Derby v Cardiff | Friday 13th September 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Depending on which way you see it, the international break possibly came at a good time for both Derby and Cardiff. The Rams went into the two-week absence on the back of consecutive 3-0 defeats, including to arch rivals Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup. They’re winless in the league since the opening day of the season at Huddersfield.
Neil Warnock’s Cardiff are also without a win since defeating Huddersfield, but back-to-back league draws is some improvement for the Welsh outfit.
Without doubt, Phillip Cocu would have been on the training ground as much as possible looking to drill his team into some kind of a unit. They were however missing a few key individuals to international duty, such as Richard Keogh and Tom Lawrence, so it remains to be seen if the Dutchman has had the opportunity to really work his magic.
In recent weeks, Warnock has looked to make Cardiff much harder to beat. Losing 3-0 at Reading really was an eye-opener for the veteran boss, and he reverted to type in the games to come. They were arguably the better team against a talented Fulham side last time out, and they earned a much-needed clean sheet at Blackburn the weekend before.
As I’ve already touched upon, this international break can sometimes do some crazy things in relation to form. An advantage in the direction of Cardiff is that they’ve not really lost any of their star men to their national teams over the break, so that provides them with a minor advantage heading to Pride Park.
A word of caution, be careful if backing any side at short odds when losing several players to their countries over these few weeks.
Derby very much are the team with something to prove as Cocu arrived with a reputation that he so far hasn’t been able to live up to. Welcome to the Championship!
Things arguably are only going to get tougher and I fancy Cardiff as being the last opponent in the league he’d have wanted to face when needing a result. For all they are conceding goals, they’re not doing a great deal at the other end either. They’re able middle of the road in the league in terms of average shots on goal, whilst a little lower down in relation to average efforts on-target.
Taking note of Cardiff in comparison, only three other clubs in the division are averaging more shots on goal per-game, and the same applies to shots working the opposing goalkeeper. Only six clubs are conceding a higher average shots on goal compared to Cocu’s men as well, suggesting that they are far too open and are crying out for some discipline.
A Dutchman with an eye for attacking flair play therefore doesn’t strike as the type of coach they possibly need right now, but they have enough to turn this rot around, for sure.
Focusing on Friday night and I do have the feeling of goals in this one. I’ve touched upon Derby being a bit too end-to-end and for all they may be lacking in attack, they’ll be eager to prove a point in front of the cameras with plenty of questions being asked of them. I’m never entirely convinced by Cardiff away from home either, and I rightly backed against them prior to travelling to then out of form Reading not that long ago.
We’ll plump for Both Teams To Score and Over 2 Goals on this occasion, which is a handy 11/10 shot (Bet365). The reason being is that I can see this being a game where both look to try and offer a presence in the final third, and both are showcasing enough defensive vulnerability for me to be pretty confident of it paying off. Both teams only have two clean sheets between them this season out of 12 overall.
Derby v Cardiff – Both Teams To Score and Over 2 Goals (11/10 Bet365)