The teams that are most remembered among football fans are those who end the season well, and not those who start the season well.
Kaizer Chiefs last season is an example of the latter, who set record after record in the first half of the season, before dwindling post-lockdown. If anything, you are remembered as having lost whatever prize looked likely.
Likewise, Golden Arrows have started this season very well, there’s no doubt about that:
28 – Mandla Ncikazi’s Golden Arrows set a new record for most points won by the club at the half-way stage of a PSL season (28).
What Arrows’ history shows us though, is that succeeding in the first half of the season can be easier than succeeding in the second. If you look at the eight seasons where Arrows won 20+ points in the first half of the season, they got less points in the second half of six of those seasons.
Perhaps this speaks to a team slowing down once they know they are safe from relegation and/or too far from winning the title. That’s the danger with celebrating too much while the season is still in progress – a hangover follows.
The new challenge for Mandla Ncikazi could be this then – keep the boys motivated and driven so that the first half “achievements” do not simply fade into obscurity like has happened in the past. Perhaps a new (and not unreasonable target) could be to finish higher up the table than any Arrows side in PSL history.
5 – Arrows highest league finish in a PSL season is 5th, which they achieved in 2002/3 and 2008/9.
Although the second half of the season started on a losing note, Arrows have the chance to quickly bounce back on Tuesday when they host Baroka in their first league encounter for the month. Both teams faced bottom table Black Leopards in their last league games with the same scoreline in their respective matches, but different outcomes.
Arrows lost 2-1. Baroka won 2-1. The win over Black Leopards was Baroka’s 30th league win in their PSL history. Bakgakga needed 137 matches to get to the mark, the longest any PSL side has taken to amass 30 league wins. Very slow.
One of those 30 wins came against Arrows in November 2018, but Baroka have found the net just once in 360 minutes against Arrows since then. Overall, this will be a landmark 10th meeting between the sides, and Arrows have enjoyed the first nine more than their visitors.
11% – Since their promotion in 2016, Baroka have won just one of their league matches against Arrows (D4 L4). Only against Pirates (0%) and Sundowns (10%) do they have a lower win percentage. They’ll be looking to change that this afternoon.
Chippa v Cape Town City
The other Wednesday match sees Chippa United host Cape Town City for the second time in four days. The Citizens became the first team to lose a match in Gqeberha and will be looking for a first win in five games when they take on The Chilli Boys. They’ll be glad to see the end of the month though.
City have a 22% win rate in February – their worst month. They’ll also be glad to welcome March – City has a 71% win rate in March, the month in which they enjoy their best winning percentage.
0 – Cape Town City have never lost a league game played in the month of March (P9 W7 D2 L0), the only team in PSL history to have played at least two PSL seasons and have a calendar month in which they remain unbeaten.
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By Opta Jabu