | Polokwane 4/1

Ajax Cape Town are flying high, lying in second spot and booking a place in the MTN8 final against Kaizer Chiefs next weekend. They have two home wins under their belt in the league, but lost 1-0 to Wits in their only Premiership away match. Polokwane have a win, draw and loss thus far. The only away game saw them lose 3-0 at University of Pretoria and they will need to improve considerably to get anything out of this match. Polokwane were by far the league’s worst defensive unit last season, conceding 60 times. Ajax have continued their strong home form this season and should claim another three points.  

Maritzburg 14/10 | Draw 21/10 | Bloem Celtic 18/10

Maritzburg United’s impressive record against Bloemfontein Celtic is quite astonishing for a club who aren’t seen as a better team than their Free State opponents. Maritzburg are unbeaten against Celtic in the last 11 meetings and their overall record reads only two losses from 17 matches played, winning seven times. The sides drew this fixture last season, but Maritzburg did win the last meeting between them in Free State. The home win is tipped. 

Sunday 13th September

Uni. of Pretoria 21/10 | Draw 22/10 | Bidvest Wits 12/10

Sunday sees University of Pretoria host a team they have never beaten since their promotion to the ABSA Premiership. The sides have met seven times since 2012 with Wits winning three times and the most recent victory a 3-0 Nedbank Cup win in March of this year. AmaTuks have only one win and two losses under their belt but their victory did come at home, thumping Polokwane 3-0. Wits have two wins and one loss thus far, with their loss coming on the road, losing 4-2 to Sundowns. This should be a tight affair and the draw looks the best bet. 

Jomo Cosmos 17/10 | Draw 21/10 | Platinum Stars 15/10

Newly-promoted Jomo Cosmos will be somewhat pleased with three points after three matches, but the worrying factor is that they have not managed to score a goal. They drew at home to Golden Arrows and earned valuable points at Maritzburg United as well as SuperSport United. After two good draws – at home to Sundowns and away to Bloemfontein Celtic – Platinum Stars ousted Golden Arrows 2-0 at home last time out. They will be confident coming up against another promoted side and the away win looks a good bet for some value. 

PSL Picks
Sundowns WIN 13/20
Free State DRAW 21/10
Kaizer Chiefs WIN 13/10
Ajax WIN 7/10
Maritzburg WIN 14/10
Uni. Of Pretoria DRAW 22/10
Platinum Stars WIN 15/10

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