Our local football writer previews round 18 of the 2016/17 PSL season, which kicks off on Saturday.
It’s turning out to be a PSL season to remember with Bidvest Wits, Cape Town City, SuperSport, Kaizer Chiefs and defending champions, Mamelodi Sundowns all still in the hunt for the title. The latter have an advantage over their challengers, however, as they have five games in hand due to their exploits in the CAF Champions League.
The 2016/17 campaign looks set to go down to the wire but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, it’s always best to take it week by week. Round 18 will see five ties played over the weekend and the other three will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Let’s get to it!
Saturday 18 February
15/20 Golden Arrows | Draw 5/2 | Free State Stars 7/2
Following back-to-back defeats, Golden Arrows returned to winning ways last time out with a 2-1 home victory over Bloem Celtic. Abafana Bes’thende made a bright start to the campaign but have Golden Arrows slowly faded away.
Free State Stars have been horrendous away from home as they remain winless on the road, including five consecutive losses. Arrows have won the last three meetings against Ea Lla Koto and are tipped to build on that.
Polokwane 17/20 | Draw 23/10 | Ajax Cape Town 33/10
Polokwane have drawn both their matches since the PSL resumed a fortnight ago, while their opponents, Ajax, have suffered back-to-back defeats, conceding seven goals without scoring. Both teams will be looking to claim their first win of the year, so this encounter could prove tricky.
The Urban Warriors actually have a tremendous record against Polokwane, with six wins from nine meetings, going down just once. Goals are expected here as seven of the last nine meetings have seen both sides find the back of the net. Both Teams To Score should be backed.
Kaizer Chiefs 1/3 | Draw 33/10 | Highlands Park 10/1
Kaizer Chiefs will square off against Highlands Park on Saturday afternoon. Amakhosi have been in top form with four wins on the spin, while they remain unbeaten on their ground with four wins and five draws from nine games.
Highlands Park will be desperate to upset the applecart but their recent form doesn’t bode well for their chances. The Lions of the North have managed just two wins from 17 matches and are without a win on the road, scoring eight goals and conceding 22 times. The home win is a banker bet.
Cape Town City 9/10 | Draw 22/10 | Orlando Pirates 33/10
Cape Town City will play host to a shattered Orlando Pirates team in Saturday’s final contest. The home team have been impressive of late with back-to-back wins, scoring five goals without conceding.
Orlando Pirates seem to be on a downward spiral. The Bucs are winless in their last seven matches, including two defeats on the bounce courtesy of title-chasers Mamelodi Sundowns (6-0) and Bidvest Wits (2-1). Another home win is on the cards.
Sunday 19 February
Bloem Celtic 15/10 | Draw 2/1 | Chippa United
Bloem Celtic and Chippa United will wrap up the weekend’s fixtures with a clash at the Dr. Molemela Stadium. The hosts have been dismal with three losses from their last four matches, as well as consecutive losses.
Chippa United are coming off a hard-fought 1-1 home draw against Mamelodi Sundowns. However, they have been terrible on the road as they are winless in their last six matches, including back-to-back defeats. This one should go down to the wire, with the draw looking the likely result.
Tuesday 21 February
Platinum Stars 33/10 | Draw 22/10 | Mamelodi Sundowns 9/10
Platinum Stars have been poor on home soil this season with just one victory from eight matches. Mamelodi Sundowns have the CAF Super Cup final to contend with at the time of writing. The Brazilians are unbeaten in their last five league games with four wins and will be eager to add to that.
A tight affair is expected, especially with Downs competing in the CAF Super Cup on Saturday. It might just take a lot out of the squad, giving Platinum a chance to capitalise. I might be slated for this, but I’m backing Dikwena to pull a rabbit out of the hat with a narrow victory.
Wednesday 22 February
SuperSport United 7/10 | Draw 5/2 | Maritzburg United 4/1
SuperSport stretched their unbeaten league run to 15 matches on Wednesday with a dull goalless draw away to Free State Stars. Matsatsantsa are undefeated at home with five wins from seven games, scoring 19 goals and conceding just five times.
Maritzburg United come to town without a win in four matches, including three draws and a 2-1 home defeat last time out at the hands of Kaizer Chiefs. The home win is tipped.
Bidvest Wits 1/4 | Draw 15/4 | Baroka 14/1
Table-toppers Bidvest Wits and Basement-dwellers will round off gameweek 18. The Clever Boys are unbeaten in their last five matches with three victories. The Clever Boys have been strong on their ground with four wins from six matches.
Baroka are placed at the root of the table without a win in their last 11 matches, including five defeats and six stalemates. Wits won the reverse tie 2-0 and are tipped to pull the double over their opponents.
Written by Aaron Crowie @Hollywoodbets