Newly crowned MTN8 champions Orlando Pirates host Chippa United on Wednesday night. The Buccaneers have flattered to deceive in the early parts of this season, with promising performances often interspersed between some disappointing results. Perhaps their first trophy in six years will be just what they need to kick on, starting with the midweek match against Chippa. At home, Pirates remain an immovable object. The Buccaneers have lost just once at home in the league since the start of last season, and have built what resembles a fortress in the last three seasons.
Their opponents’ struggles on the road are well documented, and the trip to Gauteng may yet again prove to be a challenge too far. Since their last promotion in 2014, Chippa have lost every single game they have played away to Pirates. Their more recent away woes could also be a guide on what to expect.
The only indictment of Zinnbauer’s Buccaneers could be that they have drawn too many games. Since football resumed in the bio-bubble, Pirates have drawn more matches (7) than they have won (5). No side has more top-flight draws in that time. Part of that run also includes drawing four of their opening six games this season.
Yet, Pirates dominance in this fixture is such that they have won eight consecutive league games against Chippa since 2016. Only against Leopards (current) and Dynamos (1998 to 2005) have Pirates enjoyed a similar run of successive wins against a single opponent. This does not happen too often, and this may be the game that brings that run to an end.
A defeat for Chippa could leave them in the relegation zone at the end of this round of games. While their defence has been leaky (one clean sheet in ten away games), their goalscorers have been equally disappointing. In twelve away games they have only managed to score two goals on a solitary occasion.
Pirates’ last league match – against Cape Town City – was the first league match where a Zinnbauer team conceded more than once in the league. Whilst that record hints at defensive solidity, it must be noted that Pirates have kept just one clean sheet in the opening six league games of the season. They’ve actually conceded first in each of their last three league matches.
3 – Since the start of the 2017/18 season, Pirates have played 48 league matches at home and lost just three times, winning 26 and drawing the other 19.
1 – Chippa have won just one of their last ten league games away from home, drawing four and losing the other five.
248 – Pirates have drawn more league games than any other side in the PSL era (248).
9 – Winning nine matches in a row against a single opponent has only happened once in Pirates history (v Golden Arrows, 2009 to 2014).
1 – Pirates have conceded more than one goal in a league game only once since Josef Zinnbauer’s first game in charge 12 months and 28 matches ago.
3 – Pirates have conceded the first goal in four successive games for the first time under Josef Zinnbauer.