Their fortunes have seemingly changed over the past few weeks, with Kaizer Chiefs finding their feet under Gavin Hunt and Orlando Pirates dipping in form after their MTN8 triumph. This leaves Saturday’s Soweto Derby perfectly poised, with the two teams separated by just four points.
SoccerClub writer DEAN WORKMAN highlights four major talking points ahead of the encounter.
1) Nurkovic Chiefs’ major threat
Since the return of Nurkovic, Chiefs have looked like a completely different team. The Serbian’s presence and threat up front have been instrumental in their style of play. More importantly, though, his leadership has played a significant role in helping Chiefs recover from their dismal start to the season.
Now, a completely different side to the one who played Pirates in the MTN8 semi-finals a couple of months ago, Chiefs will be targeting revenge.
2) Can Pirates discover form in front of goal?
Since the start of December, and following their MTN8 triumph, the Sea Robbers have struggled in front of goal and scored only more than once on two occasions in this period – in a 2-2 draw with Cape Town City and a 3-0 win over TTM.
Zinnbuaer said, coming into the game, that his side have struggled without a traditional striker, with Gabadinho Mhango still regaining fitness and Zakhele Lepasa and Tshegofatso Mabasa out injured.
With Hunt still searching for his strongest lineup at the back, Pirates will be hoping they can rediscover their scoring touch and beat their arch-rivals.
3) Hunt’s tactical tweaks to be tested
In recent weeks, the Chiefs coach has looked to shuffle his pack and moved players around looking for his strongest team.
Anthony Akumu in central defence, Daniel Cardoso in midfield and Philani Zulu at left back are just some of the Hunt adjustments which will be heavily tested on Saturday afternoon.
4) Pressure starting to mount on Zinnbauer
Despite lifting the first trophy on offer this season in the MTN8, Pirates coach Zinnbauer is starting to find himself under increasing pressure from the demanding Pirates fanbase.
Their poor run of form since lifting the MTN8 trophy, has had them slip down the table into fifth place, eight points behind league leaders Sundowns, heading into the Soweto Derby. The Soweto giants are desperate to get their hands on the league title. Another loss on the weekend, would throw them further off the pace and intensify the pressure on the German coach.
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