Bristol City got back to winning ways last night as they survived a late scare to beat Derby County 3-2 at Ashton Gate.
The Rams looked in control in the early stages but Lee Johnson’s men grew into the game and took the lead after 38 minutes through Nahki Wells.
The January signing grabbed his first goal for the club, nodding in Jay Dasilva’s impressive pull back.
Another man making his starting debut, Filip Benkovic added the second six minutes later, nodding in from close range.
The Robins extended their lead further just after half time when Famara Diedhiou smashed in a third from inside the six-yard box.
Derby were not done, however, with Martyn Waghorn and Chris Martin helping them close the gap late on.
The Rams pushed hard for an equaliser in the closing minutes but City held on to claim their sixth win in their last seven Championship games.
They travel to Elland Road to face Leeds United on Saturday but before the emphasis switches to that game, here are three things we learnt from last night’s victory…
The new boys are settling in fine
There were a few concerning signs in the 3-1 loss to Birmingham City on Friday, as Wells struggled to have an impact and Benkovic was at fault for the third goal.
However, all three of City’s January signings started against the Rams and played key roles in securing the three points.
The Robins left it late to get their business done in the transfer window but it looks like they’ve made some shrewd acquisitions and last night’s game indicated the new boys are settling in fine.
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The addition of Markus Henriksen could prove vital
The other two signings may have found the net but Henriksen was the most impressive of the Robins’ January trio last night.
The central midfielder was named man of the match after an impressive debut, in which he showed his physicality, dynamism, and ability to dictate play.
The Robins have missed those characteristics in midfield since Josh Brownhill’s exit, and Marlon Pack’s before him.
Henriksen’s performance last night hinted that he could have an absolutely vital role to play in the run-in.
Johnson may have found the right formula
Heading into the game, there was a slight concern that the Robins boss did not know who his best side were and how to get all his key men on the pitch together.
He looks to have solved that by reverting to a classic 4-4-2 last night.
The Korey Smith/Henriksen partnership in central midfield helped keep them balanced while allowing Johnson to ensure Diedhiou, Wells, Niclas Eliasson, and Jamie Paterson could all start.
It will be very interesting to see if Johnson shifts back to a 4-1-4-1 away at Elland Road on Saturday.
City have looked at their most dangerous when opponents dominate possession and they’re able to break quickly, they should get exactly that opportunity against the Whites on Saturday and the 4-4-2 could help them punish Marcelo Bielsa’s men.