Derby County 3 - West Bromwich Albion 1
Having already made the playoffs, I suppose both performance and result were predictable. A win would have taken us into third, as relegated Ipswich did us a potential favour, but I'm not sure it would be a huge advantage facing Middlesborough over Villa.
The two missed chances in the first half epitomized the general sloppiness. We were especially vulnerable in defence.
Recent games have given the fans little to be optimistic about and today was no exception. The big question is whether Albion can raise their game when it really matters. The final act in a forgettable game was HRK's moronic retaliation, which rules him out of the playoffs.
We have to hope now that we have been saving ourselves recently and we are about to see our three best performances of the season. We will need it.
Although this was a bit of nothing game for us there are some real concerns here.
I was really worried when I saw the 3-4-3 system due to the way Derby took it to pieces in our home game. And although in the first half we created openings and should’ve scored a couple of goals, we were so vulnerable it was scary.
Out of hopeless optimism I was hoping that we’d go 4-5-1 with 2 proper wingers as a dry run for the away leg at Villa. I still think it’s our best option - with 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 we lack any sort of balance, width and rarely look solid in midfield. I also can’t really see the point in playing an extra man in defence when that player is Bartley. He tries but he’s just not very good and we never look safe with him in the team.
Derby just got the ball wide and broke with pace and we couldn’t cope. The goals we let in were poor, it could have been more and we looked like we stopped trying with 20 to go.
As things are I’d go 4–2-3-1 at Villa with SJ;Holgate, Dawson, Hegazi, Gibbs; Brunt, Livermore/Harper; Phillips, JRod, Murphy; Gayle.
Murphy is a gamble as he’s a coward and weak but he also has great pace and ability - Edwards/Montero/Leko simply haven’t had the minutes and Rodriguez isn’t quick enough to play on the left.
Overall I think this system gives us the best chance to be solid without being overrun and I’m really disappointed in Shan going back to the same failed approach that did for Moore.
As it is we’re going into a lottery looking a bit of a shambles and without an identity. Not good.
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