We’re bloody well due a belter of a Championship game, aren’t we? Nobody’s quite burst onto the scene except Fulham who kept 88% possession the other night. We haven’t seen figures like that since Linda Blair got sick on the priest.
However, some ties set themselves up well without even looking at their current pedigree. If we had to talk about clubs with history; clubs you associated with the golden ages of the Premier League, Derby and West Brom would be two sides you’d happily welcome back in the top tier.
For that reason alone, we’re excited about this one. And I have a sneaky suspicion about how it’s going to go.
It’s worth pointing out that away form in the Championship is considerably better than in most leagues in Europe. This is largely because the mentality of having 46 games means that you’re never fully focused on the task at hand, whereas home games are circled in elite competition with fewer games.
Fifteen of the 24 sides in the Championship averaged a point per away game in the competition last year, while MIddlesbrough, Bristol City and Bolton all saw better results away from home than in their home stadia. By comparison, only Crystal Palace did so in the Premier League last year.
West Brom were only 0.1 point per game better off at home and that’s because they were set up to be effective against sides who keep the ball. This will be one of those situations, too.
They’ve not lost yet and won both of their games by a single goal. In tight contests, they’re battle-hardened. And that’s without the influence of their biggest differentiator, who I’ll be mentioning now.
When Charlie is due a goal at this level, he gets a goal at this level. Honestly, that’s an unwritten law and everyone knows it. Signing Austin not only guarantees you a return of 20 goals in the current footballing climate, he automatically propels you into the automatic promotion conversation.
It’s pretty much surprised everyone that he’s not been on the scoresheet yet, but it’s coming. He’s also got a beautiful complement in Diangana playing just off him – which will see him handed a number of chances in any game they play with each other.
Derby have shipped five times in their opening four games – a figure only topped by Cardiff City’s Warnockball in the top 14. As the famous saying goes, Austin 3:16 says I’m going to score away at Derby.
It might seem a bit rich in that we’re conceding the 0-0 scoreline, as we’ve Charlie Austin to score, meaning there, can only be one other goal to come in this game with Austin bagging.
But Derby need to get back to basics and if that means they’re going to stop overplaying in certain areas to make the game shorter, they will. This really does feel like a game Derby can’t attack from the off, so it wouldn’t be wise to suggest overs in a clash where both sides – one of who have yet to keep a clean sheet – need to show defensive solidarity.
Oh, and remember what I said about West Brom and tight games?
*All odds correct at time of posting