Daniel McCulloch (@DMcCulloch1984) turns his attention to the FA Cup and Saturday lunchtime's 5th Round showdown between Brighton and Derby.
Brighton v Derby | Saturday 16th February 2019, 12:30 | BT Sport
At first glance, Derby look too big at 5/2 in the Draw No Bet market. The Rams have been impressive on the eye and picked up some notable scalps – knocking Manchester United out of the EFL Cup, Southampton from the FA Cup and scoring four goals in victories away to both Norwich and West Brom.
However, the underlying data has not been great, with expected goals suggesting they should be in the bottom half of the Championship. Indeed, they lost the shot count at doomed Ipswich on Tuesday night and were it not for Harry Wilson’s strikes from distance I don’t believe they’d be in a playoff race at all.
Still, their performances in the cups have been impressive and managing to score two goals at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and St Marys is no mean achievement.
In the last round against West Brom, Brighton made seven changes for the first game (at home, where they drew 0-0) and nine for the replay. They did have the better chances in those encounters, but Albion actually made more changes in those games and Brighton ultimately made it through because of their bench.
While they brought on top scorer Glenn Murray in both games, West Brom were bringing on teenagers and making bizarre tactical changes. Ultimately, The Seagulls got through in extra time because the Baggies made all their subs and were left with ten men. I don’t believe Frank Lampard will treat this game with such contempt so despite my concerns, I have to side with the visitors.
Brighton have just one win in 90 minutes this calendar year and that was in this competition against a much-changed Bournemouth. Derby will take this game seriously – they were pretty much at full strength against Accrington in the last match and there are plenty of Rams fans making the trip to the seaside so I don’t think this will feel like a typical away game.
I also like the look of the aforementioned Wilson at 17/4 with Betway in the Anytime Goalscorer market. He has 10 goals in 25 Championship games and I expect him to rise to the occasion here.