Intriguing figures of the PSL season so far
Mathematically‚ 10 clubs could still be crowned champions this season
The break in the Premiership season due to the coronavirus outbreak gives us a chance to reflect on the campaign to date and some of the numbers to come out of it.
It has been an intriguing season‚ with Kaizer Chiefs sprinting ahead at the top of the table‚ only to be reined in by the chasing pack ahead of the unscheduled pause. Here is a glimpse of some of the lesser-known stats behind the campaign.
Who could finish where?
Mathematically‚ there are 10 clubs who could still be crowned champions this season‚ way down the table to Cape Town City‚ even if realistically we are looking at a race between Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates.
Five — Chiefs‚ Sundowns‚ SuperSport United‚ Pirates and Maritzburg United — have accumulated enough points to ensure they cannot be automatically relegated‚ but from Bidvest Wits, in sixth, down‚ anybody can finish bottom. No-one has managed to secure a top-eight place, though, with Chiefs so far ensuring that they will finish in the top 10.
Amazingly‚ Chippa United in 12th could still secure CAF Champions League football by finishing second‚ and the only side in the league who is out of the running for African club qualification is bottom-placed Black Leopards‚ whose maximum finish is sixth. All other teams could still finish at least third.
Who has enjoyed home comforts?
Kaizer Chiefs may be sitting pretty on top of the league table‚ but that is not due to their home form. In fact, 10 clubs have either lost the same or fewer than Amakhosi’s three games at home‚ including Golden Arrows‚ Bloemfontein Celtic and Maritzburg.
Sundowns lead the way with 26 points from their 11‚ four more than Chiefs (22)‚ with Pirates (24) and SuperSport (23) also ahead of Chiefs (22). The flip side of this argument is that Chiefs have been considerably better away from home with 26 points‚ six more than the next best‚ Wits (20).
The worst team on the road? Black Leopards‚ with five points‚ though Cape Town City (6) have yet to pick up a win.
Who has been the best “supersub” this season?
Coaches love to think they change games with their substitutions‚ but it is not all that often that players enter the game to truly change the result. The biggest impact off the bench this season has come from Bloemfontein Celtic winger Menzi Masuku‚ who has scored two goals and provided an assist in the two games he entered after the start. He has managed that in 99 minutes off the bench.
Orlando Pirates forward Gabadinho Mhango has the same number of goals and assists‚ but those have come from four appearances as a sub and a total of 122 minutes.
The most goals scored or created off the bench has come from Dumisani Zuma‚ who has one goal and three assists‚ though those have come in 17 substitute appearances and 621 minutes‚ perhaps suggesting he has not done as well as he might have.
Who has picked up the most points in 2020?
Since the turn of the year most sides have played nine or 10 games‚ giving a good sample for form and the leader might surprise in terms of most points collected ... Maritzburg. Eric Tinkler’s side have taken 21 from the 30 available in their 10 games‚ form that could be championship-winning if they could keep it going through a whole season.
That is one more than Pirates (20)‚ though Maritzburg have played a game more‚ and a full eight greater than Kaizer Chiefs (13)‚ though Amakhosi have played two games fewer.
For any player‚ scoring the winning goal in a game is a magical moment‚ elevating him to hero status‚ even if only for a brief time. There are two players who have managed to score five match-winning goals this campaign — amaZulu forward Bongi Ntuli (12 goals in all) and Pirates’ Mhango (14).
That is one more than Bloemfontein Celtic forward Ndumiso Mabena and Maritzburg striker Thabiso Kutumela. In the case of Kutumela‚ he only has five league goals this campaign but four have been crucial in getting his side three points.
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