STATS: PSL Saturday matches

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While the overwhelming majority of fans revel in their clubs playing the likes of Enyimba, TP Mazembe and Wydad AC, a few fans must be content with the all too familiar terrain of domestic football. Golden Arrows and Cape Town City are two such sets of fans.

Golden Arrows v Cape Town City

A week that started off with Patrice Motsepe rising to the ascent of African football administration ended with all South African participants bagging positive results in Africa.

Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns won their home matches, and even the beleaguered Kaizer Chiefs earned a valuable point away from home. But for the likes of Arrows and City, the league remains their main concern.

Consider that both have been knocked out of the Nedbank Cup as well, so the league presents their only window of opportunity to join the CAF party next season, and also get the chance to visit and host the likes of Enyimba, Al Ahly and TP Mazembe. If that is the target, Arrows are much closer than City.

35 – 35 points from 19 games is Golden Arrows’ best total at this stage of a league season in their PSL history.

They are guaranteed to at least equal their best ever 20-game record (35 points in 2002/03), a season in which they finished 5th – Arrows’ highest ever position. With ten games to play, Arrows are second on the league table and a place in CAF competitions next season is not implausible. Arrows have actually now won more points in 19 games this season (35) than they managed throughout the whole of last season (34). If there is an award for the most improved team in 2020/21, Abafana Besthende would be one of the  favourites for that title.

The same can’t be said about Cape Town City, whose progress in the last year or so resembles a man taking one step forward and two steps back. The Citizens emerged as bio-bubble champions in the “mini-league” that completed last season. They went on to finish 2020 just three points off top spot. Altogether, City won 13 league matches in 2020, more than they won both in 2018 (9) and 2019 (10), and only Sundowns (14) ended last year with more league wins in the calendar year. 2021 looked like the year that The Citizens would make real progress.

However, they have won just two league games in 2021, the joint-fewest of all teams, contributing to Rikerink’s worst run at the club.

6 – City are winless in six league games (D3 L3, since February), their worst run under their current coach, and one short of their worst league run as a club.

Be that as it may, Riekerink will take confidence in two things. Firstly, he enjoys a 100% record against Arrows (Played 2, Won 2). Secondly, City’s last victory also came against Arrows – a 4-2 thriller in which they took the lead, trailed, equalised and retook the lead again. A win over Arrows on Saturday would also be his first league double in the PSL, and perhaps another potential step forward towards those esteemed CAF places.

Other matches

Baroka v Bloem Celtic

1 – Baroka have won just once in ten matches played against Bloemfontein Celtic (D4 L5). Of all current top-flight sides, Orlando Pirates (0%) are the only side against whom they have a lower win rate.

Chippa v Swallows

1 – Swallows have won just one of their last nine league matches (D7 L1), having won six of their first nine league matches.

TS Galaxy v Maritzburg United

1 – Ernst Middendorp has won six matches against Owen da Gama in his coaching career (D3 L2). Against no other coach has he won more (6 also v Clinton Larsen & Roger de Sa).

By Opta Jabu

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