Article by @ramswriter
The 12 week wait is finally over. The football season finally kicks off again. Derby head to the Madejski stadium where they will take on Reading.
Frank Lampard’s first ever competitive game in charge will see him go head to head with his former Chelsea coach Paul Clement. Clement also led Derby to the top of the league in the 2015/2016 season, before being sacked in the February after managing only 1 win in 7, and seeing the Rams drop down to fifth. The sacking seemed quite controversial at the time as Mel Morris said it was Clement’s style of football that was a contributing factor.
In an interview with Soccer Am, Clement said, he felt he had unfinished business at Derby, and that had he not been sacked he would have got Derby promoted.
Derby have managed to take 9 points back from the Madejski Stadium in their last 5 visits. The most memorable being last seasons 3-3 draw. The first half saw 4 goals as Kasey put the Rams ahead after 6 mins. Kelly equalised for The Royals with a 30 yard screamer. Barrow then put Reading ahead just after the half hour mark, before Richard Keogh equalised for Derby 5 mins later.
Derby took the lead again through a Tom Lawrence goal shortly after the break, but the Rams couldn’t hold on as Bodvarsson scrambled home from 6 yards 10 minutes from time.
A question that has been on every fans lips has been what will Derby’s starting line up be? When asked this question in his press conference, Lampard seemed confident on who his starting line up will be.
I personally believe it will be the same line up that started against Wolves last Saturday in Derby’s final pre season friendly.
Even though Derby have signed Jack Marriot (Peterborough) and George Evans (Reading), I believe these two will both start on the bench.
Derby had a very successful pre season having won 4 out of 5 matches. They scored 11 goals and conceded 5. Their style of play has changed massively. They play out from the back; which is similar to how Clement likes his Reading to play. However Derby do it with pace and precision. They have become more exciting to watch and more threatening in attack. However they may become a little more vulnerable in Defence.
Reading’s pre season on the other hand has been quite the opposite. They started their pre season at the end of June; 2 weeks before Derby. They played 6 games, lost 3 and drew 3. They conceded 16 goals and only scored 5.
You hear a lot that, “this is only pre season, it doesn’t mean anything.” This may be true, but I would much rather take some kind of form and confidence in to the opening game of the season, then no form at all. Last season Derby lost their final 2 pre season games and only won 3 of their opening 10 games.
Winning breeds confidence and Derby can take confidence in to the game at Reading, but they need to guard against complacency.
Predicted starting line up
Wisdom Keogh Davies Lowe
Bryson Ledley Mount
Wilson Nugent Lawrence
Reading 0-2 Derby
Let me know your predictions in the comments