PSL: Our pick of the pile

2015-03-06 11:48

Cape Town – Two seasons ago, there wasn’t a goal to be had over the course of the 180-plus minutes of each Soweto derby in the Absa Premiership.

Happily that trend has been arrested in the three league encounters subsequently, including one this season... and nobody on our panel ventures a goalless draw this time, either, as Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates clash anew at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

Instead we serve you up all three result possibilities - though if there’s going to be a winner, the Amakhosi are the more popular choice.

Regularly during the PSL season, a panel made up of compiler Rob Houwing plus Garrin Lambley, Raymond Silinga, Earl Haupt, Wade Pretorius, Tashreeq Vardien and Maano Nekhavhambe will attempt to hit the right buttons in forecasting a bunch of the most attractive games on paper.

We will keep a season-long leaderboard showing who is prospering and which poor souls are floundering: three points for fully correct scoreline, one for right result.

Here’s our next group of spiciest picks:

1. Wits v Bloemfontein Celtic, Friday 20:00, Bidvest Stadium

Wits are involved in a battle royale for what most people, deep down, must still feel is the “best of the rest” finish in second this season, given the major cushion Kaizer Chiefs still have at the helm. Gavin Hunt’s tenacious charges took an important step in that quest by seeing off Sundowns a few days ago, but will have to be careful not to succumb to complacency when Celtic visit their cramped stronghold this time – they are on a good little run themselves, with successive wins and five goals without reply over the course of them. That’s why I suspect Phunya Sele Sele may be good for a cheeky point, but only Ray shares my belief.

Rob’s tip: 1-1

Garrin: 2-0

Raymond: 1-1

Earl: 2-1

Wade: 2-0

Tashreeq: 2-1           

Maano: 1-0

2. Kaizer Chiefs v Orlando Pirates, Saturday 15:30, FNB Stadium

For Pirates, this is their big “get even” drive, after being seen off 2-0 in the first-round meeting back on December 6, still in the immediate aftermath of the Senzo Meyiwa tragedy. More broadly, it is Chiefs who have been well superior this season, so that only adds to the Buccaneers’ desperation to put one over their greatest rivals. They are unlikely to let themselves be dragged into a cat-and-mouse sort of derby stalemate – often such a hallmark of the fixture -- and will instead push for the victory. My fancy is that they may be caught on the break in doing so, hence my pick of a Chiefs win which will be another reason to suggest their title charge is irresistible. But the panel give you all options.

Rob: 1-0

Garrin: 1-1

Raymond: 2-0

Earl: 1-1

Wade: 2-1

Tashreeq: 1-1       

Maano: 0-1

3. Free State Stars v Mamelodi Sundowns, Saturday 20:15, Charles Mopeli Stadium

Stars are not unfamiliar to draws this season (seven thus far) and enter this one off four in a row in the league. So common sense suggests yet another, doesn’t it? Naturally defending champions ‘Downs will have loftier expectations for the fixture, and I am the only one not backing them to earn all three points on the road. They did claim the first-round encounter 2-0.

Rob: 1-1

Garrin: 1-2

Raymond: 1-2

Earl: 0-2

Wade: 1-2

Tashreeq: 1-3         

Maano: 0-1


44 - Earl

42 - Wade

38 - Garrin

37 - Ray

36 - Maano, Tashreeq & Rob


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When all is said and done in the 2015/16 Absa Premiership season, who will be crowned champions of South Africa?

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With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

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