Derby travelled to league leaders Crystal Palace, yesterday, knowing they were trying to upset the London club’s 13 game unbeaten run. Ian Holloway was in charge of only his fourth Eagles game, with the club all full of confidence after some brilliant showings in recent weeks. We all knew this was a tough ask for Nigel Clough’s Rams, who came into the game on the back of a 2-1 defeat at Millwall last week.
Here’s how Derby lined up going into the game- (4-4-1) Legzdins; Brayford, Keogh, Buxton, Roberts; Coutts, Hendrick, Hughes, Jacobs; Bryson; Sammon. Subs: Fielding, O’Connor, Tyson, Robinson, O’Brien, Gjokaj, Hoganson.
This is a guest post by fellow Rams fan Jonathan Rodgers (@popsider), who attended the game. Here’s his thoughts on the game-
This was a comprehensive defeat for the Rams but, although Palace were clearly the better team and deserved their victory, I wouldn’t say that we were completely outclassed. There was a period in the second half where we actually played pretty well and I thought we were in with a chance of getting a draw. Will Hughes was of course central to this with his intelligent passing and movement but I also thought Brayford, Coutts and Jacobs had good spells.
However, it wasn’t to be and the result and overall performance left the 1,005 Derby fans feeling pretty dispirited.
For Palace, Glenn Murray, playing as a central target man, in between Zaha and Bolasi, was brilliant. Tall but with a surprising amount of mobility and clearly a knack for goal, he was the best player on the pitch by far. He scored a header from a corner in the 12th minute, had an assist for Moritz’s goal just before the hour and finished us off completely with a scything run into the box on 82 mins. He now has 15 goals this season. Not bad for a free transfer from Brighton.
Jedinak and Moritz in midfield for Palace were also clearly quality players and their domination in the centre of the park was the key to this victory, I think. Hughes and Hendrick couldn’t really cope with them, especially with Bryson stranded in an ineffective role in the “hole” behind Sammon. Sammon was also pretty ineffective but, to be fair, he didn’t have much service from midfield. I think things will get better for Conor once Wardy returns from injury. Ward could be back in contention for the Rams’ next game, V 19th placed Birmingham at Pride Park.
Derby started the game with a 4-4-1-1 formation, which as far as I was concerned was a decent formation to try and nick a result. However, as soon as we conceded the second goal, I think Clough should have put both Tyson and Theo on. Maybe I would have even changed the system at half time.
I’m not sure the travelling Rams fans were too impressed with Clough’s team selection and formation. They were chanting for Theo to come on, early in the second half, and even chanting “4-4-2” late in the game. I didn’t know our fans were so tactically astute..
A few words on Zaha. After all the hype about him this season and of course this week following his England debut, I was interested to see what he was like. Well, I wasn’t impressed and if this petulant youth manages a decent career in the Premier League or for England, I’ll run naked down South Norwood High Street, wearing only a Palace bobble hat.
Yes he’s got pace and a few tricks but he didn’t have a good game here and comes across as an arrogant, mardy child. He dived in the box to try and get a penalty in the first half, spent the next 5 minutes moaning at the officials and then got into a running spat with Roberts.
Anyway, let’s forget about him. Palace are a good bet for automatic promotion this season but we need to get over this result and try and get back to winning ways. I still think we could nick a spot in the play-offs.
Thanks very much to Jonathan for that report. Derby now have a run of two successive home games against two of last season’s Play-Off semi finalists, Birmingham City and Cardiff City.
Come on you Rams!