The last bit of PSL action for 2020 takes place this weekend, with a full round of league fixtures scheduled from Friday till Sunday.
The most unusual year will end with the usual suspects occupying the top positions, with the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United occupying the top half of the table.
Swallows in second are the one major surprise, something as unusual as seeing Kaizer Chiefs in 13th. That said, we are only a quarter of the season in, and there is still a long way to go on the season. Already, one stat stands out so far.
0 – This is the first time in PSL history that more than three top-flight teams have remained unbeaten after their opening seven league games (previous highest 3 in 2004/05, 2009/10 and 2015/16).
Golden Arrows v Sundowns
Two of those unbeaten teams are Arrows and Sundowns, who meet in the weekend’s headline fixture. It will be a homecoming for coach Steve Komphela, who returns to face his former employers just two months after leaving.
Komphela managed more than 50 games at Arrows before joining Sundowns in October. It will be a behind-the-scenes homecoming for suspended coach Manqoba Mngqithi, who also spent time as head coach at Arrows over two different spells.
134 – Mngqithi oversaw 134 league games in two spells at Arrows, more than any other Arrows coach in the PSL era.
Besides, Arrows may confidently say they have not really missed Komphela so far. They remain undefeated and have been scoring consistently, finding the net at least once in every game this season. It’s a record they share only with Pirates and SuperSport.
While 11 points from seven matches is their best start to a league season since 2017/18, they have still only won just two games. But that could be the right momentum to build a foundation towards a meaningful campaign.
7 – Arrows are currently on a seven-game unbeaten run in league games, their best such run in a single season since October 2017 (9).
If there is one match where that scoring run could come to an end, it would be a match against Sundowns. Irrespective of form and personnel, this has been a fixture synonymous with a strange failure to score for the men from Lamontville. In ten matches since their 2015 return to the top-flight, Arrows have failed to score on eight occasions.
8 – Since Arrows regained promotion in 2015, no side has kept more clean sheets in league games against them than Sundowns (8).
They’ve kept one clean sheet in those 10 matches that period as well and now will have to keep the likes of Peter Shalulile and Themba Zwane at bay. 15 goals in the opening seven league games is the best start by a Sundowns side since 2013/14, and their second best in the 30-game PSL era.
But with a heavy schedule and a Caf Champions League fixture on the horizon, Arows may see the fixture pile-up as an opportunity to get a positive result against Sundowns.
2 – Sundowns have lost just two of the last 21 league matches (W12 D7) they have played away to KZN-based opposition (Maritzburg United, AmaZulu and Arrows).
Both those defeats came away to Golden Arrows.
Baroka v SuperSport
4 – Baroka are unbeaten in 4 successive home matches, their joint-best run without a home defeat since they joined their promotion in 2016. Should they avoid defeat, it would be their best run of home matches without a loss as a top-flight club.
Cape Town City v TS Galaxy
12 – Cape Town City have won 12 league matches in 2020, more than they won in 2018 (9) and 2019 (10). Only Sundowns (14) have more home wins this year.
Kaizer Chiefs v Bloem Celtic
0 – Celtic have never won an away league game at Chiefs in the PSL era (P21 W15 D6), the longest any PSL side has gone without a win away from home at a single opponent.
By Opta Jabu