The long wait is over and the English domestic season is almost back with us. Kicking off this year’s Championship season is the intriguing tie of Sunderland versus Derby County. The Black Cats fell from the Premier League without much of a fight last year, but will no doubt fancy their chances on popping straight back up to the top tier. Derby County know how difficult it can be to get out of this division though. They have experienced Premier League football, but haven’t been able to crack the Championship code in recent times.
Both sides will be keen to lay down a marker and show what they have got to their fans and opposition alike.
The Black Cats were largely disappointing last season and they fell out of the Premier League without a fight. They have no good form going into this game, losing five of the last six games they have played.
They haven’t just been losing, they have been losing heavily too. To go with that low confidence, they have also lost several of their star names. Jermaine Defoe was the one silver lining on the big black card that was their 2016/17 season. However, he has moved onto pastures anew and is now the star man at Bournemouth. Sunderland has also lost Fabio Borini and many of their other better performers will be hoping to get a move back to the Premier League before the transfer market closed.
Derby County form
Derby had a solid, if unspectacular season last year. They finished ninth and were denied a play-off spot. In truth, they never really looked better than a mid-table side though. They were 13 points away from the play-offs in the end.
Their last three competitive games of one loss, one win and one draw is the perfect representation of Derby as a team; no consistency. They may win a game and look fantastic, but they may also lose a match that they are fancied for.
Derby County manager, Gary Rowett, has ruled out a move for Ross McCormack and that is their problem as a whole. They are not good enough going forward to win promotion, so they will have to improve to compete.
Sunderland aren’t without their own problems going forward. The aforementioned Defoe and Borini would have been excellent Championship level strikers, but both have gone to pastures anew.
Are we going to get a Sunderland team that is low on confidence after their horrible season, or are we going to get a side ready for this new challenge? That’s the key question and that will be at the heart of who is going to win this game.
Derby will be looking at this league season as a key opportunity to get out of the Championship and compete at a higher level. They have a fantastic manager in Rowett and he may be able to guide them to that promised land.
The draw is priced at 12/5 with Ladbrokes and we think that is the most likely result here. We think that is the chance and that is how it’s going to be in our opinion.