It has been a season to forget for Derby County. Riddled by bad luck, the club went into administration in September and after a relatively good start to the EFL Championship saw themselves go to rock bottom being stripped of all their points.
Currently, they are in 24th position in the table and have not won any of their last four games with all consecutive draws. Wayne Rooney’s men have had serious problems while going forward in attack but their strong defensive unit had masked that weakness for some time.
The draws during the start of the season put the Rams in a mid-table position where they could have shaken off a relegation scare, but now with all points stripped off, Derby find an uphill battle in front of them to get back into the top.
Taking one point from the games won’t certainly help their cause as they need to win matches now when it is most important to balance the deficit, their attacking problems have become as bright as sunlight and with their defence leaking goals which are not being outshone at the top, it has created a huge mess for them.
As the stats never lie, we look at a few to find out the exact problems at the top.
Derby have the fourth lowest xG metric in the league of 13.40. This shows the lack of good positioning sense from their forwards, they have failed to get into good areas on the pitch from where they can guarantee goals. Even with such a low xG, the Rams have underperformed here as well with just 10 goals in 14 matches, the second-lowest in the league.
They record even less than one goal per 90 with 0.88 which is alarming. Fulham have conceded more than Derby this season but they have made up off for scoring most goals in the league. With such a good defence to back them up, the Rams have failed to capitulate on that too.
Another huge factor for this debacle is the inability to get inside the opposition penalty area. Wayne Rooney and his men have the lowest number of touches in the opposition box with 149. Less than 10 touches per 90 while wanting to score is definitely not helpful. Naturally, the failure to enter into the opposition area has clearly hampered their chances.
Even after failing to enter the penalty box, Derby have 44 shots on target. It is extremely low from the league perspective but keeping their deficiencies in mind it is slightly impressive. But again with only 10 goals from 44 shots, the conversion rate is just bizarre. This is naturally a combination of the failure to get into good positions inside the area where it has been too easy for the keepers to beat out their shots.
The above image is from the away game at Sheffield United on matchday 9 which Derby lost 1-0. From nine shots attempted, five of them have been in the keeper’s gloves while the four others blasted wide. They failed to find the back of the net from as near as the six-yard box, which accounts for awful finishing from their part.
This image is from their home match against Swansea City on matchday 11 that ended in a 0-0 draw. Five shots and five saves for the keeper. Even from inside the box, the best Derby’ forwards could do was find the keeper let alone the shots from distance.
Derby County’ problems in the attacking third has not been the inability to create chances but poorer than poor finishing. The chances created have not been taken advantage of at all due to bad positioning.
They have scored thrice in their last two matches but their usually strong defence has let in three precious goals for the matches to end up in draws again. Things have just not got right for the Rams and luck has clearly not favoured them. Somewhere or the other things have gone downhill.
To survive and stay in the EFL Championship this season, Derby has to get back to scoring and winning ways at any cost and with the January transfer window approaching soon, the best way out would to sign a striker with better positioning sense and finishing abilities, maybe on loan for the time being.