The last two games have hardly shone a great light on this season’s Derby side. On paper, one point from two games against Rotherham and Blackburn is disappointing to say the least. Rotherham escaped due to some heroics from their outstanding performer, the referee, whereas Blackburn put an incredible shift in to deny Derby any real goal scoring opportunities. However the Rams’ performance that day was genuinely nothing short of top quality.
So, there was a brief summary of the last two outings, now time to focus on the next match: Brentford (H).
For those who haven’t been watching Brentford this season, it might come as a surprise to know that they currently sit in 3rd place, and that’s not at all through fluke either. They have 15 goals to Derby’s 10, a whopping 9.3 shots per game from inside the box, compared to Derby’s 6.5, and a pass completion rate of 78.1%, again narrowly beating the Rams’ who have a completion rate of 75.9%. In fact, the only stat that Derby have topped Brentford in so far this season is possession, a minor 0.2% more ball time for the Rams over the duration of the season so far.
Neal Maupay and Ollie Watkins have been essential for the Bees so far this season. The deadly duo have been on fire, scoring 12 goals and assisting 5 between them in 8 fixtures so far this campaign. The pair are in frightening form heading into what will almost certainly be Derby’s biggest test of the season since Leeds United.
The Rams have faced up against Brentford 32 times since 1935 when the two first met. There have been 8 draws, along with 14 wins and 10 defeats for Derby. However only one defeat in the last seven meetings isn’t enough to guarantee points this weekend.
I can see the key battle this weekend being between Brentford’s two main men, Watkins and Maupay, and the Rams’ new defensive partnership of Richard Keogh and Fikayo Tomori. The firepower of the Bees’ attack means that our lads at the back have to be on top form heading into this clash to provide any chance of a good result. We all know that the pair can perform, but it’ll be interesting to see them face a bigger test this week.
Personally, I’m hoping to see more of Jack Marriott from now on. The summer signing had a lot of hype surrounding him upon arrival at Pride Park but is yet to score a goal in Derby colours. He’s looked promising, especially in that cup tie against Hull where he genuinely did everything but score, to his and many others’ disbelief. With David Nugent and Martyn Waghorn not consistently scoring either, I see no reason why we can’t try and give the 23-year-old a run in the team leading up to the next international break.
As far as predicted lineups go, I can’t see the Derby eleven being changed too much at all from the last outing, so I’m predicting these lads to start in a 4-3-3;
Curtis Davies (C)
The only noticeable change I reckon could well happen is the exit of Florian Jozefzoon for Liverpool loanee, Harry Wilson. It was made clear that a big part of the deal for Wilson to make his switch to the East Midlands was that he needed to he guaranteed game time, and with Bennett looking consistently sharp, I feel that FloJo’s lack of affect in his last couple of matches may see him sidelined for the next Championship test.
Brentford are travelling to Derby on the back of a 4 game undefeated streak, so once again I don’t see much room for change during this encounter, I think we’ll see them lineup in a 4-2-3-1 with the following players;
With all that said, I think it’s about time Derby picked up another three points. It will do Frank Lampard’s men a world of good, along with maintaining the support of the Rams’ faithful. Let’s get behind the lads and hope for the best, come on you Rams!