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Opinion – Signing this 23-year-old wall could solve Derby County’s defensive conundrum



Why Derby County must sign Preston North End’s Ben Davies

As per reports from The Sun (h/t Derby Telegraph), EFL Championship outfit Derby County are monitoring Preston North End defender Ben Davies, with manager Frank Lampard eyeing a January move.

The Rams’ manager is keen on adding another ball-playing centre-back to his ranks and has identified the 23-year-old Davies as a viable option (h/t Derby Telegraph).

A graduate of the Preston North End academy, Davies made his first-team debut for the Lilywhites in a League One fixture at the age of 17. Since then, he has served loan spells away at York City, Tranmere Rovers, Southport FC, Newport County and Fleetwood Town.

He featured 35 times for the Lilywhites last season, establishing himself as an integral part of the team. So far, the 23-year-old has made 56 appearances for the Preston senior team, scoring a goal in the process. In the 2018/19 term, Davies has featured in 8 Championship games for Alex Neil’s side, who are currently sitting at the bottom of the table with just 5 points in 9 games.

Derby, on the other hand, find themselves pushing for promotion as they sit sixth on the table. Under Lampard, the Rams have made a solid start to the season and must aim to build on it. And to that end, bringing in a new centre-back in the January window would be a good move.

The club have Curtis Davies, Richard Keogh and Alex Pearce as options in the centre-back position, along with on-loan Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori. However, captain Curtis Davies is currently sidelined with an injury. Given that he is already 33 and Keogh is 32, adding young blood to the heart of the backline makes sense for the Pride Park outfit.

The case for a new defensive recruit becomes stronger when one considers the fact that Lampard seems to not rate Pearce highly. The 29-year-old has made just one first-team appearance this term, with the manager often utilizing the young Tomori ahead of him since Davies’ injury.

And this is where signing Ben Davies from Preston could prove to be useful for the Rams. Despite the team’s struggles, the 23-year-old has managed to shine through with some noteworthy performances this term. Meanwhile, his displays from the previous term have shown that he could go on to become a leader at the back.

Blessed with aerial strength, the Englishman is a handy presence in either penalty box during set-piece situations. Moreover, in his fledgeling career, the defender has displayed good ball-playing abilities and has demonstrated great composure at the back.

Read More: Enough is enough: This Chelsea forward should leave the club to any of these 3 destinations including Derby County

Davies has shown good promise and will only continue improving from his current level. Hence, he has the potential to be a good addition to the Derby squad should they sign him in January.

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Aston Villa

Enough is enough: This Chelsea forward should leave the club to any of these 3 destinations including Derby County



Three Championship destinations for Chelsea youngster Tammy Abraham

Tammy Abraham is currently the third choice striker for Chelsea behind Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud. Given his drop down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge, he could benefit from a loan move to get more minutes. Having sent over 30 players out on loan this summer, Abraham could also possibly head out temporarily.

Abraham enjoyed an impressive loan with Bristol City two seasons ago, scoring 26 goals in 48 appearances across all competitions. After penning a new deal at Chelsea last summer, Abraham headed out on another loan spell to struggling Swansea City. The 20-year-old scored eight goals in 39 appearances across all competitions as the Swans were relegated from the Premier League.

The England U21 returned to Chelsea and had a decent pre-season. Abraham also featured for 21 minutes in the season’s curtain-raiser Community Shield defeat against Manchester City.

The versatile youngster can play across the forward line but it looks like he will struggle to play regularly for the Blues this season.

Hence, it would be in his best interests to look for first-team action elsewhere this season. Here, we look at 3 Championship clubs that Tammy Abraham could join.

1. Aston Villa

No other team has been as heavily linked with a move for Abraham as Championship side Aston Villa. Villa must attempt to win promotion back to the Premier League this time after narrowly missing out in the previous campaign. And given his skills, Abraham could certainly help fire the club back to the top-flight.

2. Derby County

Derby County lost Matej Vydra to Burnley and have struggled ever since. In fact, the Rams have lost three back-to-back matches.

However, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard could utilize Abraham’s skill-set up front as the Pride Park side must mount a promotion challenge. Having previously enjoyed an excellent season with the Robins, landing the striker on loan would boost Derby’s options up front. A threat from indirect free-kicks with excellent finishing skills, Abraham could fill Vydra’s void.

Read More: Maurizio Sarri’s decision to offload this 23-year-old signed by Conte is an ideal situation for all parties – agreed?

3. Swansea City

Tammy Abraham spent last season on loan at Swansea City. Andre and Jordan Ayew, and Borja Baston have departed on loan and Renato Sanchez has returned to Bayern Munich. Hence, Swansea could use a forward like Abraham. The Swans must win promotion and Abraham could find himself tasked with firing the Welsh side back to the Premier League.

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Derby County

Reviewing Marcelo Bielsa’s playing system at Leeds United: A thing of beauty with ball-retention, quick counter-attacks



Image result for bielsa leeds

Tactics Talk: Marcelo Bielsa’s playing system at Leeds United – a thing of beauty

Leeds United have signalled their intent with the kind of football they are playing under the legendary Marcelo Bielsa this season. It is not the 3-3-1-3 formation which one might have expected. Instead, the Argentine has gone for a more traditional 4-1-4-1 system with high-press and passing football from the back.

If we polarize ourselves to Championship football in England, this type of play will seem a tad unusual. Even the players must have taken some time to adjust to this attractive high-speed system in pre-season. But they have seemingly managed to familiarize themselves and suffice to say, it has been a surreal ride in the first two league games.

The Peacocks almost played Derby County out of the park – and they do so far away from home. Their 4-1 win has warned every team in the Championship that they are here to win the league and get promoted to top-flight football.

Here are the two prominent things we witnessed tactically, from the first two competitive games:

High-Press, Quick ball-retention and Positioning

When we watch Marcelo Bielsa’s team, the high-press is one of the most evident traits. It was on full display against Derby, due to which Frank Lampard’s men failed to assert their authority in the game.

As shown in the above heat-map, this was the pressing and possession areas of Leeds United’s midfielders and forward players. We can see how high they were in whatever was done to the opposition. The width was maintained by Ezgjan Alioski and Pablo Hernandez, while Samuel Saiz and Mateusz Klich ran the central game by joining the attacks to press high and dropping deeper to support the defence.

The other side of the coin is how well-structured the defensive line was. The four defenders at the back were quite close to each other, which was another unique quality. Barry Douglas did venture forward from left-back but Luke Ayling wasn’t bombing ahead all the time. Instead, he took turns and analyzed the situation before making a foray up the field.


The above image depicts as to how close the Leeds defenders were throughout the game, not allowing spaces in between them. This heat-map is of the four defenders and Kalvin Phillips, who sat deep to protect the back-line.

An intriguing thing to witness here is the two orange spots in the heat-map (marked in the circle), which signals that the full-backs often cut inside in possession to create an overload in the midfield. It subsequently helps the team to stop counter-attacks even if the two central midfielders are caught high.

Quick counter-attacks

When you have the likes of Alioski, Hernandez, Saiz and striker Kemar Roofe in the ranks, counter-attacking football becomes a joy to watch. Under Bielsa, that quartet along with Klich, have been just superb not only in possession but also without it. Concurrently, they have also been creating spaces to launch a counter.

Read More: 2 signings Leeds United desperately need to complete before deadline including Reading star

One of their goals against Derby was just due to simple passing from the back with accuracy, while the opposition was attacking. The fast-paced interchange of passes allowed them to get past the attack-recovery press and work on spaces in between the lines. Once the initial part was done, the latter was just a formality remaining to be completed.

Heat-maps via

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21 goals from last season – Why Burnley’s latest signing makes perfect sense



Why signing Matej Vydra from Derby County is a fantastic move for Burnley

According to reports from BBC, Premier League club Burnley have signed Derby County’s Czech Republic striker Matej Vydra, a top-scoring striker in the Championship last season. The 26-year-old has signed a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee, and there is an option to increase the time-length of the contract by a year.

Burnley, under Sean Dyche, have been different gravy since the past season. They finished seventh and are now on the cusp of playing Europa League football this year. So, building a good squad to challenge on all fronts is the initial challenge, which the Clarets are doing diligently.

Vydra’s addition would undoubtedly increase their goal tally and turn them into a dangerous prospect for any opponent they face.

Here’s why Vydra arriving at Burnley is a great move for the club, as well as the player:

Vydra suits Burnley’s system

Dyche plays a rigid 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 system with a lower-block defensive line and often hitting teams on the counter-attack. Burnley create most of their goalscoring chances either on the break or from set-pieces. Hence, now that Vydra is in the picture, Burnley have a striker who has the pace to run in behind a defence and stretch the game at every instance possible.

Furthermore, Vydra is a fantastic striker who is lethal in front of the goal and possesses the pace to stretch the opposition defence. The Czech scored 21 goals from 42 Championship appearances last season and was an integral cog of Derby County’s wheel.

Arriving at Burnley, it will be his chance to return to the Premier League after failing to feature much with Watford during 2016/17. The 26-year-old has the required qualities to be a hit under Dyche, and get some sort of redemption by scoring goals in the English top-flight.


Burnley have some good strikers in their ranks but in Vydra, they now possess greater goal-threat and pace in behind. The Clarets have done fantastic business by getting this deal across the line.

Read More: Go for it Burnley: This versatile Championship midfielder could give Dyche a new dimension in the middle of the park

For the 26-year-old too, it will be a solid opportunity to showcase his prowess worldwide and get recognized as one of the most ruthless finishers in English football. His two underwhelming Premier League spells with Watford and West Brom must drive him to prove everyone wrong.

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