Absa Premiership: Orlando Pirates vs Chippa United Preview

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Orlando Pirates vs Chippa United | Tuesday 18 August | Orlando Stadium | 19:30

The 2015/16 PSL season is but a hatchling and already we get our first taste of midweek action. Continental football commitments for Pirates mean an earlier date was required for this fixture, and Chippa have duly obliged with a visit to the Orlando Stadium on what should be a crisp Tuesday evening in Soweto. With Johannesburg expecting some fine weather over the next few days, it could set us up for a free-flowing game in dry, pacy conditions.

To Win (90mins)
Orlando Pirates  13/20
Draw  5/2
Chippa United  4/1

Orlando Pirates
Over the past few seasons, with their ongoing involvement in CAF-related competition, it seems the league has presented itself as a disturbance for Pirates. Eric Tinkler has always maintained a stance that the league is of utmost importance, but as a writer following the PSL teams and a diehard Bucs supporter, I have to feel differently. Their prowess in league matches is never quite up to scratch for a side seemingly always after greater aspirations in continental tournaments. The Confederation Cup, in my opinion, is not the most prestigious goal to aim for, and it seems an easy excuse for the Bucs whenever they slip up in the PSL. This seems to be the general feeling amongst supporters and pundits and having a better fixture structure with midweeks being reserved for continental competitions and the weekends being dedicated to local league and cup fixtures may prove better for the Sea Robbers. Alas, this is unlikely to change any time soon, and thus a change in mentality from Tinkler’s side is required to re-focus on the task at hand tomorrow evening. They still go into this as strong favourites, despite starting the season with a disappointing loss to SuperSport United. Bucs need to find more goals and hosting Chippa could provide a good chance for them to start producing. With Kermit Erasmus finishing top scorer for the Bucs last season with ten, the team will be itching to wipe the slate clean and put in a convincing showing in front of their home crowd.

Chippa United
Before we even get into possibilities for Chippa this season, let me just remind you that they have only won once in competitive action in 2015. Yes, once. Besides a poultry 1-0 win over Swallows in their own back yard back in April, they haven’t won since November 2014. They went through a purple patch at the start of last season as league newcomers, but things dried up quickly, resulting in them avoiding the relegation playoffs by a mere goal difference of three. They’ve spent the off-season shipping in about a dozen new players, admittedly some on loan, in the hopes of turning the tide. If this new blood doesn’t gel quickly though, their season could be over before it even begins. Coach Roger Sikhakhane will have his work cut out for him with a young squad full of inexperience. Their attitude towards games in the first half of last season was perfect; a nothing to lose, go get ‘em attitude that saw them upset many mid to lower table sides that took themselves a little more seriously. Despite going down 2-0 in this fixture last season, they picked up three points when hosting the Bucs at home. They’ll know exactly how big the challenge tomorrow night will be for them, as well as what helped them beat Pirates this time a year ago.

VERDICT: Orlando Pirates 13/20
I’d like to think Pirates will walk all over Chippa and show everyone the class they possess, but I doubt they will. At the same time I’d love Chippa to throw up a real challenge and make Pirates work for the inevitable three points I’m sure they’ll pick up, but I doubt this will happen either. We’re probably going to see a game where Pirates keep a clean sheet and hopefully put at least one goal past their visitors. This scenario presents a few options for the punters. Most notably the famous Under 2.5 Goals that the PSL is well known for. Otherwise a Bucs win is a decent bet and at a decent enough price. Lastly, you could be a little bold and back the home side to keep a clean sheet. If I had to nail my selection down, I’d say either a 1-0 or 2-0 win to the men in black.

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