ANALYSIS: Orlando Pirates' slow start to the season

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Goal takes a look at Bucs' slow start to the new season which has seen them bow out of the MTN8 competition and collect 10 points out of a possible 15

Premier Soccer League (PSL) giants Orlando Pirates have endured a slow start to the 2018/19 campaign. 

Three successive defeats against SuperSport United, Bidvest Wits and Bloemfontein Celtic in all competitions raised a few eyebrows more so because they were expected to start the season with a bang. 

They find themselves five points behind current log leaders Bidvest Wits. They have also been eliminated from the MTN8. 

Goal takes a look at the Soweto giants' slow start to the new season: 

The Buccaneers were hoping to continue from where they left off last season, especially after coach Milutin Sredojevic insisted that he was more concerned about building a formidable side that will compete on all fronts this term. 

Augustine Mulenga, Orlando Pirates & Ryan Rae, Highlands Park, August 2018

In their first match of the season, Pirates took on Highlands Park, who adopted a defensive approach on the night to try and frustrate the home sides.

Sredojevic's side continued to impress with their attacking approach and dynamism in their next game which was against Chippa United. Once again, the Soweto giants were guilty of missing several goalscoring chances, although they eventually won the match 1-0.

This goes to show that not too many PSL teams go all out in trying to match the Buccaneers pound for pound by attacking them as Micho's side tends to excel in such situations.

Bucs' clash against SuperSport in an MTN8 quarter-final encounter is a typical example as Matsatsantsa, who boast one of the best attacking departments in the country, were set-up to play attacking football by Zimbabwean coach Kaitano Tembo.

Milutin Sredojevic

Pirates' next two opponents, Wits and Celtic, obviously studied Micho's tactics and both teams were set-up to defend and play on the counter-attack. This approach paid off as Bucs dominated possession, but they lost both games. 

Micho and his technical team had almost two weeks to plan and prepare for the next game which was against a stubborn Black Leopards side which was at the time unbeaten in its first three league games.

A record of four goals scored and four conceded in five matches shows that there's still a lot of workto do for Sredojevic.

His biggest headache has been the defence where Bucs haven't been consistent enough. They concede as much as they score, which could hurt their chances of winning the league this season. 

While they look scary upfront with Justin Shonga and Augustine Mulenga among others, Pirates are still not converting their chances, but this has nothing to do with tactics but his attackers' lack of compoure in front of goal. 

It is a worrying trend that PSL strikers require more than five chances to find the back of the net. 

Bucs' midfield is competitive and solid, but the same thing cannot be said about their defence even with Siyabonga Mpontshane trying his best to keep the team in the game with his acrobatic saves. 

There hasn't been a stable back four at Pirates, and while Happy Jele is on top of his game, he cannot do all the defensive work by himself for the team to win matches. 

Tactically, Pirates have no major issues, but the players need to limit their mistakes and play without fear; this is something that the coach should work, and it all starts at the training grounds.    

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