South African PSL Preview

Orlando Pirates now occupy second place after a convincing 4-2 victory over Chippa United
Orlando Pirates now occupy second place after a convincing 4-2 victory over Chippa United
Mamelodi Sundowns’ back to back draws against Free State Stars and SuperSport United have made the league title race very interesting. Orlando Pirates who now occupy second place after a convincing 4-2 victory over Chippa United have a mammoth task ahead of them this weekend against Kaizer Chiefs. Elsewhere, of course, Platinum Stars’ losing streak continues and it should be easy to predict the outcome of their match against Free State Stars. Let me give you my PSL predictions...

Friday 2 March

AmaZulu 31/10
Draw 43/20
Mamelodi Sundowns 9/10

The last time Sundowns visited King Zwelithini Stadium they lost 2-1 to Usuthu and they will be wary of this potential banana skin. AmaZulu had to dig deep to earn a point against a resurgent Free State Stars side in a goalless draw last weekend. At some point Sundowns looked like the runaway champions, but after failing to collect maximum points against both Free State Stars and SuperSport United, the gap between them and second-placed Pirates is now only four points. Failure to win points here would put a great deal of pressure on them with the chasing pack breathing down their necks. This could be a third consecutive stalemate involving the Brazilians.

Bidvest Wits 19/20
Draw 21/10
Baroka 31/10

The defending champions who were relegation candidates for the better part of the current campaign are now playing like The Clever Boys we saw last season. Wits have now climbed into the top eight after going seven games unbeaten. Last week, Gavin Hunt snapped his four-match hoodoo against coach Benni McCarthy by beating him for the first time ever. By a way of contrast, Baroka are on a seven-match winless run and the suspension of coach Kgoloko Thobejane, who knows the team like the back of his hand, isn’t helping their cause. They have lost all their four previous meetings with Wits. One winner here, the hosts.

Cape Town City 12/10
Draw 19/10
Chippa United 51/20 (20:00)

Cape Town City head into this one on the back of a three-match losing streak which completes their four-match winless run. They have now plummeted to six on the log and nine points off the pace. In their last 13 games, whether they win, draw or lose, they have scored one goal at most which highlights their defensive approach. Chippa United have now gone six league matches without tasting victory and they have drawn 12 games which is more than any other PSL team. It was great to see them playing attacking football against Orlando Pirates last week although they lost the six-match thriller 4-2. Put your money on a share of the spoils.

Saturday 3 March

Orlando Pirates 16/10
Draw 37/20
Kaizer Chiefs 19/10

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SuperSport United 29/20
Draw 39/20
Maritzburg United 2/1

SuperSport United let a first half 1-0 leads slip, courtesy of a Thabo Mnyamane strike, to share the spoils in the Tshwane derby this past weekend. Eric Tinkler, though, was happy with his charges and called them a bus in defence and Ferrari in attack. Matsatsatsa have only won one of their last seven matches. Andrea Fileccia’s late brace against Platinum Stars completed Maritzburg United’s turnaround and helped them collect maximum points. The Team of Choice now sit fourth on the log with six points separating them and the table-topping Sundowns. This is a tough game to call but I’m leaning towards the visitors.

Platinum Stars 33/20
Draw 19/10
Free State Stars 33/20

The whipping boys of the PSL, Platinum Stars, are winless in their last eight matches in all competitions. They let slip a 1-0 lead at Maritzburg United to lose 2-1 at the death. The only positive they could take from that is the fact that Riyaad Norodien who is on loan from Pirates has gotten off the mark with a thunderous free kick. Free State Stars are unbeaten over the last four matches but they’re slowly losing ground on the title contenders after two successive draws against Sundowns and AmaZulu. My money is on a stronger Free State outfit to beat the bottom-placed side.

Sunday 4 March

Bloemfontein Celtic 21/20
Draw 39/20
Ajax Cape Town 29/10

Bloemfontein Celtic are winless in the last five league matches and last week they had to hold their own to claim a hard-fought draw against title-chasing Kaizer Chiefs. They now sit 13th on the log with 26 points, meaning they need four to survive relegation. Ajax Cape Town missed out on a golden opportunity to move away from the relegation zone last week when they lost 1-0 to Arrows while Polokwane City who are just one spot above them drew. Muhsin Ertugral’s men have won only one of their last five matches. I’m backing a draw here.

Polokwane City 31/20
Draw 39/20
Golden Arrows 37/20

Polokwane City are winless in their last six league fixtures of which the last five were consecutive draws. They are now just one spot above the drop zone. If they lose and Ajax who are below them win, they’d be in trouble as only two points are the difference. Arrows finally moved up the table last weekend when they grinded out a much-needed 1-0 victory over relegation-threatened Ajax Cape Town. Abafana Besithende will still be without Jabulani Shongwe who got a red card against Wits two matches ago. I foresee the teams cancelling each other out.

TREBLE @ 14/1
Bidvest Wits Win 19/20
Maritzburg United Win 2/1
Free State Stars Win 33/20

Written by Benedict Ngwenya