Register Login Scores


Tactics Talk – Did Bucs Pick the Wrong Midfield?

In Saturday’s 1-1 draw in the Soweto Derby against Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates decided to change from their usual 4-2-3-1 shape featuring four attacking players and instead added Ben Motshwari to midfield alongside Xola Mlambo and Musa Nyatama. This meant Augustine Mulenga was dropped to the bench. Did it work? 

Why change?

Coach Milutin Sredojevic may have looked at a strong Kaizer Chiefs midfield and decided he could not afford to start just two specialists in his engine room. Amakhosi have been playing with three in midfield since Ernst Middendorp took over, so this selection seemed to be in order to 'match up' to their opponents. However, Chiefs surprised Pirates by playing 4-4-2 and man-marking Vincent Pule and Thembinkosi Lorch and putting the onus on the Bucs midfield to be a goal threat.  

What it means

With Motshwari, Mlambo and Nyatama all together, Pirates are well equipped to dominate possession and control proceedings in the middle of the park, but they lose an attacking player. None of the other three is regular goalscorers or chance creators. This selection meant Ben Motshwari had to play as an attacking midfielder and his lack of finishing ability was seen in the derby as he missed a good chance in the 11th minute.

Has it worked before?

So far this season, Pirates have started that midfield trio on four occasions:

1-0 loss vs. Bidvest Wits (Home - League)

1-0 win vs. Chippa United (Home – Telkom Knockout)

0-0 draw vs. Esperance (Home – CAF Champions League)

1-1 draw vs. Kaizer Chiefs (Away - League)

In those four games, Pirates only won one game and scored just two goals in those matches. Against Esperance, the side made 544 passes but had no shots on target and only six attempts in total. The trio all like to dictate proceedings and keep the ball, but none offer threatening shooting from long-range or able to dribble as Mulenga can offer. 

Did Micho get his midfield team selection wrong? Should Mulenga have started? How would you set up the team going forward? Let us know by commenting below!


Middendorp: Chiefs Should’ve Beat Pirates, Sundowns & City…


Top 5

Chiefs v Sundowns Postponed For Two Months

54 Dec 12, 2019 12:27 PM in Kaizer Chiefs

The 10 Richest Footballers In The World

17 Nov 24, 2019 07:17 PM in World News

The Best Players In Europe Revealed: CR7 Not in Top 20

33 Dec 09, 2019 01:30 PM in Messi/Ronaldo/Neymar Watch

Pitso: If We Benefitted, It’s About Time

109 Dec 12, 2019 10:52 AM in Mamelodi Sundowns

The Best Players In Europe Revealed: CR7 Not in Top 20

33 Dec 09, 2019 01:30 PM in Messi/Ronaldo/Neymar Watch

Breaking: Pirates Announce New Coach

198 Dec 10, 2019 12:24 PM in Orlando Pirates

Mourinho Linked With Shock Signing

5 Dec 09, 2019 06:32 PM in English Premier League

Nurkovic & Castro Run Riot Without Billiat In Eight-Goal Thriller

335 Dec 07, 2019 10:14 PM in Kaizer Chiefs

The Top Goalscorers This Season So Far

13 Dec 09, 2019 08:31 PM in Messi/Ronaldo/Neymar Watch

Sundowns Star Leaves Stadium On Crutches

16 Dec 12, 2019 09:18 AM in Mamelodi Sundowns

9 Players Who Left Barca Because Of Messi

27 Nov 03, 2019 10:21 AM in Messi/Ronaldo/Neymar Watch

Pirates Confirm Injuries To Trio, Update On Another

7 Dec 12, 2019 12:58 PM in Orlando Pirates

The Highest-Paid Player At Each EPL Club Revealed

21 Sep 15, 2019 07:15 PM in Cadbury

Tade’s Emotional Downs Departure Explained

18 Dec 12, 2019 12:06 PM in Mamelodi Sundowns