Stats show Pirates‚ not Sundowns‚ the team with steam in PSL race

16 February 2018 - 14:49 By Nick Said
Bernard Morrison of Orlando Pirates celebrates goal with teammates during the Nedbank Cup Last 32 match between Orlando Pirates and Ajax Cape Town on 10 February 2018 at Orlando Stadium.
Bernard Morrison of Orlando Pirates celebrates goal with teammates during the Nedbank Cup Last 32 match between Orlando Pirates and Ajax Cape Town on 10 February 2018 at Orlando Stadium.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Heading into the final third of the Absa Premiership season‚ current form will be crucial in deciding who will be crowned championships come May.

And the form table over the last six league games‚ the generally accepted barometer‚ makes for interesting reading‚ with leaders Mamelodi Sundowns some way down the list.

No side has managed to put together a perfect run‚ but it is second-placed Orlando Pirates who have secured the most points over this period.

The Buccaneers have taken 13 of the last 18 points available‚ clinging on to title hopes that had seemed remote just a few weeks ago. They trail Sundowns by five points in the table‚ but have played a game more.

It shows the improvement of Pirates as the season has gone on under coach Milutin "Micho" Sredojevic.

They took 11 points from their first six games and seven from the next six‚ with their current period easily the most accomplished of the campaign. Bar an unusual loss to Ajax Cape Town it would have been even a better – during that match they dominated possession and chances‚ but lost 3-0.

Sredojevic has always said that it would take time for him to get the right formula and impose his plans on the squad and the numbers suggest he is moving in the right direction.

“Every day I am still learning the culture‚ traditions‚ lifestyle and habits of South African players‚ which are different from other players on the continent and you need to adjust to them‚” he said last month.

“I cannot come from Serbia and then impose Serbian ways on South Africans. I need to be one of you and through that bring the expertise and the technical aspect that I can bring‚ give my best and use this as a way to take our football to another level.

“We are extremely motivated and there is still space within each player in each department (to improve) as we have still not played our best football. That motivation is driving us.”

Bidvest Wits and Kaizer Chiefs have been the next best sides over this period‚ taking 12 points from 18‚ though neither has tasted defeat. Each has three wins and three draws from their last six games.

AmaZulu’s resurgent form has seen them move away from the relegation zone‚ for now‚ with the fourth-best record of the top-flight teams in the last six games that has seen them garner 11 points. That highlights the good work being done by coach Cavin Johnson.

Four sides have each taken 10 points from the last 18‚ including Sundowns‚ along with Cape Town City‚ Free State Stars and Maritzburg United.

It is easy to see why Platinum Stars are struggling at the foot of the table as they have comfortably the worst record over this period with just a single point gained.

SuperSport United’s unlikely dalliance with relegation has seen them take just six points‚ the same number as Bloemfontein Celtic and Lamontville Golden Arrows.

Ajax Cape Town’s improvement under coach Muhsin Ertugral can bee seen in the eight points they have managed‚ though whether they are allowed to hold on to those will be determined by the outcome of their dispute with the Premier Soccer League over the use of striker Tendai Ndoro.

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