Swallows FC missed a chance to go outright top of the league after a 1-1 draw with Chippa on Wednesday night.
The result leaves them in 2nd position on the table, separated just by goal difference with 40% of the season played.
If you had offered Brandon Truter that he would be playing Mamelodi Sundowns for top spot about half-way into the season, he would have walked across the country to accept that offer.
His team have won 26 points in 12 games, just four less than the total points they won when the old Swallows were relegated back in 2014/15 (30 points).
7 – Swallows have won seven of their 12 games this season (D5), as many as they won in the season they were relegated in 2014/15. With safety almost secured (30 points usually does it), the Dube Birds are also just 5 wins away from securing a Top8 spot (the average for a Top 8 place is 42 points), but the question at the back of everyone’s mind is: Can they actually challenge for the title?
10 – The highest that a team has climbed from a previous season to win the title is 9 places, when Sundowns finished 10th in 2012/13 and went to win the league in 2013/14.
Whatever the result this weekend, Swallows would have played all the teams currently in the top half of the table, except for Supersport. And still they remain unbeaten. They are indeed at home in the top-flight.
Leading the line for the Birds is forward Ruzaigh Gamildien, who has found the net nine times so far this season. He will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing a reshuffled Sundowns defence, with injuries piling on for the defending champions’ backline. However, Gamildien and co. only managed just three shots on target against Chippa on Wednesday night (one for Gamildien), and will need to be more threatening if they are to trouble Sundowns’ defence.
Downs managed to keep another clean sheet during the week, their ninth of the season and 4th in a row.
2017 – The last time Sundowns kept five clean sheets in a row in the league was back in November/December 2017.
The only creeping worry is that Downs failed to score again, and the expensively assembled pieces need to rediscover their shine before other teams start to catch up. You have to go as far back as the 2002/03 season to find a time when Sundowns had a run of three goalless league games in such a short space of time (9 days in January 2003).
3 – It has never happened that Sundowns fail to score in three successive PSL league
games in a week.
The last team they would have wanted to face is one that has only conceded 5 pen play goals like them (7 in total). But, as Chippa showed during the week, there are some chinks in the Swallows armor.
Last week’s top-of-the table clash ended in a tense goalless draw, but we hope there will be goals in this one.
Stellenbosch v Chiefs
6 – Chiefs have won each of their last 6 games played away to Cape-based opposition, scoring 16 goals and conceding just 4 in the process.
Baroka v AmaZulu
0 – As a coach, Benni McCarthy has never won a match against Baroka (P6 W0 D3 L3), one of only two clubs he has failed to beat in his coaching career (0 also v Arrows).
Maritzburg v Pirates
11 – Pirates have lost just once in the last eleven league games played against Maritzburg (W4 D6), keeping clean sheets in each of the last four.
9 – Ernst Middendorp has won nine times against Pirates in his PSL coaching career.
Against no other side has he won more (Celtic and Arrows also 9).
CT City v Arrows
4 – City beat Arrows 4-1 in August last season, their biggest winning margin against any opponent they have faced under coach Jan Olde Riekerink.
11 – Arrows are on a run of 11 consecutive league matches without defeat (W4 D7), their longest such run in their history as a PSL club.
Chippa v Leopards
1 – Chippa have lost just one of the eight games they have played against Black Leopards (W5 D2).
TTM v SuperSport
1 – Under Kaitano Tembo, Supersport have won just one of the six matches they have
played against sides that were new to the top-flight (D2 L3, including one clean sheet).
By Opta Jabu