Sundowns v Pirates: First heavyweight clash of 2018

Cape Town - The first heavyweight Absa Premiership clash of the New Year will be Mamelodi Sundowns hosting Orlando Pirates on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld.

Many have not been eagerly awaiting the Absa Premiership's return this year. The league, in the first half of the season, had chronic goal scoring constipation. Nil-nil draws were a common theme. This year, however, it seems like the league has taken a shot of potent laxative because there has been a run of goals.

In the 10 games played in the new year, there have been 24 goals scored - that's an average of 2.4 goals per game. If you compare that to the 1.95 goals per game scored last year this is a major upturn in goalscoring.

With Mamelodi Sundowns firepower and Orlando Pirates' new found goalscoring form, this is going to be a thrilling game, laden with good goals, bad decisions, and OMG-I-can’t-believe-he-missed-that moments.

Who do you think will be victorious?

Mamelodi Sundowns

Sundowns are on top of the league and are playing the best attacking football in the Absa Premiership.

But, their defence is wishy-washy. Sundowns lost their last game in 2017 to Cape Town City and lost their first game of 2018 to Polokwane City. Their form has been as predictable as a pregnant woman's mood. Their inconsistency stems from their uncertainty at the back. Pitso Mosimane's back four looks vulnerable.

The Brazilians did manage to win against an Ajax Cape Town team that has yet to hit puberty on Tuesday night. Sundowns' defence did present The Urban Warriors with a whole host of chances but the teenagers failed to convert.

Orlando Pirates

Orlando Pirates couldn't buy a goal in 2017. Their wish to Father Christmas must have been the gift of scoring more goals in the New Year.

Father Christmas obliged.

Orlando Pirates scored three goals in the first 20 minutes of the New Year against Baroka FC. Before their 3-1 bashing of Baroka, Orlando Pirates had only managed to score two goals in a Absa Premiership match in only one of their 15 games played.

Read that again and let it sink in.

Matter of fact I'll retype it for you so you don't have to hurt your fingers swiping up...

BEFORE THEIR 3-1 BASHING OF BAROKA, ORLANDO PIRATES HAD ONLY MANAGED TO SCORE TWO GOALS IN A PSL MATCH IN ONLY ONE OF THEIR 15 GAMES PLAYED.

Record

Mamelodi Sundowns last five games in the Absa Premiership:

WLLWW (60% WIN PERCENTAGE)

Orlando Pirates last five games in the Absa Premiership:

WLDDW (40% WIN PERCENTAGE)

Prediction

BET.co.za has Mamelodi Sundowns as heavy favourites at 0.70 to win. Which does make sense, Sundowns have enjoyed four wins out of their last five games against Orlando Pirates. These wins include the 6-0 thrashing which Pirates supporters get amnesia when asked about and the most recent 3-1 battering in their own stadium. Orlando Pirates odds are 4.00 to win and 2.15 for a draw.

Betting: Sundowns v Pirates

In that game against Baroka, Orlando Pirates looked really good, that was the best I have seen them play in months.

Okay, so it was only one game, it could have been an aberration, it could have been Father Christmas playing a prank on them, one that he and his elves will have a giggle about, but at least it’s a start. Pirates are fifth on the table and with the PSL being so close this season, a run of good result could see them on top of the log.

Mamelodi Sundowns deserve to be on top they have played the best football and go into every game looking for a win. But their focus on attack has left them vulnerable at the back. Full-backs Tebogo Langerman and Thapelo Morena are good going forward but not so good at defending and Pitso's chopping and changing of his centre-backs doesn't help either.

This game will be open as all Sundowns Pirates games are. There will be goals, but I foresee a draw.