Our soccer analyst previews the PSL Week 22 action which kicks off on Friday 23 February 2018.
This will be a very interesting gameweek with teams like Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates keeping a close eye on the Tshwane derby. Can SuperSport United do them a favour by taking points off Mamelodi Sundowns? Maritzburg United once again have a Friday night fixture, this time against bottom-placed Platinum Stars and they will be hoping to repeat their last week’s heroics where they beat AmaZulu 2-0.
Friday 23 February
Maritzburg United 13/20
Platinum Stars 43/10
Maritzburg United produced a scintillating performance in the lively KZN derby against AmaZulu last week which they won 2-0 with Siphesihle Ndlovu, who won the PSL Player of the Month award for January, getting his name on the scoresheet. The Team of Choice are once again at home against the PSL strugglers having climbed up to fifth on the log.
Platinum Stars remain rooted to the foot of the table and winless in their last six matches, at the time of writing. They were also knocked out of the Nedbank Cup by Baroka FC who beat them 1-0 in the round of 32. I’m backing the home side to trounce the relegation candidates.
Saturday 24 February
Polokwane City 26/10
Baroka are without a single victory over their last four matches and the suspension of coach Kgoloko Thobejane and a couple of players by the team due to drinking allegations hasn’t helped their cause. Assistant coach MacDonald Makhubedu was on the bench as they drew 0-0 with Chippa United.
Polokwane City’s match against Bloemfontein Celtic scheduled for last week was postponed due to the unfortunate death of Mogau Tshehla. Psychological strength will be key here for the side that’s placed third from the bottom. The last two Limpopo derbies between these two sides have been drawn and this is likely to be another stalemate.
Mamelodi Sundowns 13/20
SuperSport United 43/10
This is more than just a derby! The parochial Tshwane battle has countrywide appeal as teams all over South Africa are interested in the encounter for their own fate. Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates will be hoping for the prevalence of the blue side of Pretoria to stay within touching distance of top-placed Mamelodi Sundowns while the four teams below Matsatsantsa on the log will be rooting for the Yellow Nation.
Tactically, I’m expecting the visitors to be defensively resolute and hope the pace of Ngele, Evans and Phala comes in handy when transitional play has to come to the fore. Sundowns are likely to press high up the pitch with their patient and smart build-ups. Given their quality, the hosts will win the midfield battle but progression into the final third will be made harder by a low defensive block. It will be a tactical game and Sundowns will win it if they score first. Put your money on them to get the better of Tinkler’s men and compound their misery.
Click here to read the full match preview.
Cape Town City 12/10
Bidvest Wits 24/10
After losing 1-0 to Kaizer Chiefs last week, Cape Town City might start kissing their title hopes goodbye as they are now seven points off the pace. Benni McCarthy slammed his key payers for not stepping up in that encounter and his substitution of Teko Modise for Shane Roberts was a strong message to his players that anyone can be dropped.
Wits have lost four consecutive games against Cape Town City this season and Gavin Hunt will be eager to finally get one over his student, McCarthy. The Clever Boys are unbeaten in over the last seven league matches. However, McCarthy knows how to beat Hunt and I think his dominance will continue here.
Kaizer Chiefs 4/10
Bloemfontein Celtic 15/2
Kaizer Chiefs are unbeaten in nine games across all competitions and most of them have been won by one goal margins apart from the 3-0 drubbing of Golden Arrows and three draws. Ryan Moon has now found the back of the net five times in six matches for Amakhosi. Celtic are enduring a poor run of form as they are without a single victory in five league games and they needed a penalty shootout to beat SuperSport United in the Nedbank Cup. I don’t see Phunya Sele Sele holding their own against the home side. My money is on Chiefs.
Free State Stars 8/10
Free State Stars returned to winning ways last week, beating Baroka 2-0 at home and they now lie fourth on the standings. They also did well in the Nedbank Cup as they beat Super Eagles 2-1 to progress to the round of 16. AmaZulu’s six-match unbeaten run across all competitions was snapped by Maritzburg United last week who beat them 2-0. They face a daunting task against a strong opponent away from home. My money is on Stars.
Sunday 25 February
Golden Arrows 13/10
Ajax Cape Town 22/10
Arrows have slipped down to 13th after losing 2-1 to Bidvest Wits at home under controversial circumstances. The match saw referee Victor Gomes give a total of three penalties and two red cards and Jabulani Shongwe will subsequently be unavailable for the upcoming clash. Ajax are also in the relegation zone with one point separating them and 14th-placed Polokwane City. The Urban Warriors continue to field Tendai Ndoro despite question marks about his legitimacy to play for a third club this season which could backfire. The last two matches between these sides ended in draws and I foresee another stalemate.
Chippa United 3/1
Orlando Pirates 9/10
Chippa United have drawn the most games in the league so far this season, having shared the spoils in 12 of their 21 matches. They head into this encounter on the back of five consecutive draws. Thabo Rakhale and coach Teboho Moloi will be facing their former employers for the first time since making the switch to the Eastern Cape.
Pirates have been superb recently as they have only lost one and won five of their last seven matches. That has seen Milutin Sredojevic win the PSL Coach of the Month award for January. Bernard Morrison showed his true quality as he bagged a brace in their most recent match to help them beat Ajax Cape Town 2-0. Orlando Pirates should win this one.
TREBLE @ 33/10
Maritzburg United Win 13/20
Kaizer Chiefs Win 4/10
Orlando Pirates Win 9/10