Kaizer Chiefs slumped to their first defeat of the season on Tuesday night as SuperSport United managed to stop the Amakhosi train with a 2-0 victory. Matsatsantsa opted to play with two strikers in Jeremy Brockie and Kingston Nkhatha, and this moved coach Stuart Baxter to play with three centre-backs - which came at a cost.
Here’s why Chiefs should rather not play with a three-man defence in a 3-5-2 formation.
Their 19-match winning streak was built on a solid defensive foundation, consisting of Tsepo Masilela, the Twin Towers and Siboniso Gaxa - who made up a formidable back-four.
Against SSU, Baxter opted to play with Morgan Gould and the Twin Towers in a three man defence. This did not work out for Baxter, simply because his players are not used to this formation. To a certain extent, Baxter was trying to fix something that needed no fixing at all, as Chiefs were solid enough with a four-man defence.
The 3-5-2 formation also requires two out and out wing-backs. However, with Masilela pulling out due to injury for the tie, Gaxa was moved out to the left, with Mandla Masango played as a makeshift right wing-back.
This meant that Chiefs were unbalanced on the flanks as Gaxa is not a natural left footer and Masango, in all honesty, does not have the tank to play as a marauding wing-back .Baxter’s questionable tactics for the SSU game was just an indication of Chiefs not being ready to alter their style of play to a 3-5-2 formation.
Yes, Chiefs may have looked dangerous going forward, but they were very wobbly at times in defence.
What are your thoughts on Baxter’s tactics in using a 3-5-2 formation?