After a decent 2-0 win over Hull City on Saturday, Chelsea will line up against the Championship side Derby County in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup tonight.
The tournament can give Chelsea their first taste of silverware this season, with the final due to be held on 3rd March, 2015. But that can only happen if Jose Mourinho’s side get past the impressive East Midlands side from the Engish 2nd division.
Here’s a look at the Derby County side in our Opposition Scouting Report:
TEAM AND THE RECENT FORM
Derby County Football Club is an English football club based in Derby, England. Founded in 1884, it is one of the twelve founding members of The Football League in 1888. The club has spent all but four seasons in the top two divisions of English football. Their greatest achievements came in 1970s when they became the English League Champions twice and reached the semifinals of European Cup.
The team managed by Steve McLaren is currently placed at 3rd position in the Championship table with 38 points in 21 matches, including 11 wins, 5 losses, and 5 draws, only one point behind behind Bournemouth and Middlesborough at 1st and 2nd respectively. Actively fighting for the promotion, with 4 wins in their last 6 games, they faced a major bump when they lost their last match against Middlesborough in the Championship.
In their Round 4 game in the Capital One Cup, they beat the newly relegated Fulham side by a scoreline of 5-2 and did not experience anything less than a win in their previous three fixtures in the tournament either.
FORMATION AND STYLE OF PLAY
Derby County have been known to play in a diamond or a 4-3-1-2 formation ever since they were under their previous manager, Nigel Clough. When Steve McLaren took over as manager, he continued with the same strategy to give his team their own unique style of play.
This formation requires players to be pacy, energetic and have an attacking approach. The two flanks are occupied by runs from the two wide midfielders of the central three to try and land the ball inside the penalty area or to be present as options for the three frontmen to make passes during counter attacks. The attacking midfielder can at times fall back to accompany the back four and the one central defensive midfielder, in defence.
Chris Martin- The 26-year-old Scottish striker is the club’s leading goalscorer with 14 goals and 2 assists to his name this season. His 25 goals last season was the highest in a season by a Derby player in the last 30 years. His form has been consistent, and can cause trouble to Mourinho’s team.
Craig Bryson- The Scottish midfielder was in terrific form last season with 16 goals in all competitions from midfield. But he has not been able to continue with the same form lately. However, among the players featuring in the Derby squad against Chelsea, he’s someone who can come up with some individual brilliance in the game.
Will Hughes- At the young age of 19, the central defensive midfielder has played more than 100 games for Derby County which a quite remarkable achievement in itself. His ability to control the game, and break the resistance of the opposition’s defence has already drawn comparisons to the likes of Xavi and Iniesta. According to his manager McLaren, Hughes is playing the best football ever since he broke into the first team.
Derby faced a major disappointment at the hands of Middlesborough in their previous Championship game. Had it not been for their goalkeeper’s heroics, it would have been much worse for the Rams. The four-man defence couldn’t stop a resilient Middlesborough attack which had many shots on target and could easily make way through Derby’s defence. This inability to stop opponents from creating chances can land them in serious trouble at the hands of a free-scoring Chelsea side. The Blues can also expect Steve McLaren’s side to commit fouls in dangerous areas.
HEAD TO HEAD
Throughout their history, the Blues and The Rams have come face to face 96 times. Chelsea have won on 36 occasions, while Derby have been victorious 35 times. The fixture has witnessed 25 draws. Although these stats don’t really favour Chelsea, the Blues have won 7 of their 8 games played against the side from Derby. One game has ended in draw, thus leaving the Rams with no victory over Chelsea in the last 15 years.
With Steve McLaren himself making it clear that Chelsea are the clear favourites tonight, we don’t have to think about it much. Do we?
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni