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ABSA Premiership Week 4 Preview

Written by The Caretaker Coach for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!  

With another weekend off for the MTN8 semi-final second legs, the twelve other teams not participating have had a chance to regroup and work on areas of concern ahead of a busy week, with all sides, including those engaged in cup action, involved in two league games within the seven-day period. The first gameweek plays out on Tuesday and Wednesday evening. Let’s see if we can turn a profit.

Moroka Swallows vs Polokwane City | Tuesday 26 August | Dobsonville Stadium | 19:30
Swallows have had one of the toughest starts to the season, but have managed to pick up six out of a possible nine points so far. This fixture will be their easiest to date, having home ground advantage coupled with the mediocrity of Polokwane City’s strike force. There’s not much history between the two sides, but the Pretoria outfit have never won away at Dobsonville Stadium. The Dube Birds have managed to score in all three fixtures thus far. Swallows are in some impressive early season form and would be disappointed to drop points in this fixture. You will probably get some healthy odds on a home win, with the bookies never sure of who’s who when moving away from the traditional big sides. This could be a good opportunity for some value.

Ajax Cape Town vs Bidvest Wits | Tuesday 26 August | Athlone Stadium | 19:30
Both sides are in some entertaining early season form and make up two of the only three unbeaten sides left in the PSL. Historically, these two have always played out relatively close affairs, despite their most recent encounter in July ending in a 3-1 Wits win. I’ve been particularly impressed with Ajax’s new resolve to play a better brand of footy, but have said that Gavin Hunt has galvanized Wits and is looking to build on the great season they had in 2013/14. This is a tough one to call, and based on the expectedly tight affair mixed with both sides’ verve in the goalscoring department, taking Both Teams To Score might be the easiest way to pick up some bucks. Either way, don’t miss this one from a viewing perspective.

Maritzburg United vs Chippa United | Tuesday 26 August | Harry Gwala Stadium | 19:30
Chippa started their PSL campaign off with a bang, upsetting Platinum Stars on the opening day with a convincing 2-0 win at home. They’ve been hit with a reality check since then, going down in both following fixtures, most disappointingly to AmaTuks. They’re on the road again, taking a trip to KZN to face an average Maritzburg outfit. Their home form contributes to the majority of their success, so the Team Of Choice will be relying on that to notch up some points in this tie. There isn’t much history between these two, but I’m suspecting Chippa will be taught a few more lessons about traveling in the PSL. They may be able to squeak a point on the back of Maritzburg’s weak squad, so a Home/Draw double chance looks to be the safest option in this one.

University of Pretoria vs Free State Stars | Wednesday 27 August | Tuks Stadium | 19:30
Just when you thought we’d get something easier to call…whilst the Ajax/Wits will be tight for the right reasons, this one could be a close affair in an entirely different sense. Goals aren’t easy to come by in this league, but both of these sides don’t historically score a lot of them. Sometimes that means end-to-end action, or a cagey affair with no real assertiveness imposed from either side. AmaTuks have had a slightly better start than Stars, and home ground advantage is one of the biggest assets for any PSL side, but laying your hard-earned pennies on a home win could prove foolish. For safety sakes, a Home/Draw double chance is the better option. If the Under 2.5 Goals market holds more value, go there instead. I feel we’re in for a snooze-fest in this one.

Mamelodi Sundowns vs Orlando Pirates | Wednesday 27 August | Loftus Stadium | 19:30
This gameweek brings us two heavyweight encounters and this is the first bout on the bill. A slightly more in-form Sundowns play host to a Pirates side devoid of any league potency. Two dull draws and an opening day loss drastically contrast their two-leg dominance of Wits in the MTN8, with a 5-1 aggregate win setting up a spot in the final against Soweto rivals, Chiefs. Coach VV hasn’t converted any of this form into league success and Sundowns might consider themselves lucky to be meeting the Buccaneers in this type of form. Having said that, big match temperament is one asset Pirates have always held high, making this more of a mouth-watering clash than initially thought. The away side has won the last five head-to-head encounters, but I see that coming to an end. It may not be a resounding win, but you’ve got to fancy Downs to get at least a point here. A Home/Draw double seems the best way to cover yourself in this clash.

SuperSport United vs Mpumalanga Black Aces | Wednesday 27 August | Peter Mokaba Stadium | 19:30
As Murphy and his ever-irritating law would have it, Black Aces sit bottom of the PSL after I boldly predicted something exciting from them this season. Yes, they’ve played some really tough games so far, and I’m clinging to the hope that after this one, they may start to turn things around. Unfortunately, the emphasis here is “after this one”. SuperSport haven’t had the greatest start, but they hold the ascendency here. With Black Aces having never beaten Matsatsantsa in Pretoria, it’s brave to bet against them this time around. It might be a good time to change that, with the home side a little off the boil, but realistically, I don’t see that happening. You may not get the risk versus reward ratio you want out of this from the bookies, but I can’t see Clive Barker’s troops getting anything out of this one. A home win won’t be of much value, but try take SuperSport to keep a clean sheet.

AmaZulu vs Bloemfontein Celtic | Wednesday 27 August | Moses Mabhida Stadium | 19:30
The Usuthu faithful will be happy to have their charges back, after a couple of weeks on the road in Soweto. A decent point gained at Pirates and a narrow loss to Swallows will be seen as a good return in two tough fixtures. Celtic will prove their easiest fixture so far, and being at home, a good chance for them to pick up their maiden win of this season. Bloem Celtic have also had a tough run so far, and find themselves in exactly the same situation as their hosts. They’ve yet to keep a clean sheet, and being tight at the back on the road is a huge asset for any PSL side. I doubt we’re going to be in for a goal fest, which should aid Celtic in keeping things relatively respectful in defense. With the predicted lack of fireworks in this one, a single goal could be enough for AmaZulu to take this. You may get more value (and security) in the under 2.5 goals department, and it’s the way I’ll be going for this fixture.

Platinum Stars vs Kaizer Chiefs | Wednesday 27 August | Royal Bafokeng Stadium | 19:30
Round two of the heavyweight bouts is our last preview for this gameweek. They both sit high up on the table, but its Chiefs’ bullish form that sets them apart. They’ve have plenty of practice against each other, with two MTN8 semi-final legs ending in a dominant 5-0 aggregate win for the AmaKhosi. It seems a no-brainer to go for the away side in this one, and to be honest, I have to agree. Stars are lacking a knockout blow, whilst their visitors on Wednesday night have been flooring opponents for fun. There won’t be much sparring time for Dikwena to work on errors that have plagued success against Chiefs the last two weekends, and an away win looks the ever likely result. You might get some value on the fact the Chiefs are on the road, but don’t expect it to light up your accumulators. One away win for me please.

The man knows his football, but even he gets it wrong from time to time. Feel free to share your PSL tips and multiples below.

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