Derby v West Brom
Saturday August 24, 12:30
Live on Sky Sports
Derby suffer first defeat under Cocu
Derby suffered their first defeat under the management of Phillip Cocu on Tuesday night as the Rams went down 2-1 at home to Bristol City. The former Netherlands midfielder was left frustrated as his side were unable to capitalise on their dominance with the ball, with just four shots on-target, eight efforts from inside the box after mustering 18 attempts on goal.
Cocu bemoaned his team's slow start and profligate finishing at Pride Park, saying, "It was a bad start. I don't like excuses and I don't know why, because it was a full stadium, great atmosphere, fantastic pitch and after we concede a goal then I see a reaction. Also, we couldn't convert our chances, so you are chasing your opponent all the time."
County enjoyed 76% of the ball in the second-half but failed to create a really clear opening, although Jack Marriott's brilliant individual curling effort with five minutes left set up a grandstand finish. Tom Lawrence missed arguably Derby's best chance when the score was 1-0, denied by goalkeeper Daniel Bentley when he looked certain to tap in at the far post.
West Brom drop more points at home
Summer signing Kenneth Zohore rescued a point for West Brom with a late penalty equaliser to deny Reading a rare away win on Wednesday night. in a game of few chances, the Baggies fell behind with 20 minutes to play but Filip Krovinovic was brought down in the area with just two minutes to play, allowing Albion the opportunity to pinch a point.
WBA probably deserved a share of the spoils on balance of play. The hosts started well at The Hawthorns but increasingly lost control of the contest with Matt Phillips, on-loan Grady Diangana, Charlie Austin - on his full Albion league debut - and substitute Zohore going closest before the pair of late goals saw the match end all-square in the Black Country.
It was West Brom's third failure to win at home this season under Slaven Bilic, although the Croatian claimed, "This was our best performance yet against a good team who have players who can frustrate you. I am happy with the way we are playing but I am not happy that we only have eight points to show for it." Hal Robson-Kanu is the Baggies' only absentee.
Albion miss out on vital preparation time
Derby have delivered victories in each of their last three matches against West Brom across all competition, including both Championship meetings last campaign. The Rams are also unbeaten in their last three contests when welcoming the Baggies to Pride Park, a run of results that dates back to August 2003 when a Gary Megson-led WBA last won here.
Derby 2.526/4 have returned W13-D8-L4 at Pride Park since the beginning of last season, scoring at least twice on 13 (52%) occasions. The hosts have only picked up two points from their past three fixtures since seeing off Huddersfield on the opening weekend and County were second-best on the performance data in recent duels with Bristol City and Stoke.
WBA 2.9215/8 picked up the division's fourth-most points on the road (W11-D4-L8) in 2018/19 as the Baggies' counter-attacking instincts paid dividends. Albion pocketed W5-D2-L4 when travelling to top-half teams, notching at least two goals six times. Slaven Bilic's boys have continued in the same vein this term, seeing off Nottingham Forest and Luton on the road.
Ordinarily, I'd be keen to consider West Brom as a proposition here. However, the Baggies only have around 60 hours of preparation time and a day's less rest compared to their hosts here and that's off-putting enough.
BTTS our best bet
Goals look to be our best avenue for profit on Saturday. Collectively, the two teams have seen Both Teams To Score bank in seven of their opening outings, recording a combined one clean sheet and only failing to score just once. A repeat can be backed at 1.758/11 on Saturday.
Over 2.5 Goals backers can grab a high-scoring match at 1.8910/11. The pair have seen three or more goals plundered in five of their total eight encounters. Seven of those eight games have seen at least two goals, suggesting an entertaining match could play out.