The unforgettable 2020 has come to an end, a year that will be remembered for Kaizer Chiefs surrendering the title on the final day, Pitso Mosimane delivering Sundowns La Decima in his final year and Bidvest Wits surrendering their franchise in the 99th year.
Plus, Swallows returned to top-flight action (as Swallows FC), Orlando Pirates returned to trophy winning ways and obviously the coronavirus pandemic. The year will also be remembered for the five-month break, as football fans were subjected to the anguishing wait on whether the league season would continue or be called off.
The multiple franchise/license sales also ensured that we saw 19 different teams play top-flight football this year, a record over the last decade.
Only 187 games played in the 2020 calendar year, but even that is not the lowest in PSL history. For different reasons, we seem to have a five-year cycle of years with few games since the World Cup, with 2010 (146 games), 2015 (196) and 2020 (187) the only years with less than 200 games.
146 – There were only 146 games played in 2010, the lowest total in a calendar year since the PSL’s first full year (1997). See you in 2025.
Less games does not necessarily mean less entertainment. 404 goals at 2.16 goals per game may be lower than the all-time league average of 2.33 goals per game, but the 2020 ratio is better than both 2017 and 2018 (both 2.1 gpg).
Downs ominously on Top
Sundowns ended 2020 at the top of the league, the first time since 2017 that they spent Christmas and New Year at the top of the league. Downs have gone on to win the title in each of the last two occasions when they were top of the table at the turn of the year. Their first match of 2021 will be against Pirates on Saturday, who will fancy themselves for a shot at the title following their MTN8 triumph.
2 – Sundowns led the league at Christmas in both 2010 and 2011, only to lose out on the title the following May, with Orlando Pirates winning the league on both occasions. See you on Saturday.
Swallows FC’s Joseph Mhlongo scored the last league goal of the year when Swallows beat Black Leopards 2-1 on 20 December. That winner ensured Swallows FC ended the year in 2nd place on the top-flight table, just separated by goal difference with Sundowns at the top.
The Dube Birds have been a revelation this season and have enjoyed the best ever start by a newly promoted side. Swallows FC’s 2.35 points per game in 2020 is only bettered by 2016 Sundowns (2.37) and 2014 Chiefs (2.32). They have only played eight games, however.
When considering top-flight matches only, they become the only side yet to lose a top-flight game this year, given that the other three unbeaten sides this season lost earlier in the year.
It is important to also note that the season started later than usual but it’s still worth pointing out:
0 – Swallows FC ended 2020 without a top-flight defeat (Played 8), the only side in the last decade not to lose a top-flight game in a year they were a top-flight team.
After finishing 15th in the league and surviving relegation via the playoffs last season, Black Leopards continued where they left off in 2020/21. Lidoda Duvha are currently 15th in the league again following a start that has seen them win only one match this season.
-18 – Leopards’ goal difference in 2020 league games (-18) is the 5th lowest of any side in the last ten years. Leopards also hold the record for worst goal difference in the last decade (-24 in 2014). See you in the next relegation battle.
Bradley Grobler is the joint-top scorer in the league this season, with seven goals. The SuperSport striker is closing in on Abram Raselemane’s record of 57 goals for Matsatsantsa and should reach the total before the end of the season if he plays consistently. After narrowly missing out on the 2019/20 Golden Boot, we’re pleased to announce that Grobler is the Golden Boot winner for the 2020 calendar year.
15 – Grobler finished as the top scorer in the league with 15 goals in 2020, with Themba Zwane (14) and Mhango (11) just behind. It is also the first time he has reached double-figures for league goals in a calendar year.
1.67 – Sundowns averaged 1.67 goals per game in 2020, the best ratio of all sides. In the last ten years, only 2015 Sundowns (1.68 gpg), 2011 Sundowns (1.88 gpg) and 2016 Sundowns (1.98 gpg) enjoyed a better ratio in a top-flight year.
0.63 – TS Galaxy averaged 0.63 goals per game in 2020, with 2011 Black Aces (0.56 gpg) and 2017 Highlands Park (0.53 gpg) the only sides to complete a year with a lower goals per game ratio.
By Opta Jabu