Millwall v Derby
Skybet Championship. Kick-Off: 3pm, Saturday 18th August.
AFTER last weeks humbling defeat at the hands of Leeds, Derby had the chance – and took it to get back in a positive mood by beating Oldham away in the Mickey Mouse cup.
Two-nil was about right and Derby dominated large chunks of that game but Oldham being 2 leagues down ( freshly relegated ) means it probably would of meant more to them if they'd of got a result against us. Most of the top tiers in any cup early matches use it to take a look at new faces and tinker. Derby did. I thought we made 4 changes but it was actually 6. We've that many new faces, it's going to take a few weeks to get my head around the new squad.
What troubles me is that both Frank Lampard and Mel Morris's post Leeds interview brought up 2 obvious observations from that match.
- Leeds started that match with practically the same side that they ended their 2017/18 campaign, a small advantage, but a significant one, Derby had 5 players in that match that were heavily involved in the season run in, 6 new faces and 2 had only arrived in the past 48hrs.
- We've 9 new players, most are fresh and young and have barely played together. We've reverted back to a 4-3-3 that isn't working with the current cohesion between the personnel we have. It's not making excuses, it is fact. New teams take time to bed in and with up to 9 available to top up a squad that seems a little top heavy in the age department and both Lampard and the owner have said ( words to the affect ) ” It's going to take ten or so games for Derby to start to take shape and know where we are, hopefully during that time we can scrape a few decent results like we did at Reading ” – to me, that is worrying.
Mel Morris said at the end of last season that we need to trim the wage budget, we need to steer towards young and hungry players ( penny pinching ) and players will need to leave to balance the books. Hence Vydra was sold and a few other big earners have left. Gone are the days of Derby splashing the cash. 2 loan signings later and 7 transfer fees paid hardly backs up the idea that we're tightening our belts up.
Joe Ledley in the middle of a trio of midfielders has been swamped. He couldn't cope against Reading or Leeds. Johnson faired a little better but not much. Bryson and Mount have been making those advancing runs but have not received service. The old team knew these runs would be happening and they'd start threading the needle with defence splitting passes, there has been none of that. That instinctive communication will take time to bed in to the team, but the 4-3-3 only really works if you've players that continually attack.
Leeds and Reading showed that when they're in midfield, attacks will be generated and chances will be created. We're struggling to cope against sides that chase down every ball. It has rotated 180 degree's. No wonder they're dictating the match, they're playing our game plan but making it work, we're not.
Derby actually reverted to a 4-2-3-1 on Tuesday and it felt better. There was more balance throughout the squad, we looked more like a team and with a little bit of luck and a bit of extra quality, Derby could of had 3 or 4 more goals. But we still lacked a lot at the back. Remember, it was ” only ” Oldham. ( Sorry to Oldham fans ). Mason Mount looked comfortable playing off the shoulder of the point man, Tamori had another decent game in Curtis Davies's absence and the gaffer has given some game time to a new faces. Martin Waghorn could be 4 or 5 games off match sharpness.
Nugent and Huddlestone could be available for the trip to the den. The vast majority of Derby supporters do not know who the best 11 is – that worries me. BUT, last season when Derby pitched up to Ashton Gate and thought Bristol City would be a pushover, they hammered us 4-1. It gave us a wake up call and we went on a terrific run that saw us surge up the table and into the top 6. We stayed there until the end of the season, all be it for 1 weekend a few months from the end of the season.
Millwall have wretched record against us both home and away. In 11 matches, they've won 2, drawn 5, lost 4. Derby have only won 1 in 11 visits to the Den, drawing 5 and losing 5. Last season Derby registered a 0-0 at the Den and won 3 nil at home.
Millwall have not scored in the league since going 2 nil up to Middlesbrough in the opening game. they've drawn their opening 2 games and scraped through in the cup on penalties. Millwall have not drawn their opening 3 matches since the 48/49 season. If I'm honest, they look a little toothless up front.
Derby should make a raft of changes and I honestly see Derby winning to nil IF they play a 4-2-3-1. I'd keep the central defence pairing the same, I'd have Johnson a Ledley together in holding midfield ( too early to bring in Huddlestone ), with Lawrence/Mount/Bryson feeding Marriot. I think Waghorn needs game time but we should grab points whilst we can. Lawrence and Bryson were both rested.
Ignoring the playoffs, Lawrence has netted in his last 3 league matches, his best ever run.
- Derby double result @ 16/25 with Marathonbet
- Derby win to nil @ 23/5 with 188bet
- BTTS no @ Evens with Betfair, Paddypower, BetVictor
Bet 1 I'd be comfortable putting into a small acca, Bets 2 and 3 need to be in standalone bets. Remember small stakes whilst Derby bed-in.
If we DON'T play a 4-2-3-1, I'd consider giving the second two bets the elbow.
Hold back on your bets until I can confirm team news and formation which will be up at 2pm. Good luck guys.