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DSTV PREMIERSHIP BIG THREE MATCH PREVIEWS

For a team that’s not doing well, “It’s still the new season” can not be an excuse anymore with five games having been played. Who’s facing the big three this weekend? Here’s a closer look:

AmaZulu vs Kaizer Chiefs

After failing to beat newbies Royal AM and Marumo Gallants in their last two league games, it’s safe to say Chiefs aren’t flourishing. A few weeks ago, they were promising, however, they’ve dropped the ball. They can’t circulate the ball appropriately and lose possession easily, therefore failing to create goalscoring chances. Khama Billiat is being played as a false 9 but they still send long balls as if they had an out-and-out striker. With Njabulo Blom below par, only Cole Alexander in the midfield is backing up both defense and attack. If they’d sacrifice Blom for the deep-lying playmaker Kearyn Buccas to complement Alexander, the midfield would be balanced.

After bolstering their squad ahead of the new season, Usuthu were being proclaimed as a hopeful prospect. They didn’t start as well as expected winning only one league match out of six. However, a victory in the last match brought back some confidence. They have central midfielder Makhehleni Makhaula in fine form disrupting opponents’ attacks and reinforcing offensive play. Usuthu are strong in possession with energetic ball player Siyethemba Sithebe maintaining fluid movement.

AmaZulu’s stable midfield should give them the edge with Chiefs still underperforming.

Sinethemba Sithole’s prediction:

AmaZulu 2-1 Kaizer Chiefs

Position:

AmaZulu (7th)

Chiefs (13th)

Injuries/Doubtful/Suspensions:

Kgotso Moleko – AmaZulu (Injured)

Thembela Sikhakhane – AmaZulu (Injured)

Thabo Qalinge – AmaZulu (Sick)

Limbikani Mzava – AmaZulu (Sick)

Augustine Mulenga – AmaZulu (Injured)

Leonardo Castro – Chiefs (Injured)

Samir Nurkovic – Chiefs (Injured)

Match details:

When – Saturday, 02/09/2021

Time – 15:00

Where – Johnsson Kings Park Stadium

Cape Town City vs Orlando Pirates

The Citizens have failed to score in their last two league games of which they lost one and drew one. City look good when attacking but don’t have a clinical frontline. Their forwards, Fagrie Lakay and Abdul Ajagun, haven’t scored in the league this season. Khanyisa Mayo, who was in top form last season would start ahead of Ajagun if I was City’s mentor. They also miss right-back Craig Martin’s speed who’s overlooked with the slow Thamsanqa Mkhize chosen.

On the other side, Pirates lost their last league match to Mamelodi Sundowns. Prior to that defeat they seemed to be improving with some areas including defense still picking up. Once again they conceded two goals against Downs through the defense’s unnecessary errors. Perhaps Kwanda Mngonyama would be of help in defense pairing with Happy Jele instead of Thulani Hlatshwayo who hasn’t been stable since last season. The center-attacker Kabelo Dlamini is usually introduced in the second half and is always influential. Starting him ahead of the off-form Terrence Dzukamanja should beef up the attack.

With City struggling to find the net, Pirates’ defense could have some breathing space this weekend. That being said, there’s a high possibility of a draw.

Sinethemba Sithole’s prediction:

Cape Town City 0-0 Orlando Pirates

Position:

CT City (11th)

Pirates (5th)

Injuries/Doubtful/Suspensions:

Thembinkosi Lorch – Pirates (Injured)

Innocent Maela – Pirates (Injured)

Richard Ofori – Pirates (Injured)

Zakhele Lepasa – Pirates (Injured)

*No injury/absentees update from CT City yet.

Match details:

When – Saturday, 02-10-2021

Time – 17:30

Where – Cape Town Stadium

Mamelodi Sundowns vs Swallows FC

The last two league meetings between Downs and Swallows ended in draws. Masandawana are at their best and the last time they lost a league match was in April against Chiefs. Andile Jali has been bossing the midfield against any opponent The Brazilians have faced so far in the league. The solid defense of Bafana Ba style has seen them not conceding in the last five league games. An attacking midfielder, Haashim Domingo grants them an ideal link with attack leading to goalscoring opportunities. As they always overfill the box, anyone can score at Sundowns with many chances created.

The Birds were tipped by many to be one of the strongest title contenders this season considering the quality of their squad. They have been producing nasty performances and won only once in their last five league games. Their main concern is scoring as they haven’t managed a goal in their last six games in all competitions. Swallows play a 4-3-3 formation, and are supposed to be high pressing but aren’t. Grant Margeman whose strength is in marking would perhaps boost the midfield in place of  the inexperienced Lehlogonolo Matlou. Kagiso Malinga and Ruzaigh Gamildien have been struggling somewhat in front of goals. Just bench one of them and start the quick Keletso Makgalwa as a false 9 as he can drop to receive centrally.

Masandawana have the best defense in the league while Swallows can’t score. Sundowns’ high pressing will be too much for The Birds’ scattered midfield. Last season’s champions will prevail.

Sinethemba Sithole’s prediction:

Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 Swallows

Position:

Downs (1st)

Swallows (12th)

Injuries/Doubtful/Suspensions:

Lebohang Maboe – Downs (Injured)

Khuliso Mudau – Downs (Injured)

Thapelo Morena – Downs (Injured)

Promise Mkhuma – Downs (Injured)

Rivaldo Coetzee – Downs (Doubtful)

*No injury/absentees update from Swallows yet.

Match details:

When – Sunday, 03-10-2021

Time – 17:30

Where – Loftus Versfeld Stadium

Written by Sinethemba

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