Under normal circumstances, a trip to Kaizer Chiefs is usually a daunting prospect.
A visit to (arguably) the most supported club in the land is often made harder by the vociferous fans that faithfully flock to support The Glamour Boys. But 2020 has been an unusual year.
There have been no fans allowed in stadiums for the better part of the year, and the hostility of this away fixture has been somewhat stifled. Chiefs’ opponents since fans stopped going to stadiums have gone into this fixture with an unusual extra spring in their step.
0 – Only Maritzburg (0 home wins) have won less home league games than Chiefs (1 home win) since football resumed in the August bio-bubble.
Indeed, Chiefs are one of only two PSL sides yet to win a home league game this season, and their situation has been characterised by a lack of goals. They have not scored more than once in any of the last eight home games, keeping only two clean sheets in the process. Yet before the lockdown Chiefs managed to win 7 of their 10 home games, drawing one and losing the other two.
7 – Chiefs won 7 home games in the league between the start of last season and the first lockdown in March, with Mamelodi Sundowns (8) the only side with more home wins in that time.
The side visiting them have started the season in equally terrible form, with just one goal to show for in five games. Indeed, their start is the worst ever recorded for a Leopards side in the top-flight.
3 – Three points from five opening league games is the joint-lowest total at this stage of the season for a Black Leopards side in the PSL (3 also in 2002/03).
The visitors are also one of the worst travellers in the country. As a top-flight club, Leopards have been around since the year 2000, but their most recent promotion came in 2018/19. That promotion has been followed by 13th and 15th place finishes in the top-flight. In both seasons, Leopards have won 8 away points throughout the season, the lowest of all sides in each season. Last season, they even had to go through the playoffs to retain their top-flight status.
1 – Since their promotion at the start of the 2018/19 season, Leopards have kept just one clean sheet away from home in 33 away games.
One would expect that the Covid-19 restrictions represent the best chance for Leopards to change the woeful away form. But that has not been the case, and Leopards are currently on a 5-game run without an away win.
1 – Leopards have found the net in just one away game since the bio-bubble (excluding playoffs). They have failed to score in 5 successive away matches for only the second time in their history and first time since 2005 (lost six in a row away).
Recent history also favours Chiefs, who have not lost in this fixture since Lidoda Duvha were promoted in 2018 (Won 2 Drew 2). Leopards are the only side yet to score away from home this season, and an uncertain Chiefs defence may be just what they need to get off the mark.
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By Opta Jabu