This is a complex rivalry. First off, the name ‘A52 Derby’ is one of the worst hype-conducive monikers ever penned. Even calling it the East Midlands Derby makes it sounds too specific to the point where you’re clutching at straws.
That’s not even getting into the fact that Derby have a derby, and this derby featuring Derby is taking place in… *checks notes* …Nottingham. Thank God for small mercies, eh?
Such is the nature of this god-forsaken division that there may be 10 places between them in the league table, but there’s only five points separating them – as well as, you’re now aware – the A52.
Give me patience.
Both these teams rank in the bottom 10 when it comes to their respective form in the relevant venue for this match. Derby are 17th in the division when it comes to away games – winning just one of their seven, scoring seven times and conceding twice that number.
Forest, for their supporters’ sins, have scored just eight times at home all season. That’s just over a goal a game. A team that reliant on clean sheets for results is in serious trouble, regardless of their best efforts to stay solid.
When you add in that this an early kick-off, a slow start usually means fewer goals. There’s enough evidence here for me to suggest to go unders.
Usually when two teams are performing below expectations, you want home comforts.
But this isn’t the case in a derby, because, should you fail to run away like half-arsed eejits for the opening 20 minutes, fans will get on your back and it plays into the opposition’s hands.
Oh the sweet, ironic nature of football fandom.
When general play is becoming a problem, it can be nice to rely on set pieces or mistakes. And when you assess both situations, it just seems to me that Derby are better at whipping it into the box, as well as having better headers of the ball when it comes to attacking crosses.
Oh these two teams.
If you ever watch a corner kick, forgetting the added aggression of a derby, in games involving these two teams, you’ll see about 14 penalty kick opportunities at every vantage point.
This pair have been relatively fortunate to this point with their heavy-handed approach to defending incoming crosses to this point, but you feel like the more they ride their luck, the sooner they are from having a couple given against them in any given week.
I love the idea of a player scoring an own goal in a derby simply because he burst that gut running the extra 50 yards to attempt a clearance, only for it to bounce back off the post, hit him in the face, hit the goalkeeper in the face and trickle over the line.
It also seems like the perfect narrative for two teams who are struggling in front of goal.
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