Sundowns, Orlando Pirates, Cape Town City: Which team has the toughest run-in for the PSL title?

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At least five teams are still in with a chance to win the 2018/19 PSL title, but who has the toughest run-in?

The Premier Soccer League title race is wide open following Mamelodi Sundowns' defeat to Cape Town City on Tuesday night. 

Benni McCarthy's men boosted their chances of becoming the first Cape Town-based side to win the coveted trophy since Santos in the early 2000s. 

There's also Orlando Pirates, who top the standings despite their draw at home to Bloemfontein Celtic on the same night. 

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Bidvest Wits and SuperSport United are also in the thick of things, while sixth-placed Kaizer Chiefs need a miracle to really mount a serious challenge in the title race. 

Goal takes a look at the title run-in for the five top teams as the 2018/19 PSL season draws to a close. 


ORLANDO PIRATES


Thembinkosi Lorch, Vincent Pule & Xola Mlambo, Orlando Pirates, January 2019

STRENGTHS

One of the Pirates' strengths has been getting goals from almost every player on the pitch. While the majority of their goals have come from Justin Shonga and Thembinkosi Lorch, there are quite a few players who have chipped in with some important goals of late. This means they are not dependant on one player for goals, and this is what has kept them in the race for this long. 

With the Caf Champions League taking its toll on certain players such as Xola Mlambo among others, having the likes of Luvuyo Memela and Kudakwashe Mahachi back in the team has strengthened them.  

WEAKNESSES

After acquiring the services of Brilliant Khuzwayo on a free transfer at the start of the season, the majority of Pirates fans expected their goalkeeping department to improve simply because there would be increased competition with four international shot-stoppers in their squad. 

However, things have not changed as Micho Sredojevic's men continue to struggle to keep a clean sheet in their matches. Pirates have conceded 21 goals in 23 league matches which is not a good record considering the experience in their squad as well as the desire from their fans to see their club bring to an end a trophy-drought which has lasted for almost five years now.

KEY FIXTURES 

April 6 Bidvest Wits v Orlando Pirates
April 27 Orlando Pirates v Mamelodi Sundowns
May 8 Cape Town City v  Orlando Pirates

MAMELODI SUNDOWNS


Andile Jali, Lebohang Maboe, Hlompho Kekana & Anele Ngcongca, Sundowns, February 2019

STRENGTHS

Sundowns have got a few things right so far - scoring more and conceding less. While none of their players is close to the league's leading goalscorer, it is encouraging to see how they are able to beat teams even without an out-and-out striker. Both Lebohang Maboe and Themba Zwane have been head and shoulders above the rest, and is Denis Onyango, whom despite making a few goalkeeping errors, remains one of the top keepers in the league. 

The Brazilians have conceded fewer goals (17) compared to the rest of their title rivals, and that could go a long way in seeing them secure their ninth PSL title this season.    

WEAKNESSES 

Pitso Mosimane's men have, on so many occasions, failed to bury their opponents this season even though they sometimes looked very much in control. They have drawn 10 of their 22 matches, and that could mean a lot of teams plan better against them - meaning the Sundowns technical team hasn't done enough to be able to finish off opponents despite boasting one of the best squads in the league.   

KEY FIXTURES

April 17 Mamelodi Sundowns v SuperSport United
April 27 Orlando Pirates v Mamelodi Sundowns
May 8 Mamelodi Sundowns v Golden Arrows

CAPE TOWN CITY


Riyaad Norodien with his Cape Town City team-mates, February 2019

STRENGTHS 

Benni McCarthy enjoys playing the big guns, and after seeing him win against experience coaches such as Gavin Hunt (3-2) and Mosimane (2-1) shows that City means business, and are a fearless side. The Citizens have been lethal in front of goal with 39 goals scored - the highest among those battling for the title.  

WEAKNESSES 

City have conceded a whopping 30 goals in 23 league matches, and this could prove costly should the title race be decided on goal difference come the end of the season. As things stand, they are sitting on a +9 goal difference which is not too bad considering that both Pirates and Sundowns are on +12.   

KEY FIXTURES

April 14 Bloemfontein Celtic v Cape Town City
April 26 Chippa United v Cape Town City
May 8 Cape Town City v  Orlando Pirates

BIDVEST WITS


Robyn Johannes Bidvest Wits

STRENGTHS

Gavin Hunt's men are among the teams with most wins in the league this season (11), and they have not been too bad defensively which stand them a good chance of winning the league this season. It is also worth noting that they have done this before, meaning the team has enough experience when it comes to this stage of the campaign. Their home record also speaks volume as they continue to make things difficult for their visitors. 

WEAKNESSES

One of their weaknesses has been losing to teams in the top five - most recently to Cape Town City. They have also been too casual of late as they dropped points unnecessarily. The second half of the season has been difficult for the Braamfontein-based outfit, and it is for this reason they have slipped from the summit to fourth position on the log.    

KEY FIXTURES 

April 6 Bidvest Wits v Orlando Pirates
April 27 SuperSport United v Bidvest Wits
May 11 Golden Arrows v Bidvest Wits

SUPERSPORT UNITED 


SuperSport United, Mbombela Stadium

STRENGTHS

Matsatsantsa are one of the teams on the rise, and they are collecting more points than they are dropping them which is why they should be considered genuine title contenders. Kaitano Tembo's men have also been keeping things tight at the back, conceding just 20 goals in 23 matches.  

WEAKNESSES

The Tshwane giants need to score more if they are to really keep themselves in the title race. The 24 league goals they scored thus far may not be enough, while they have also lost too many matches (7) after a slow start to the campaign. They have to avoid losing more matches in the remaining seven to keep the pressure on their title rivals. 

KEY FIXTURES 

March 15 SuperSport United v Kaizer Chiefs
April 7 Mamelodi Sundowns v SuperSport United
April Bidvest Wits v SuperSport United

 

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