The Soweto Derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday will grab the attention of fans up and down the country but there are also other crucial clashes to enjoy, not least a top-of-the-table meeting between SuperSport United and Swallows FC.
ORLANDO PIRATES VS KAIZER CHIEFS
The big one in South African football, though it is rare for both these Soweto giants to come into the Soweto Derby in such indifferent form.
Orlando Pirates have already recorded two handsome wins in the MTN8 semifinals this season, 2-0 and 3-0, ties in which they were comfortably the better side, but their form has waned in recent months, while Chiefs have shown some signs of recovery and go into this fixture unbeaten in five (W3 D2).
Pirates have netted just twice in their last four DStv Premiership games and their potency in front of goal is a real worry that has led to seven draws in their 14 league games to date, the most of any side in the top-flight.
Their 11 goals conceded is the third-best record in the elite league behind Mamelodi Sundowns (7) and Swallows FC (8) but only 15 goals scored in 14 games is poor.
Interestingly, they are the only club in the top division not to score via a header this season, suggesting set-pieces and high crosses into the box are not good attacking weapons for them.
Chiefs won both league fixtures between these sides last season, while the previous 10 meetings in all competitions have resulted in six Pirates victories, two for Chiefs and two draws.
Draws used to be commonplace in this fixture, but there have actually only been those two in the last 12 meetings.
Both sides love late drama, a third of Pirates’ goals this season have come in the final 15 minutes of matches, while for Chiefs that number rises to 36 per cent.
LAMONTVILLE GOLDEN ARROWS VS MARITZBURG UNITED
Lamontville Golden Arrows lost their unbeaten record last time out when they went down 4-2 to Cape Town City and can get back on track in this KwaZulu-Natal Derby against a Maritzburg United side who have suffered back-to-back defeats.
Maritzburg had shown signs of recovery under Ernst Middendorp but those home losses to TS Galaxy (0-3) and Orlando Pirates (0-1) have been a set-back and they now have the unwanted record of the worst defence in the top-flight this season with 21 goals conceded in 13 games. What’s more, their record of 10 goals scored is only better than bottom side TTM (7).
Golden Arrows will hope there is no hangover from that loss at City, and they have been strong at home (W3 D3), earning them a place in the top six.
The Durban-based side have had the edge in this fixture down the years, winning 12 of the 26 previous meetings, with Maritzburg claiming seven and a further even draws.
At home Abafana Bes’thende lead 9-2, with Maritzburg’s last success all the way back in 2012.
BLOEMFONTEIN CELTIC VS TTM
TTM will hope a change of ownership will bring a change in fortunes after a dire start to the season that has seen them claim just a single win in their 13 matches (D6 L6) and none yet on the road (D3 L3).
But they would move ahead of fellow strugglers Celtic with a victory on Saturday, though the Free State side have lost just once at home this campaign (W2 D3).
Neither side are particularly adapt at scoring first half goals, just one of TTM’s seven have come in the opening period, and only three of Celtic’s 11. It suggests the fireworks in this match, if they are to come, will be in the second half.
TTM have not scored any goals in four of their six away games, and in seven of their 13 overall, more than half.
Celtic are winless in eight games in all competitions, while TTM have not tasted victory in their last nine, which includes losing their previous four, all without scoring a goal.
SUPERSPORT UNITED VS SWALLOWS FC
A tasty clash between two in-form sides who are both on 27 points, trailing leaders Mamelodi Sundowns by three but with a game in hand.
Swallows’ remarkable run is well-documented, a number of late, late goals in recent weeks keeping them unbeaten this season (W7 D6) and with only a single loss in their last 30 games dating back to last season.
They have shown signs of some fatigue in recent weeks though and three of their previous four games have been draws, all by 101 margins, though to be fair two of those were against Sundowns and Orlando Pirates.
SuperSport have climbed the table with minimal fuss of late, their last nine games have seen six wins and three draws.
They are unbeaten at home (W4 D3) and their 22 goals scored is the joint second highest in the top-flight behind Cape Town City (25).
This will be the first meeting for the sides since an Nedbank Cup clash in 2016 that was won 1-0 by SuperSport. Swallows’ last victory was in a league game in 2013 when they won 2-1 in Pretoria.
BLACK LEOPARDS VS TS GALAXY
A battle between two teams in the bottom five, but while TS Galaxy have shown signs of improvement in recent games under new coach Owen da Gama, Black Leopards have slipped to three defeats in a row, including a 2-1 midweek loss to Mamelodi Sundowns.
Only Maritzburg United have lost as many games as Leopards this season (8), while no team has conceded more than their 21 goals.
Galaxy have just one win on the road though in seven games (D4 L2), which came at Maritzburg United (3-0) 10 days ago, while they followed that up with a 1-1 draw at Orlando Pirates.
They are actually on a run of five away games in a row in the DStv Premiership (and six out of seven), but that is followed by four home games on the trot in March and April, which makes for some interesting scheduling.
This is the first ever meeting between the sides.
BAROKA FC VS CAPE TOWN CITY
Cape Town City return to Limpopo for the third time in as many away games, a punishing schedule that has seen them criss-cross the country this month in between two home games in the Mother City.
They managed a 1-1 draw at TTM and followed that up with a 2-0 win at Black leopards, with both of those games in Thohoyandou. They will not have to go that far with this match played in Polokwane.
Baroka are a better away team than they are at home – they have lost their last four on their own patch, but managed an away win at Stellenbosch FC and draws at TS Galaxy and Kaizer Chiefs in that time. Nine of their 16 points this season have come away.
City are also vastly improved on the road with 11 points already and if they get at least a point here will also have a better record on their travels this season than at home, something you would never have thought possible given their previous struggles away.
Baroka have had the better of the ties between the sides in the past with four wins to City’s three in 10 games. At home they also lead the head-to-head 3-2 with a single draw.
City’s last four visits have resulted in three losses and a draw.
Expect goals in this one, City’s matches have contained 45 this season (GF25 GA20). The next highest on the list? You guessed it, Baroka FC with 37 (GF16 GA21).
MAMELODI SUNDOWNS VS CHIPPA UNITED
Mamelodi Sundowns narrowly avoided a fourth successive draw when they got a winner over Black Leopards deep into injury-time in midweek for a 2-1 away success, and now come up against a resurgent Chippa United.
The Nelson Mandela Bay club have taken seven points from the last nine available in the midst of this incredible run of away games – this will be their ninth in succession caused by their home city being declared a Covid-19 hotspot.
They have not played at home since November, but that has allowed them to find a way to win on the road and, of course, they will benefit from a long run of home matches in the second half of the season.
Sundowns will be relieved to have gotten over their stutter, albeit in unconvincing fashion, and this is a game they will have marked down as a home win.
Chippa have lost half their away games (W2 D3 L5) and are averaging a goal-a-game on the road, while Sundowns have been predictably strong in Pretoria (W4 D3).
Sundowns have never lost in their league to Chippa (W8 D6), with the Chilli Boyz’s two successes both coming in the Telkom Knockout.
Sundowns have won eight and drawn one of their previous nine home games against Chippa in all competitions.© Mzansi Football.
SOURCED FROM THE PSL WEBSITE.