Historically there’s been plenty of goals when Derby and Watford meet, but the last clash between these two was five-and-half-years ago. A lot has changed since then and it feels like that run of seven-straight games with Over 2.5 goals landing might be about to end.
Why? Well, Watford and their terrifyingly-stern boss Vladimir Ivic seem to be on a one-team mission to eradicate high-scoring, exciting football matches. They say pets eventually start to resemble their owners and this Watford team looks to be the on-pitch personification of the no-nonsense Ivic. In their four league games so far this season, there have been three goals with two wins, a loss and a 0-0 draw for The Hornets.
Derby, on the other hand, took four games to notch their first victory of the season which came last time out courtesy of Wayne Rooney’s solitary 87th-minute free-kick at Norwich. Three defeats proceeded that win with the 4-0 battering from Blackburn the early-season low light.
Friday 19:45: Derby v Watford
Sky Sports Main Event/Sky Sports Football
Interestingly, both Watford and Derby have faced two of the same teams in their four respective Championship fixtures so far – Luton and Reading. Watford lost to high-flying Reading last time out but beat rivals Luton in the game before, both by 1-0 score lines, leaving them with three points, one scored and one conceded from those games.
The Rams lost 2-0 to Reading on the opening day and then lost to Luton 2-1 the next time out. Played two, lost two, four conceded and one scored. With so few games played this term and almost six years since their last encounter, signs like these are the best gauge we have as to how this one will go.
Watford are seventh while Derby are languishing down in 20th place. Given the difference in the quality between the two squads and the limited results we have to go on this season, everything is leaning towards a Watford Win.
The only potential fly in the ointment is the fact this contest will take place at Pride Park. However, Derby haven’t won at home this season in four attempts, if EFL Cup games are also taken into consideration, so it’s a fair assessment to say they’ve not been using home advantage – whatever that is these days – to their benefit.
As mentioned previously, Watford have been struggling for goals but they have been almost perfect at the back with just that one conceded. We’re expecting the Hornets to boss this one and look to see out another narrow victory as Derby flail around and hope for Rooney to pull something magic out of the hat.
Watford won’t give much up and their superior quality should mean that they have enough to get it done in solid-if-unspectacular fashion that’s quickly becoming their calling card this season. Under 2.5 Goals has come off in six of these two teams’ combined eight league fixtures this term and is the way to go here.
Joao Pedro has been an ever-present for Watford so far this season with the 19-year-old starting all four of their Championship fixtures. He has one goal to his name which seems steady enough, but actually amounts to 50% of their goals scored in the second tier this term. The not-so notorious goal-getter Craig Cathcart is the other man to notch for Watford.
In expected low-scoring affairs it’s always worth taking a punt on the first scorer rather than anytime and, with the Brazilian grabbing one of the Hornets’ precious few goals already this season, Joao Pedro to Score First feels like our best bet here.
Derby v Wolves tips
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