The half-term report for Orlando Pirates’ season would probably read: Satisfactory. A Cup victory and three successive wins over Kaizer Chiefs in a short space of time would be considered a good return for any manager, let alone a Pirates one.
However, the report would have made better reading if Pirates had been as consistent in the DStv Premiership as they were in the Cup.
25 – 25 points from 15 games is Pirates’ seventh-best total at the halfway stage of a 30-game PSL season. Only once since 2013 have they had more points at the half-way stage.
They now travel to Golden Arrows in the DSTV Premiership on Wednesday in search of that consistency, aiming for a second successive win – something that has eluded them of late. The two teams are high on confidence as they were both victorious in local derbies over the weekend.
Arrows beat Maritzburg United 2-1 on Saturday afternoon, just after Pirates dispatched Chiefs by the same scoreline in a thrilling Soweto derby. These were welcome results, given that:
7 – Pirates and Arrows have drawn seven matches in the DSTV Prem this season. No side has more draws (Swallows also 7).
Arrows impressive under new management
Under new management, since Steve Komphela left for Sundowns, Golden Arrows have been surprisingly impressive this campaign. Despite the 4-2 defeat at Cape Town City, Arrows have been one of the more consistent sides in the league.
22 – 22 points from 13 games is the club’s joint-best start to a league season in the 30-game PSL era. They had the same total in 2002/3 and 2008/9 and went on to finish 5th on both occasions, still, their highest league finish in the PSL era.
Their half-season record in the PSL era is 25 points, and they could equal that this afternoon, still with a game to spare.
Pirates need some rhythm
As for Pirates, the derby victory will be a shot in the arm for their confidence that has been affected by inconsistent performances. A win today would leave them just five points off the top, still with about half a season ahead of them, but they need to find some rhythm in their results.
Josef Zinnbauer’s men have won successive league games just once this season (v Celtic and Supersport in November).
2 – Pirates managed just 2 shots on target in the Soweto derby on the weekend, scoring two goals from those shots.
They will need to be more ambitious, especially when you consider the low-scoring nature of this fixture in recent years. Only one goal has been scored from five games in this fixture since the start of the 2018/19 season. The last three league games between the sides have all ended goalless, but Pirates have been the happier of the sides.
0 – Pirates are unbeaten in 8 games against Arrows in all competitions (Won 3 Drew 5, since November 2017).
AmaZulu v Celtic
Benni McCarthy’s AmaZulu host Bloemfontein Celtic in an earlier kick-off looking for their 3rd successive win. Usuthu beat Stellenbosch on the weekend meaning they have won successive games for the first time since November 2019.
A third victory today would help them equal that November run, but Benni will be aiming higher – the last time they won 4 in a row in the same season was back in April 2009. They can edge closer to that record & boost Benni’s early appraisals, given their record against Celtic:
1 – Celtic have won just once in their last 10 visits to AmaZulu, drawing four and losing the other five games.
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By Opta Jabu