Derby County took on Nottingham Forest at the Pride Park Stadium in the 5th game of the 21-22 season of the EFL Championship.
Famously known as the East Midlands Derby, the match did live up to all the hype and expectations even though Forest started the game at the bottom of the table, losing all of their first 4 games. The Rams took the lead through Tom Lawrence just 10 minutes after kick-off and after a very tight game all through, Forest equalized when left-back Bong found Brennan Johnson on the ride side of the box.
The game was very evenly poised, with the Rams taking 51% possession and obtaining an xG of 1.61. The Reds had an xG of 1.11 and took 13 shots on goal, out of which 5 were on target. Derby took 14 but had only 4 on target. This was a very improved performance from Forest, who earned their first point of the season. Chris Hughton’s side need to put in more performances like this if they want to better the 17th position from last season.
Derby moved up to 15th and to 6 points and this was Derby’s first win of the season.
The expected threat (xT) timeline above shows clearly that this game was played at very high intensity.
Both teams were posing threat and increasing their xT throughout the match with their passing, dribbling and attacking. The xG timeline, on the other hand, shows that the Rams created more xG(expected goals) in the first half, and even created a decent xG in the second while Forest did not have a very high xG in the first half, but they improved and got into many more goal scoring positions in the second half.
The East Midlands Derby was a thrilling encounter, where both teams had come out to score goals and win the match. Both the team refused to sit back and absorb the constant pressure they were facing.
Derby County currently have the least touches in the opposition’s box(53) in the entire Championship division but they were looking confident and motivated in the East Midlands Derby. Forest too never looked like they were at the bottom of the league even though the second lowest xG in the entire championship(3.68), which is only higher than Swansea City(2.54). Derby County(4.83) do not have a great xG but they have been able to dig out draws in 3 games so far.
The performance of both teams showed that if they want to survive this season, they need to play every game like it’s the East Midlands Derby.