Derby 5-0 Hull Six Things: rampant Rams

Nugent and Vydra – perfect combo?

Braces from Matej Vydra and Bradley Johnson sandwiched a Curtis Davies header as Derby ran riot with a 5-0 victory over Hull City. Here’s six key talking points from this hugely impressive victory for the Rams.

Derby’s organization

It was clear from the outset that Gary Rowett had drilled into his players what he wanted from them and every player instinctively knew their roles. Wide men Tom Lawrence and Andreas Weimann dropped back out of possession, meaning Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki had to cut into wide areas, where they were less effective. Whenever Hull won the ball in a half-dangerous area, the hosts would get numbers back quickly and block shots with ruthless determination. Tom Huddlestone and Bradley Johnson did so superbly and imposed their physicality, Richard Keogh was commanding at centre-back while partner Curtis Davies was dominant in the air.

Keeper mind-games

Matej Vydra won a 15th minute free-kick after being tripped by Ola Aina and the forward converted it. Allan McGregor left much of his near post open but when he took a step to his right, Vydra’s firm, controlled shot was already on its way to his left. 10 minutes later, when Aina was tripped by Lawrence in the box, Sebastien Larsson had the chance from the spot and Scott Carson employed similar tactics to McGregor. He stood close towards the left post to create indecision in the mind of Larsson, who aimed for the other corner but sent his penalty over the bar.

Clever Derby

That penalty miss meant Derby could play the remainder of the match the way they wanted. They did not attack in a proactive sense, but instead waited for Hull to press erratically and then played neat, one-touch football through the gaps. Their 33rd minute second goal was the classic example: Jarrod Bowen’s press was not followed up by Markus Henriksen and Larsson, thus giving Johnson the avenue to find David Nugent. The experienced striker combined sharply with Tom Lawrence before laying the ball off for Vydra to hammer home his second goal inside the near post.

The 12-minute blitz

Derby then tore their visitors apart from set pieces. Curtis Davies found himself inexplicably unmarked from a right-sided corner and simply headed inside the far post. Vydra was denied a hat-trick from close-range by Allan McGregor, but the resultant corner led to a wonderful cross from Lawrence, who picked out Johnson for a simple finish at the far-post. Rowett had said beforehand that he wanted his side to show more composure in front of goal – he got that from his players in abundance.

Muddled Hull

Perhaps it was down to a lack of drive, perhaps it was down to four changes from the previous 4-0 win over Bolton, but Leonid Slutsky’s side looked confused on the field. Michael Hector tried to carry the ball out when Markus Henriksen dropped back, but with Nouha Dicko coming short for the ball and Jon Toral anonymous, there was nobody making runs to stretch play and so the tempo was slow. The contrast between the teams was best summed up by the fifth goal, when Hector was cornered by the tireless Weimann. No Hull player offered themselves to help the centre-back while Nugent at 32, sprinted to the ball to close him down, forcing him to give the ball away to Johnson, who thumped the ball into the bottom left-hand corner from range.

In summary

Heavy wins over Burton and Bolton provide some encouragement for Hull, but tonight’s performance raises serious questions over their credentials against higher-quality opposition. Derby meanwhile, looked a complete side: they were defensively diligent, capable of playing tidy football at the right moments and ruthless in the final third. If they can repeat this type of performance more consistently, they will be feared by every other side in the Championship.