The Absa Premiership table that does lie: Points per game log
The 2018-19 Absa Premiership season is shaping up to be an intriguing tussle for a trophy seemingly 'no-one wants' as none of the 16 teams in the elite league have managed to find any consistency to pull ahead in the title race.
The South African championship has almost exclusively been fought out between a handful of clubs in recent years, but this campaign any number could emerge from the pack with a good run of fixtures.
Just five points separate leaders Bidvest Wits in top spot and Free State Stars all the way down in ninth with some clubs having completed a third of the campaign.
Champions Mamelodi Sundowns drew again at the weekend, their fifth stalemate in seven games this campaign as they show an unusual lack of a cutting edge.
You never quite know what you will get from Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, who have both looked reasonably solid, but have just seven wins from 20 games between them, yet still hold second and third place respectively.
SuperSport United are hovering ominously yet have also failed to convince, while one win in eight games is a poor return for MTN8 champions Cape Town City as they find themselves at the wrong end of the table.
The league log is skewed by the number of matches each side has played owing to African club competition commitments, with four sides having played 10 games already and the likes of Sundowns and Maritzburg United just seven.
So KweseESPN provides a truer reflection of the table based on the number of points gained per game so far, to try to sift through who has excelled and who has struggled, starting from the top.
Points per game position: 1
Actual position: 1
Record (W-D-L): 5-2-2
The 2016-17 champions have confirmed their place as perhaps the form team in the top-flight and deservedly top the table having claimed a 1-1 draw at Mamelodi Sundowns on Sunday in a game they probably should have won. They look the most likely champions at this stage.
Points per game position: 2
Actual position: 4
Record (W-D-L): 4-2-2
SuperSport may be fourth on the actual log but have the second best points-per-game ratio this season and are one of only four sides to have reached double figures in terms of goals scored, though Wits, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs have all played more games than them.
Points per game position: 3
Actual position: 5
Record (W-D-L): 4-2-2
Despite a disappointing defeat at provincial rivals Free State Stars on Saturday, Celtic still have the third best points-per-game ratio this season having made an excellent start under coach Steve Komphela. But just one point from the last nine available suggests the bubble might have burst.
Points per game position: 4
Actual position: 6
Record (W-D-L): 4-2-2
Last season it was Maritzburg United, this year it is the turn of Limpopo side Polokwane City to be the surprise package in the Absa Premiership. After a difficult start they have flourished under Serbian coach Jozef Vukusic and picked up another fine win with a 1-1 success at Chiefs on Saturday.
Points per game position: 5
Actual position: 2
Record (W-D-L): 4-4-2
Pirates are in second place on the actual log with 16 points, but those have come from 10 matches and too many draws are hurting their championship chances. The ability to turn those draws into wins will be crucial if the side are to mount a serious challenge this year.
Points per game position: 6
Actual position: 7
Record (W-D-L): 2-5-0
Sundowns are a place better off on the points-per-game table than the actual one, but that should not mask the fact that they have been in poor league form. Although they are the only unbeaten team in the top division, just two wins from seven games is not a good return for their star-studded side.
Points per game position: 7
Actual position: 3
Record (W-D-L): 3-5-2
Chiefs looked a resurgent force when they won three games on the trot in September, with handsome victories to boot, but their inconsistent nature means that since then they have managed just a single point from their last two fixtures. They are third on the actual log, but battling to stay in the top eight on the points per game table.
Points per game position: 8
Actual position: 8
Record (W-D-L): 2-5-1
Promoted Highlands Park have made a solid start to the new campaign under coach Owen da Gama and find themselves in eighth position on both our tables. Five draws from eight will be a source of frustration, but just one defeat will boost confidence too.
Points per game position: 9
Actual position: 10
Record (W-D-L): 2-4-3
Golden Arrows are slightly better off than their actual position, though coach Clinton Larsen feels they deserved much more from this season than just two wins from nine games. He is probably right too.
FREE STATE STARS
Points per game position: 10
Actual position: 9
Record (W-D-L): 3-2-5
Ea Lla Koto have endured a tricky start to the season after such success in 2017-18, but look to be finding some form with seven points from the last 12 available.
Points per game position: 11
Actual position: 13
Record (W-D-L): 1-4-2
Maritzburg, who finished fourth last season, are two positions higher on the points-per-game log than their actual position, though their sample is smaller from just seven matches. Their struggles are not hard to fathom, just two goals scored in those seven games is desperately poor, though they have conceded only four at the other end.
Points per game position: 12
Actual position: 11
Record (W-D-L): 2-2-4
Chippa have been much better under new coach Eric Tinkler, though they came unstuck against Highlands Park at the weekend. Expect them to finish in the 8-12 band.
Points per game position: 13
Actual position: 12
Record (W-D-L): 2-2-4
Promoted Leopards are slightly better off than their points-per-game tally, but remain a real relegation candidate as they battle to stem the goals conceded. Along with Cape Town City, they have the worst defensive record (12 conceded in eight games).
CAPE TOWN CITY
Points per game position: 14
Actual position: 14
Record (W-D-L): 1-4-3
Just a single win in eight is not good enough for Benni McCarthy's side and their position is a true reflection of their form. Had they bowed out in the quarterfinals of the MTN8 instead of winning the competition, McCarthy may have been feeling the heat on the coach's bench.
Points per game position: 15
Actual position: 15
Record (W-D-L): 1-4-5
Baroka are another whose position is a reflection of their form and with 10 games gone already, alarm bells will be ringing for their Zambian coach Wedson Nyirenda.
Points per game position: 16
Actual position: 16
Record (W-D-L): 2-3-3
AmaZulu may be bottom but they have not had that bad a start to the campaign, their position effected by the six points they were docked for unpaid wages to former player Phineas Nambandi. Without that sanction they would be much better off in ninth position.