The second round of DSTV Premiership games starts tonight, with Kaizer Chiefs visiting Chippa United, and Black Leopards hosting Baroka at 19:30 kickoff.
This comes after an entertaining opening weekend that saw 18 goals scattered across the eight games.
14 – Fourteen teams found the net in their opening league matches at the weekend, a record in the 16-team Premier Soccer League (PSL) era, and a joint-record in the whole PSL era (14 also in 1999/2000, in an 18-team league).
Chippa United v Kaizer Chiefs
It has only been one round of games, but it is still unusual seeing Chiefs at the bottom of the table. Declaring a crisis at any club is premature, let alone a club as big as Chiefs. Yet, one can’t shake the feeling that a second successive defeat will not be received well by the Amakhosi faithful.
The 3-0 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns highlighted how much the transfer ban has hamstrung Chiefs’ squad building process, and expectations should probably be lowered for Gavin Hunt’s first season.
1 – Only once in their PSL history (2008/09) have Chiefs lost their two season opening league games.
That could be the case again tonight, given that their two opening games this season are against teams that have given them the most headaches in recent years.
5 – Since last lifting the title in 2014/15, Chiefs have lost 5 league matches to Sundowns and also 5 to Chippa, the highest number of league defeats they have suffered to any PSL side.
Last season, coach Ernst Middendorp seemed to have exorcised the Chippa ghost, winning both home and away against The Chilli Boys. It’s those results that can give them a boost, plus the fact that Hunt has lost just one of the last ten league games he has overseen against Chippa.
Still, without Samir Nurkovic, Chiefs have to find another way to score. They must do that against a side that has been one of the best defensively this year, particularly when playing at home.
At home, Chippa’s defensive record is that of a league winning side. Last season, they conceded only seven goals in their home fixtures all season, the joint-best defensive record of all sides. Eventual champions Sundowns also conceded just seven at home.
10 – Chippa have kept the most clean sheets at home in the league since the start of last season (10).
Khama Billiat, Leonardo Castro and company will have to be at their best to breach the Chippa wall. They can take confidence knowing that they were the only visiting team that managed to score more than one goal from open play away to Chippa last season.
Bkack Leopards v Baroka
Chiefs are joined by Leopards as the only sides yet to score this season. Leopards visit Baroka, who opened their campaign with a 2-1 win over Maritzburg and currently sit happily in 3rd place on the table.
1 – Baroka won a top-flight league game on Matchday1 for the first time since their promotion in 2016.
Leopards can be confident in how Baroka often struggles away from home. They (Baroka) have won just one of their last ten league games on the road, a record going back to December 2019. Yet, last season the teams met on three occasions, with Baroka winning all the games to nil.