Kaizer Chiefs start their PSL campaign when they face Amazulu at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday evening and the conundrum for punters is whether or not to draw a line through Chiefs woeful defensive performance in the MTN8 last weekend.
Chiefs finished fifth in the PSL standings last season, eight points shy of title winners Pirates. Stuart Baxter is the man tasked with overseeing their title bid this time around but his first competitive match didn't go to plan. Chiefs were beaten 4-1 by Sundowns in the MTN8 quarter final at Loftus last weekend and they were all at sea defensively in conceding four goals inside the the first 37 minutes. The reaction from some bookmakers has seen Chiefs price to land the PSL title drift out to as high as 7/1 when they almost half those odds before last weeks debacle. The Amakhosi did improve leaps and bounds in the second half against Downs but the hard yards put in on the training ground to iron out the frailties at the back will have to bear fruit if they are to bounce back here. Siboniso Gaxa had to depart early last week, Shabba was absent through injury as were George Lebese and Jimmy Tau so keep an eye on the team news in the run up to match day.
Amazulu also bowed out of the MTN8 at the first hurdle, losing 2-0 at Swallows last weekend. They finished seventh in the 2011/12 campaign with nine points fewer than Chiefs and they struggled at home with four wins alongside four draws and seven defeats. Last seasons home fixtures were generally short on thrills with Amazulu scoring just 14 goals in front of their own supporters and conceding 11, the lowest aggregate tally in the top flight by some distance. Still, Amazulu finished highest placed of the KZN sides and look to have scope for further progress after coach Roger Palmgren's arrival saw a steady improvement last term. They have been fairly quiet in the transfer market despite losing two of their better performers, Nhlanhla Khuzwayo to Chiefs and Thamsanqa Sangweni to Sundowns. Usuthu were gallant in losing a high profile pre-season friendly 1-0 to Manchester United at this ground but had few excuses in last week's cup exit at Swallows.
We can only hope for more excitement than last seasons head to heads produced as both meetings finished without a goal being scored. Prior to that Chiefs had dominated recent history between these sides, completing a PSL double in the 2010/11 and 2009/10 campaigns.
The Betting - Match Result
Amazulu 26/10 BetXchange
Draw 23/10 Hollywood, BetXchange, Voltbet
Kaizer Chiefs 12/10 Sportingbet
Double Chance Amazulu / Draw 15/20 Hollywood
Under 2.5 goals 5/8 Voltbet
Over 2.5 goals 1.32/1 Hollywood
One team to score only 21/20 Sportingbet
Both teams to score (yes) 21/20 Hollywood
Half with most goals, tie 9/4 Sportingbet
Odds are correct at the time of publication but are subject to change. Some bookmakers may not have priced up on all markets at the time of writing.
Amazulu at home were under 2.5 goals bankers last season and their problem may again prove to be finding the target although they will have some encouragement from studying Chiefs attempt at zonal marking last weekend. However, a week on the training ground with some quality defenders at his disposal leads me to believe Baxter will have come up with a remedy and Amazulu are nothing like as creative as Sundowns.
I'm weary of following last seasons trend of low scoring encounters in Amazulu home games although I wouldn't completely rule out another bore draw. With that in mind, siding with the tie in the half with most goals market keeps a 0-0 in the frame and looks to have decent claims anyway given I don't expect either side to run riot.
Bet: Half with most goals, tie 9/4 Sportingbet
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