PSL half-season review: Part 2

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The second half of the 2019/20 season kicks off this weekend as league action returns to South African soccer fans on Friday night.
After reviewing the first half of the 2019/20 campaign in this December article, the second & final part of our half-season review features the rest of the Premier League clubs.
We’ve focused on four sides in detail – Supersport United, Highlands Park, Golden Arrows and Chippa United in detail, and then added one outstanding stat each for the remaining eight Premiership sides.
SuperSport United
Third on the table at the Christmas break, Kaitano Tembo’s boys are enjoying a solid, if unspectacular start to the season. The MTN8 victory in October was their fourth trophy in five years for Matsantsa, and they have lost just twice in ten games since then.
2 – SuperSport have lost two of the 10 games they’ve played since the MTN8 win. They also lost 2 of the 10 games they played before that Cup win.
7 – Matsatsantsa have won seven league games at the halfway stage of the season. Only once before in the last decade have they won more games at this stage of a league season (8 in 2011/12).
Highlands Park
The Lions of the North have had a topsy turvy campaign. After finishing in the Top 8 last season, the first time since 2014/15 that a newly promoted side had finished in the Top 8, Highlands started the season steadily, winning four of their opening 8 games. However, one win in their next seven matches seemed to derail that start, although they are still in a relatively good 6th position.
 
3 – Between August and September, Highlands Park won three successive league games for the first time since they were promoted in 2016.
7 – Their 2-0 win over Golden Arrows in the last match of last year ended a run of seven games without a win in all competitions, just one shy of their longest winless run since their 2016 promotion.
Golden Arrows
It’s been just over a full year since Steve Komphela took over at Arrows, and his tenure can easily be split into home and away results. Such is the contrast in fortunes at home and away for the KZN side. One loss at home in seven this season puts them in an exclusive club with Sundowns, Chiefs, Pirates & SuperSport – teams that have lost one or less games at home. Yet, three goals scored away from home is the joint-lowest of all sides. They ended the half-season on a 3-game losing streak, their worst run since a 4-game losing streak in Jan/Feb 2016, and will be looking to reverse that in the New Year.
5 – Arrows have failed to score in five games away from home this season, more than any other PSL side.
27 – Arrows enter 2020 having won 27 points at home in the 2019 calendar year. Only Sundowns (36) & Pirates (33) won more points at home last year.
Chippa United
Norman Mapeza has only been at the club since October, and already the Chilli Boys are showing signs of revival. Chippa were winless when he arrived, and maybe even directionless, with many tipping them for a relegation spot. Although Mapeza lost the first two league games he was in charge of, Chippa have since gone on an amazing 5-game unbeaten run, winning four and drawing one of the last five games. It is the first time in their top-flight history that Chippa United have kept five consecutive clean sheets in the league. Indeed, no PSL team has won more points in their last 5 games (Chiefs also 13).
4 – Chippa United have conceded just 4 goals at home in the league this season, the lowest of all PSL sides.
5 – Only three sides have kept 5 straight clean sheets in the league in the last three seasons (Sundowns, Maritzburg (x2) & Chiefs).
OTHER TEAMS
13 – 13 points in their opening 15 league games is Cape Town City’s worst start to a top-flight season. Their previous worst at the half-way point of a PSL season was the 23 points they won last season. The Citizens are also the only side yet to win away from home this season.
1 – Maritzburg United have lost just one of their last nine league games since the end of September, drawing four and winning the other four. They’ve also kept six clean sheets in those nine games.
6 – Bloemfontein Celtic have seen six goals in the league scored by a player coming on as a sub this season, more than any other PSL side.
2004 – 16 points from 14 games is Black Leopards’ best start at this stage a PSL top-flight season since 2004 (18 points). A win in their 15th game (away to Highlands Park) will be their best ever points haul at the midway stage of a league season.
89% – Bongi Ntuli has scored 89% of AmaZulu’s goals in the Premiership this season. No other PSL player has scored a higher proportion of their teams’ goals.
Bongi Ntuli.
15 – Stellenbosch have won just 15 points in their first 15 games this season. Only two of the last 10 newly-promoted sides that picked up 15 points in 15 games or less have ended outside the relegation/playoff places at season end.
0 – Baroka are yet to win a game at home this season (Drew 4 Lost 5), and they are the only club with that winless record. They have won just 1 out of the 18 matches they’ve played at home since winning the Telkom Knockout in December last year (P16 W1 D7 L10).
8 – Polokwane have lost nine consecutive league matches, the longest run of successive league defeats in a single season by any PSL side since Black Aces lost nine in a row in 2010/11. No team has lost 10 in a row in a single 30-game season in the PSL.
*Please note that if you missed part 1, here is the link https://www.farpost.co.za/football-news/psl-half-season-review-part-1/.
By Opta Jabu

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