Derby vs Watford | Friday 16th October 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Now the seemingly never-ended international break is finally over, we can get our teeth firmly stuck back into some Championship football. That begins on Friday night as Derby entertain Watford at Pride Park, with both teams nursing contrasting fortunes prior to the break.
A late Wayne Rooney free kick earned the Rams all three points at Carrow Road when defeating Norwich City 1-0. It was a game where the hosts had the better of the play but ultimately couldn’t take their chances, with Phillip Cocu having goalkeeper David Marshall to thank for this. Watford on the other hand saw their unbeaten start to the league campaign come to an end at the hands of surprise package Reading, also 1-0.
Something that will please Cocu was that fact he hasn’t had much of his squad away on international duty, so freshness won’t be a great issue on the whole. Hornets boss Vladimir Ivic will have been sweating more so given he had a few more away with their countries, such as the likes of Ismaila Sarr.
Both squads are set to be tested in the coming weeks as there is a midweek round of fixtures right up until the next international break in November. No rest for the wicked!
To be honest, I’m never too quickly to pile into any team or game when coming right after the international break. The reality is that we don’t know what has happened behind the scenes, plus the whole Covid-19 situation means we don’t know if any squads have been impacted by this, too.
We have a game here which could quite feasibly go either way. The Championship this season remains as hard as ever to predict, and the lack of fans further contributes to that.
I’m not prepared to back Watford at 5/4 here. Regardless of the fact that they are probably the stronger of the two teams on paper, and have been more convincing in the opening weeks of the season. The price just does not entertain me in the slightest.
On the flip side, Derby need to convince me more to be too confident on their prospects, especially now coming up against one of the stronger teams in the division. Watford have also only scored two goals in their four league outings, which will surprise many, and Derby only have two themselves.
I rarely back draws, but I’m happy to recommend 12/5 (Unibet) on that very outcome on this occasion. Derby at least started to have more organisation about them in the Norwich match, whilst Ilic won’t be too unhappy with a draw here, I feel.
I was tempted to look towards the corner markets as on average Watford have gained the most in the league (7.50 per game). I do however think this number has been greatly exaggerated by the fact they earned 11 in their home match with Luton, so that’ll significantly bump the average up.
There are also prices of 19/5 (Unibet) floating around for Rooney to score at anytime. He makes some of these free kicks around the edge of the box look like a penalty kick, and set pieces could be Derby’s best way of scoring against a well-organised opponent. It isn’t a game which offers huge betting appeal however, so do manage your stakes and maybe have a few fun little ones to keep you interested.
Derby v Watford – Draw (12/5 Unibet)