Can Chiefs bounce back from Cup defeat?

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After a record-breaking start to the 2019/10 league season, Kaizer Chiefs were knocked out of the Telkom Knockout over the weekend as Judas Moseamadi’s brace booked Maritzburg United a spot in the cup final.

The Cup defeat means Chiefs fans will have to wait a few more months for a domestic trophy, their last piece of competitive silverware being the league title of 2014/15.

Amakhosi will have to lick their wounds quickly as they go into battle against newly promoted Stellenbosch tonight.

Bernard Parker and Lebogang Manyama have a big role to play moving forward.

The bouncebackability test

Since their last trophy, the stats have not been favourable to Chiefs in the league matches following a knockout in the MTN8, Telkom Knockout and Nedbank Cup tournaments. In the 12 matches they’ve played immediately after a domestic knockout, they have failed to win on nine occasions (Played12, Won 3, Drew 4, Lost 5). They’ve only kept one clean sheet in those matches and even Middendorp’s predecessor Giovani Solinas’ last domestic game in charge was a defeat in one of these bounceback test matches.

Like “winning while playing badly”, bouncing back from defeat is one of those famed hallmarks of champions, and Chiefs will need to find the formula tonight if their title charge is not to be derailed. With Sundowns winning their midweek encounter and reducing the gap at the top to seven points, Midderndorp’s men will be aware of the importance of a win. In fact, a win will ensure Chiefs end the 2019 year as league leaders.

Sundowns beat AmaZulu on Tuesday to cut down Chiefs’ lead to seven points.

Chiefs runaway start

That said, the Telkom Knockout defeat should not make us forget the incredible start Chiefs have made in the league this season. Amakhosi have already matched the total number of #AbsaPrem wins they had throughout all of last season (9) with just over a third of the season played. Moreover, they are one win away from a record-breaking 31 points in the opening 12 games. Since the PSL reverted to 30-games in 2002, no side has won more than 30 points in their opening 12 league games.

The visual below shows where this side rank in terms of 11-game starts since 2002:

11 – The nine wins from 11 games so far is also Chiefs’s highest number of wins at this stage of a 30-game PSL season.

19 – Chiefs have scored 19 goals in the league this season, after 11 games. Only twice before have they had more goals at this stage of a 30-game PSL season.

Chiefs form away from home

Since Ernst Middendorp’s first game in charge in December 2018, Kaizer Chiefs have won 14 league matches. Pitso Mosimane (17) is the only coach that has picked up more league wins since the German rejoined Chiefs. That confidence is seen best in their form on the road. 

Chiefs have a 100% record away from home this season (P5 W5 including 3 successive clean sheets). The 5 away games they have won this season is already more than the number of away wins they managed throughout all of last season (4). And we’re still only in November.

Tough tests for Stellenbosch

As for Stellenboch, Steve Barker’s men will not be easy opposition, as they come into tonight’s game boasting a record of just one defeat in their last six games. They are one of only four teams yet to lose a league game at home this season (alongside Arrows, Pirates and Supersport), but that record will be put to the ultimate test in the next few weeks.

Stellenbosch await Kaizer Chiefs.

Their next two home games see them host the current PSL Top 2 (Chiefs & Sundowns), while a visit to the 3rd placed SuperSport United is sandwiched in between. Their home form, exemplified by the victory over Orlando Pirates last month should be enough to give them confidence. And should be warning that they are not just here to make up the numbers.

Bonus stats

Baroka v Arrows

1 – Baroka have won 1 out of the last 16 home matches since winning the TKO in 2018 (P16 W1 D6 L9). They are yet to win a home game this season, a record they share with Chippa.

Celtic v Cape Town City

0 – Cape Town City are yet to win an away game in the #AbsaPrem this season – and are one of three sides without an away win since the season began (incl. Celtic & Arrows).

Chippa v Leopards

Chippa are yet to win a home game this season, a record they share with Baroka.

Maritzburg v SSU

Maritzburg are currently on a 8-match unbeaten run in all competitions (W4 D4 excl. extra time), their longest top-flight run without defeat in a single season in the PSL era.

By Opta Jabu

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