It has been a rather bumpy start for Orlando Pirates in the league.
Since Micho Sredojevic’s surprise resignation as head coach a few weeks into the season, the Buccaneers have struggled to assert themselves and replicate the form that saw them push Mamelodi Sundowns all the way in the title race last season.
Ahead of their clash with Polokwane City tonight (19:30), we take a look at the stats that have been underlying their results, including how the Sea Robbers have won just three of their first 11 games in the league this season, their joint lowest win total in a 30-game season (three in 2006, 2015 and 2017).
Only once before have they picked up fewer than the 13 points they currently have from the opening 11 league games.
The graph below shows Pirates points totals after 11 games since the PSL reverted to 30-game seasons in 2002.
This season, Orlando Pirates have not led an #AbsaPrem match at half-time (D8, L3), a record they share only with Chippa.
Given that they have not won a league game in which they were trailing at half time since November 2014, Pirates will need to start taking control of matches earlier if they want to resurrect their campaign.
Yet despite the mixed start to their campaign, Bucs have quietly been building a fortress when playing at home. They are currently on their best ever unbeaten run at home in the league since the new PSL was established in 1996, having not lost in 18 home matches on the trot.
Their last home defeat came in August 2018. Even that was rather unfortunate, as they went down 1-0 to Bidvest Wits through a late Godwin Shitolo own-goal.
Since then they have won more points at home in the league than any other side (36), winning nine and drawing nine of the 18 matches they have played. With just one win away from home in the league so far, it is their incredible home form that has kept them amazingly just 5 points off second placed Sundowns.
4 – Pirates are one of only four clubs yet to lose a home match this season, including Golden Arrows, Supersport United and Stellenbosch.
0 – Pirates are the only* current PSL team unbeaten at home in the league this year (W7 D6 L0). *Stellenbosch lost two matches in the GladAfrica Championship in 2019.
Dominance over Polokwane
Another bright spot for Pirates is that they have lost just once against Polokwane since the Limpopo side were promoted to the PSL in 2012 (P12 W5 D6 L1). Polokwane’s win percentage of just 8.33% against Pirates is their lowest win percentage against any PSL side (min. 2 games played). To maintain that dominance, Rhulani’s men also need to be wary of City’s late goalscoring exploits.
Polokwane have scored five goals in the final 15 minutes of matches this season, with Chiefs (7) the only side have scored more late goals than them. On the other hand, Pirates have conceded 5 goals in the final 15-minutes of matches, with just Highlands (6) and Cape Town City (7) the only sides with more concessions so late in the game.
Pirates are unbeaten in their last 16 games played on a Tuesday (W8, D8) since March 2017 while Polokwane are winless in their last ten matches played on a Tuesday (D5 L5) since September 2017.
Highlands Park v Wits
2.2 – Wits have won 2.2 points per game away from home since the start of last season (40 points in 18 games), the best ppg ratio away from home of all PSL sides. A win against Highlands Park would give them 43 points (an outright lead) helping them overtake Sundowns (42) in the away points table for 2019.
Sundowns vs Amazulu
8 – Sundowns have won eight games at home (8) in the 2019 calendar year, more than they did in the 2018 calendar year (6) and the 2017 calendar year (7). Their 27 points is also the joint-highest points total for a PSL side at home this year (Pirates & Arrows also 27).
By Opta Jabu
*FARPost has partnered with Opta Jabu to bring you very interesting PSL statistics.