“He that tops the tree at Christmas can also come down with the decorations” – Unknown.
It’s a bit of a regular saying in footballing circles. The team that is on top of the league at Christmas can also come down after the festivities as the Christmas tree decorations come down.
Topping the league at Christmas is not a guarantee of winning the league come May. As the stats show, topping the league at this time of the year rarely equates to title glory at the end of the season.
35% – Since 2002 when the PSL reverted to 16 teams, only 6 out of 17 PSL sides (35%) that were top of the league at Christmas went on to win the title the following May.
That said, it has been a memorable start to the season, and the 2019 PSL story is the story of Kaizer Chiefs dominance. The first part of our half-season review focuses on four sides in the PSL, featuring stats on the season so far and also for the 2019 calendar year.
Week after week, the Glamour Boys have been breaking records (internal and external), as they look to secure a PSL title for the first time since their 2014/15 triumph. That Chiefs have started well is an understatement, as the numbers will show. Even a draw in the last game of the year against Maritzburg may have been disappointing, but it did not undermine their impressive start.
35 – 35 points in their opening 14 games is the second best start to a PSL season by any team in the 30-game era. Only Chiefs (36 points in 2014/15) had more points at this stage of an #AbsaPrem 30-game season.
29 – The 29 goals scored by Kaizer Chiefs is also their highest after 14 games is PSL history.
53 – Kaizer Chiefs 53 points in 2019 is their highest in a calendar year since 2014 (79 points).
3 – Kaizer Chiefs have gone on to win the title in 3 of the four occasions when they led at Christmas (2013/14 is the only time they failed to convert a Christmas lead into a title, allowing Sundowns to win the league).
7 – Kaizer Chiefs seven point lead over Sundowns at the top of the #AbsaPrem table is the second highest lead by an @OfficialPSL side at Christmas in the 30-game PSL era (Chiefs led Sundowns by 13 points in 2014/15).
65 – Sundowns have won 65 points in the 2019 calendar year, more than any other PSL team.
Their 65 points in 2019 (2,03 ppg) exceeds the 2018 total (54 at 1.93) but is less than the 2017 total (66 at 1.89 points per game).
36 & 29 – Sundowns have won more points at home (36) and more points away from home (29) than any other PSL side.28 – 28 point for Sundowns after 14 matches is the exact same total they had at this stage of a PSL
campaign in each of their last two seasons.
Things may not seem to be going smoothly at Pirates, but the numbers paint a slightly different picture. With a third manager in charge of the side already this season, the Buccaneers have often been a side in disarray.
20 – Pirates have won 20 points in the AbsaPrem after 14 games. Only once before in the last 5
seasons have they won more points (24 in 2018/19).
50 – Pirates have won exactly 50 points in the AbsaPrem in 2019, their second highest calendar year total in the last 5 years (62 in 2018).
15 – The 15-point gap between Pirates and the side at the top of the table is the highest for Pirates since Chiefs led them by 20 points in 2014.
This is only the second time in seven seasons that Wits are not in the Top 3 at Christmas. The other time they were outside the Top 3 was the 2017/18 campaign when they were bottom of the table. That said, The Clever Boys have only played 11 games, at least three fewer than any other PSL side.
20 – Wits’ 20 points after 11 games this season. Only once before (23 points in 2015/16) have they won more points at this stage of the season.
By Opta Jabu