STATS: Pirates v Swallows

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To say Swallows FC are having a good season would be to say a nuclear bomb makes a loud noise – while it is true, it is a bit of an understatement as it does not really tell even half the story.

The Dube Birds are flying as high as the best teams in PSL history have managed, and should they keep up the momentum, they are certain to break many records. As if breaking newly-promoted records was not enough, they are now collecting points at a rate almost equivalent to the Top 10 sides of the PSL era.

21 – Swallows FC have won 21 points in their opening nine league matches this season. Before this season, only ten sides in PSL history had won as many points in their opening nine games.

The previous highest total for a newly promoted side at the same stage was 16 points (Tembisa Classic 00/01 & Wits 06/07), while the record for a new side after 10 games is 19 points (Wits 06/07). Already Swallows are past that total, with a game to spare.

Clash of the defences

Brandon Truter’s men are one of only three sides that are unbeaten this season and with just five goals conceded so far, they boast the joint-best defence in the league, tied with Sundowns.

7 – Pirates have also conceded just seven goals in the league this season, with Swallows and Sundowns (5 each) the only sides that have conceded less.

The two goals conceded against Cape Town City was the first time since March last year that the Dube Birds conceded two goals in a game. Ironically, Cape Town City are also the only side to have scored two league goals against Josef Zinnbauer’s Orlando Pirates, whose first game was in December 2019. Rare.

Shifting expectations at Pirates

Pirates have given us a glimpse of what they are capable of, having won the MTN8 with a 100% win record. But the early season trophy can sometimes be a poisoned chalice – it only raises expectations for mounting a title challenge. The strong defensive record is futile if goals are in short supply upfront. Nine goals in the opening eight games is Pirates’ lowest total at this stage of a season since 2017/18 (7).

0.93 – Pirates average 0.93 goals per game since league football resumed in the bio-bubble, the eleventh best ratio of all sides, and less than Baroka, AmaZulu and Maritzburg.

A first season in South Africa is usually met with modest expectations, and a 3rd place finish last season could have been satisfactory for all at the club. But with a year to adjust, targets for Zinnbauer have probably also been adjusted. Is the title now the main prize? If so, time may be running out, because Sundowns are starting to find an ominous rhythm.

24 – 24 points in the opening ten #DSTVPrem games is Sundowns’ joint-best start to a 30-game PSL season, equalling the 24 points they also won in 2010/11.

However, Pirates ended that season as champions.

Bloem Celtic v AmaZulu

1 – Celtic have lost just one of the last ten home games against AmaZulu in all competitions, winning five and drawing the other four.

By Opta Jabu 

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