Derby County v Aston Villa
Sky Bet Championship. Kick-off 3pm.
AFTER a little stutter in the last match – Derby vs Birmingham, Derby turned on the taps and hit the Bluenoses 3 times in the 2nd half to end Birmingham's four-match winning sequence.
They'd lost once in 11 matches and were the most in-form team in the league over the previous 5 matches that saw them grab 13 pts from 15.
Birmingham started the game brightly and deservedly took the lead around 20 minutes in and could have gone into the break easily 2-0 up but for Scott Carson keeping the Rams in the game.
It wasn't as one way as the Radio Derby commentary team would have you believe. I saw the post-match highlights and Derby had some good chances in the first half too. But the 2nd half was all one-way traffic.
Derby started the match a little on the back foot with midfield spark Mason Mount ruled out of the starting 11. This gave Duane Holmes a first league start since being brought in. Midway through the first half Waghorn was subbed (hamstring) and Mason Bennett filled in for him on the left. Both Holmes and Forsyth had an average first half, but the 2nd half they were a different animal.
It wasn't a matter of if Derby would score but how many. All 3 of our new-look frontline got on the scoresheet and Liverpool loanee Wilson was unlucky to have a stellar free-kick turned on to the post. Derby have two free-kick specialists it seems, we also have Lawrence who can bulge the net from a deadball.
We've had a very tough 5 weeks of games and given our standard of football, we had enough in the tank to beat Middlesbrough – all be it for a late own goal saved the blushes for the home side, and 2 more own goals and a dubious attack that shouldn't have happened due to a barge in the back being missed right under the linesman's nose.
Fabregas was the only Chelski player to get on the scoresheet in that League Cup fixture, twice Derby equalised, but it ended 3-2 to the Londoners to end our cup run. We've played 3 teams in the top 3 and got 7pts from them (4pts away from home).
West Brom had a terrific amount of form going into that match and we took them apart at their ground, we've played the most in-form team in the league in the last 5 games and won 3-1, and now on paper, this game looks a piece of cake.
Villa have won 2 and lost 2 (both aways) since they replaced Steve Bruce with Brentford's old manager. He's a fella who doesn't have much luck against us, he managed the Brentford side beaten 3-1 by the Rams this season.
We've played two Birmingham sides in a week and beaten both convincingly and I'm not convinced Villa are even half the side they were last season. We beat them 2-0 at our stadium and 1-1 at theirs. That home win – well Villa dominated the possession stats but we put our chances away.
This game won't be dictated by Villa like the last time they faced us, the side is hungrier and our front 3 of Bennett/Marriot/Wilson or BMW – I like the sound of that – are enough to trouble any side if we play the way we can.
Derby are still in the famous purple patch of October/November and I don't see how Villa can stop us taking all three Birmingham teams scalps in 10 days.
Returning skipper Curtis Davies took up his usual role alongside Keogh in the heart of defence, Bennett and Holmes will most likely retain their places so I don't really see Derby changing any of the 11 that won against Birmingham.
Our defence is not ship-shape, we do like to concede a goal, but we also know how to score them.
- Derby win (23/20, Coral, William Hill)
- Derby win and over 2.5 team goals (21/10, Ladbrokes, Coral)
- Derby win and btts (3-1, Betfred, bet365)
Three out of 4 of Derby's last league games have delivered all 3 bets. If safety is your thing then stick with the straight win. I'd be surprised if Derby are not on most peoples' accas today.