News Live Scores
Kaizer Chiefs

​Orlando Pirates v Kaizer Chiefs: Who has the upper hand?

11:01 GMT 01/03/2018
Eric Mathoho and Thamsanqa Gabuza - Kaizer Chiefs v Orlando Pirates
Chiefs have the best defensive record in the league this season, but Pirates have been scoring for fun in recent weeks. Who has the upper hand?

Orlando Pirates will play hosts to Kaizer Chiefs in the 163rd official Soweto Derby at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon. 

Apart from the bragging rights, there's also three crucial points and a place in the title race at stake for both sides. 

For the first time in many years, both Pirates and Chiefs are in with a chance to win the league title, and they are second and third on the log respectively with only a point separating them.

Pirates have done well to rectify the mistakes of the previous season, while Chiefs, although they are among the chasing pack, have dropped drastically compared to last season. 

Usually, Soweto Derby matches are a close contest,  and something similar could be expected as both teams cannot afford to slip up. It is safe to say whoever loses on the day, will be out of the running for the league title. 

But who has the upper hand? 


DEFENCE


While the Buccaneers have been firing on all cylinders, defensively, they still look a bit shaky and are conceding silly goals, which should be a worrying factor for Micho Sredojevic and his technical team. 

As coaches say, attack wins you games, but defence wins you titles, and for now this is the only department where Pirates have struggled in so far this season. 

They have conceded 20 goals in 22 games, and their defensive organisation is at times questionable. Perhaps their inconsistency is due to the fact that they have brought in a few new players, including Mthokozisi Dube and Innocent Maela. 

Their centre-back pairing has also not been consistent enough, and this has often forced Sredojevic to rotate the players there - it hasn't helped their cause. 

Chiefs on the other hand, are very stingy this season, having given away 12 goals in 22 games, thanks to Itumeleng Khune's scintillating performances. 

Steve Komphela has also masterminded the art of utilizing his players to their strengths, even though he has had to improvise in the absence of some of his key and experienced defenders. 

He has built a strong wall that consists of three centre-backs, with his full-backs playing as wing-backs. That way, Chiefs have numbers when in possession and are still able to attack using the two wing-backs. 


MIDFIELD


Xola Mlambo is undoubtedly a breathe of fresh air to the Pirates midfield, but the resurgence of both Musa Nyatama and Mpho Makola has also helped them dominate that department in most of their games. 

But it is on the wings where they have really looked dangerous and their offensive game has improved tremendously. Luvuyo Memela, Thembinkosi Lorch and Bernard Morrison have all been instrumental, making the Soweto giants the fearful team they are today. 

There's still Thabo Qalinge who hasn't been playing regularly, but has got all the qualities needed to hurt any opponent at any given day. 

At this stage, Chiefs look solid in the middle of the park with Willard Katsande, George Maluleka, Siphelele Ntshangase and Wiseman Meyiwa all doing well, but their crossing game has been very poor. 

Neutralizing wing-backs has worked for all the teams that have avoided defeat against Chiefs, and if Pirates can do that, then their chances of winning the game on Saturday are huge. 


UPFRONT


This is where Chiefs have struggled big time this season. At this stage last season, they had scored 30 goals, but they are now on 19 goals scored while Pirates have been deadly. 

Bucs have scored seven goals in their last two games, and while they have been conceding goals, they can draw positives from the fact that they are scoring more than their opponents. 

It is for this reason football fans across the country can expect goals, and as already mentioned, attack wins you games and Pirates can fancy their chances going into this weekend's Soweto Derby. They have the upper hand, but will need to be at their best to beat Khune on the day.

With a better game plan on how to breach Amakhosi's last line of defence, Pirates fans would definitely be smiling come 17h30 on Saturday.