PSL title favourites and relegation contenders
Posted: 6 February 2018 Time: 15:30
With 10 rounds of matches left in the Absa Premiership, KickOff.com looks at who are the favourites to win the title and who are candidates to go down in arguably the tightest league season ever.
A five-point lead at the top of the table means Sundowns control their fate right now. It’s a comfortable lead going into the last 10 matches of the season, but Pitso Mosimane's men have to make sure they keep grinding to get positive results. There’s the CAF Champions League to come for Sundowns, but they will play just one round which won’t affect them. The group stages, if they get there, will kick off in May, close to the end of the domestic season. It’s hard to see anyone stopping Sundowns right now. They’ve got the experience of handling the pressure during this demanding part of the season.
Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic is not getting ahead of himself despite a good run of results. Other than the 3-0 defeat to Ajax Cape Town last week, the Buccaneers have shown that they are capable of competing. They are getting goals, unlike the first half of the season when they were not converting much. Of the 22 goals they have scored this season, 10 have come in the second half of the season. They’ve got tough matches against Chippa United, Kaizer Chiefs, relegation-threatened Golden Arrows, Bloemfontein Celtic and SuperSport United coming up.
Steve Komphela has one last chance to win the title before his contract expires at the end of the season, so he will definitely be rallying his players to get the job done. What’s let Amakhosi down, however, is the points they dropped in matches they shouldn’t have. They have a strong defence, which has conceded just 12 times in this campaign, but upfront they could be doing more to convert the chances they create. Currently seven points behind Sundowns, Chiefs will know that there is no room for error. Upcoming matches against Cape Town City, Bloemfontein Celtic and Pirates will show if they have what it takes to win the title.
They made a great start to the season, going the first nine matches without a defeat. But things have changed for Arrows who are in 13th place on the standings. They have just won once in their last 15 league matches and they will continue to drop on the standings if they do not start getting wins. They are usually strong at home, but this season they have struggled and that’s going to let them down going into the final third of the campaign.
Ajax Cape Town
They have made some improvements under coach Muhsin Ertugral and you can see that the players are ready to fight to stay alive, but at times they just let themselves down, as was the case against Polokwane City over the weekend. They are good going forward, but they are not often solid enough to see out a game, which is a problem for Ertugral. The Tendai Ndoro issue could also affect them, especially if they get punished for it.
They showed some good fighting spirit to draw 3-3 with Chippa United at the weekend, but Dikwena are unlikely to have enough in their tank to avoid relegation. They concede soft goals, which is going to let them down. They have the second worst defence in the league with 27 conceded and they are just not scoring enough, with 13 goals. With the likes of SuperSport United, Maritzburg United and Free State Stars to come in the near future, Dikwena are not going to have it easy.