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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Frank Lampard's Derby must improve despite opening win

Five things we learned

Derby boss Frank Lampard
1 of 1

1 Rams tactics need tinkering
The EFL season opened with Derby beating Reading 2-1 on Friday and, while the result will have pleased novice boss Frank Lampard, his side's performance left a lot to be desired despite Tom Lawrence nicking the game with virtually the last touch of the match.

Lampard's gameplan was clear. He wanted to keep possession with short passes, push the full-backs high and generally use an approach that is becoming the default for the majority of modern managers.

It worked well in pre-season, but that may have led to a false sense of security as opposition teams don't tend to press with much intensity during practice matches.

Reading did it when it mattered and Rams centre-backs Richard Keogh and Curtis Davies looked totally unsuited to playing out from the back.

Maybe Derby will improve once midfielder Tom Huddlestone is fit to dictate from deep. Otherwise Lampard will need new centre-backs or to find a different way of playing.

They could quite easily have lost to Reading and possibly would have done but for a goalkeeping error which brought them fortuitously level against a side who were fighting against relegation last season. 

2 Football is a universal language for Barnsley
Daniel Stendel left the post-match press duties to others as the German still struggles to get a grasp of the English language but his Barnsley side let their football do the talking in a 4-0 Sky Bet League One romp over Oxford.

Stendel was known for playing attacking football at his previous club, Hannover, and his Barnsley boys smashed in 12 shots on target against opponents who were totally outclassed. 

The most impressive part of Barnsley's four goals was the fact that star strikers Tom Bradshaw and Kieffer Moore both failed to notch, highlighting the firepower the Tykes have.

3 Luton unlucky at Portsmouth
Pompey News reporter Jordan Cross wrote "Luton will be left thinking they have been on the receiving end of a robbery" following their 1-0 defeat at Fratton Park with the Hatters putting in a performance their manager Nathan Jones called "outstanding."

Luton hit the inside of the post and the underside of the bar but they can be proud of their show, which suggests the promoted side will be highly competitive in Sky Bet League One, particularly when top goalscorer Danny Hylton returns from suspension.

Hylton is back for the clash with Sunderland on Saturday and that game already looks like a battle between a couple of potential top-six outfits.

4 Changes haven't hindered Crawley
Josh Yorwerth and Enzio Boldewijn departed Crawley this summer and it looked as if replacing those two influential performers would be difficult for Harry Kewell.

However, Town deserved their 1-0 League Two win at Cheltenham despite the hosts missing a second-half penalty and two of Kewell's new signings delivered for the Red Devils as assist king Filipe Morais's corner was headed home by Ollie Palmer.

It was not that long ago that Morais was playing a crucial role in helping Bolton gain promotion from League One, so he should be hugely important for Crawley at a lower level. 

5 New strikers but the same Notts County
Notts County's shot data hinted they were not as strong as the League Two table suggested hen finishing fifth last season and once again the Magpies struggled for creativity in a 0-0 home draw with Colchester.

Kevin Nolan has been given the funds to bring in Boldewijn, Kane Hemmings and Kristian Dennis among others this summer, but they forced just two shots on target in the stalemate.

Nolan needs to find more attacking intent if Notts are to live up to their billing as ante-post favourites.


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Barnsley smashed in 12 shots on target against opponents who were totally outclassed
E.W. Terms
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