Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Orlando Pirates vs SuperSport United Preview

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

Orlando Pirates vs SuperSport United | Saturday 18 January | Orlando Stadium | 15:30

While South Africa are competing in the African Nations Championship (CHAN), the PSL have decided to schedule catch-up games because of the backlog caused by the CAF Champions League. There will be just one game this weekend, with Champions League finalists Orlando Pirates hosting SuperSport United at Orlando Stadium. Four more games will be played between the 23rd and 28th of January, while the normal resumption of the league will take place from the 4th of February.


To Win
Orlando Pirates 17/20
Draw 22/10
SuperSport United 33/10

Orlando Pirates
Pirates sit eleventh on the table but have seven games in hand. The Buccaneers have played six games less than sixth-placed SuperSport, but their 16 points are just four points fewer. They have won five of their eight matches, losing just twice during a packed schedule following their lengthy run in the CAF Champions League, eventually losing to Al Ahly in the final. Pirates ended 2013 in excellent fashion, winning all three of their league matches during December. After losing to Platinum Stars in the Telkom Knockout final they made the most of their eight day break and bounced back to hand Platinum Stars a 3-0 home thrashing in the league. They then earned straight-forward home victories against University of Pretoria and Golden Arrows.  Pirates have injury concerns, with three key defenders in Rooi Mahamutsa, Patrick Phungwayo and Siyabonga Sangweni not yet fully fit. Mahamutsa is still recovering from an arm injury while Phungwayo and Sangweni are both recovering from Achilles tendon injuries. Kermit Erasmus was given the role as the main striker ahead of Lennox Bacela and Collins Mbesuma as the Buccaneers registered those three consecutive victories before the Christmas break. He will likely lead the line again after impressing in those matches. Midfielder Oupa Manyisa was the stand out performer during December, netting in all three games and claiming four goals.

SuperSport United
SuperSport United will be hoping for an improved second half of the season, filled with some much needed momentum and more consistent defensive displays, as they bid to challenge for the PSL title. Matsatsantsa ended 2013 in sixth position after an inconsistent opening thirteen games of the campaign under their new coach Cavin Johnson, who joined from Platinum Stars at the end of last season. Despite beating current leaders Kaizer Chiefs, they trail the defending champions by ten points. Johnson's side have won five, drawn five and lost three of their games so far scoring nineteen goals and conceding fifteen. Unlike Pirates’ superb form before the Christmas break, SuperSport endured a horrid month. After losing to Ajax Cape Town and drawing with Mamelodi Sundowns, both at home, they travelled to newcomers Polokwane City managing only a 1-1 draw. SuperSport made some brilliant attacking signings at the beginning of the season in Mame Niang, Thuso Phala, David Mathebula and Bennett Chenene and these players are bound to reward the club as the season goes on. They have further bolstered their squad by signing Lebogang Manyama from Ajax Cape Town in the January transfer window. The talented attacking midfielder won six caps for Bafana Bafana last year and scored four goals for Ajax this season.

VERDICT: Draw 22/10
The teams met at the end of November last year in the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout with Pirates claiming an extra time 2-1 win after drawing 1-1 in normal time. SuperSport will be pumped up for the return of the league and will give the favourites a tough time again here. Pirates’ backline could be thin for this encounter and their home record in the league hasn’t been the best, winning three out of their five matches and losing twice. The draw is tipped.

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