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Valerien Ismael delivers verdict on Derby County ahead of West Brom clash amid reverse fixture claim

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West Bromwich Albion boss Valerien Ismael believes his side could have won ‘five or six nil’ against Derby County at The Hawthorns earlier in the season, but paid respect to Derby County for doing a ‘really good job’ in their current circumstances as he spoke to the Baggies’ media team.

The two teams met back in mid-September, with the Rams performing above expectations considering the impact their strict transfer embargo had on their incoming business during the summer window.

But they were clear underdogs coming into this one against a West Brom side that had gone unbeaten in their opening six league games of the 2021/22 campaign, winning 14 points from a possible 18 and were sitting at the top of the table coming into this tie.

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Jonathan Bond?

However, they failed to convert any of their golden chances during the game and that consigned them to a disappointing 0-0 home draw, which has summed up their entire campaign thus far in a season filled with frustration at some stages.

Since that meeting, next Monday’s home side Derby have entered administration and received two separate sanctions leading to a deduction of 21 points in total, punishments that look set to relegate Wayne Rooney’s men to League One unless they can pull off a major shock.

Because of these deductions, they currently sit 17 points adrift of safety at the bottom of the division and many have given the East Midlands side no chance of staying in the second tier beyond next May.

One man that’s aware of Derby’s capabilities though is Albion boss Ismael, who said of his side’s upcoming opponents: “Derby are a good team. I think when you consider everything that has happened there so far this season, they have done a really good job.

“This Derby team has nothing to lose because everyone expects them to drop into League One.

“They have got some really good results so far this season, but we have to concentrate on ourselves.

“If you look at the game against them earlier this season, we could have won about five or six nil.

“We are expecting a difficult game, but we believe we have the solutions to get three points.”

The Verdict:

This will be a tense tie for both sides, especially for Ismael’s side who will be desperate to start turning draws into wins again.

They looked to be on the right tracks after recent victories against Coventry City and Reading, but last Friday’s tie against Barnsley has almost placed them back at square one after missing so many opportunities, though the fact Fulham and AFC Bournemouth failed to win in their respective games will be a saving grace for them.

But their draw at Oakwell did have consequences, with Blackburn taking third spot and currently looking like the team most likely to break into the automatic promotion spots, having a regular goalscorer in Ben Brereton Diaz that West Brom don’t have at the moment. Karlan Grant probably comes closest to claiming that tag.

However, the pressure will also be on Derby after having extra time off due to a Covid-19 outbreak in their camp, desperately needing to build on their 1-0 victory against Blackpool earlier in the month to give themselves any chance to surviving.

People are expecting them to go down though, so that slight release of pressure could prove to be crucial when the two sides meet.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Valerien Ismael delivers verdict on Derby County ahead of West Brom clash amid reverse fixture claim

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