Written by By Sophie O’Brien, CNN
The teething problems that beset Chelsea’s recent Champions League encounter against Barcelona are unlikely to trouble Derby in the second leg of their League Cup tie this week.
Bournemouth extended a fantastic week for the midlands club, beating Arsenal 2-1 on Tuesday night. But in a game of few clear-cut chances, Derby must look to two inspired saves from goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak to book their place in the next round.
That’s particularly important given they will face off against Leicester City next in their league campaign.
Derby have also been boosted by the return of winger Will Hughes. The midfielder, who missed Wednesday’s victory over the Gunners due to a suspension, scored two assists in Derby’s impressive win over Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship play-off final last month.
So, can Derby avoid the same fate as Hull, who were beaten by Chelsea earlier this week and lost the league to the Stamford Bridge club in March?
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Away from the small ball
Derby’s former chairman John Reid said they approached their round two tie “seriously” by planning to play with a largely orthodox style, including the use of a two-man defensive line and a typically “four at the back” approach.
Laurent Depoitre celebrates scoring the fourth goal for Derby against Arsenal. Credit: Christopher Lee
Derby midfielder Christopher Samba said they hoped to play “with aggression” by disrupting the Leeds attack by “cutting them open with good organisation and [the] speed of the players.”
Derby will take on Leeds without the suspended back Allan Nyom, who was the only one of the side who finished last season with the defensive industry to cause Leeds problems.
On Tuesday, Chelsea suffered a rare defeat at the hands of Barcelona when goals from Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho handed the La Liga side a shock 1-0 victory.
But unlike their opponents, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte insisted this week’s defeat is not a major concern.
Sami Hyypia, a former Derby player, admitted that he was excited to see how the team plays with Hughes.
Pundits are also praising the return of Sami Hyypia, the club’s technical director and former Liverpool defender.
British MP Chuka Umunna praised the club’s continued investment in players.
“Derby have made a habit out of signing good players who can keep them in the game but when push comes to shove, sometimes they can go backwards,” he told Sky Sports in October.
“The good thing for Derby is they’ve invested in their academy, not throwing money around, having a structure that puts players there, so when it comes to the pitch they’re a very, very strong, very strong team.”
Although the game doesn’t appear to be of the biggest footballing interest, the Football League — the national club league with the lowest level of professional football — has some competitive football on its hands this season.
Get together the entire UK via easy watch. Watch the Championship on 10 TV channels and live on the GO NOW app
The three Championship games taking place this weekend are the League Cup second round matches.
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Read on for how you can watch all this and more on your phone, tablet or computer.
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Football fans who can’t manage the time difference can watch all the action live streaming from 3pm local time on BBC and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra on the official BBC website.
Speaking about the game, BBC Sports Director, Adrian Chiles told the BBC Sport website: “We’re really looking forward to getting back to covering the football again.”
“Derby County have proven this season they are a consistently strong team. The last time Leeds were in the Premier League in 2002, they were knocked out by Derby County,” he added.