Derby County host Brighton at Pride Park Stadium in the first round of the Sky Bet Championship.
Derby County were among title contenders last season as they took 5th spot, earned 78 points with 66:43 goal difference and proceeded to the playoffs. Let’s recall the Rams were beaten by Hull City (2:3 on agg.) in the semifinal. During their preseason the hosts played 6 matches as they recorded 4 wins: over Walsall, Karlsruhe (2:0 both), Chesterfield (2:1) and Sheffield United (1:0). We should also mention they lost 2 friendlies to Setubal (0:1) and Benfica (0:4). They start new season with a goal to return to the English football elite.
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Brighton had very impressive run at the end of previous season as they remained unbeaten in 14 games straight. This way they took 3rd spot in the league tables, earned 89 points with 72:42 goal difference. Remarkably, they lost to Middlesbrough in the race for the automatic promotion by additional stats. It seemed they simply ran out of steam in the playoffs as they lost to Sheffield Wednesday (1:3 on agg.). This summer the Seagulls played 6 friendlies recording 2 wins and 4 losses with 9:7 goal difference.
Last season two teams were tied in both of their encounters in the league. However, we expect the hosts to win today. Despite the fact it’s always hard to evaluate team’s performance prior to the start of the season, Derby County just seem to be more prepared for the upcoming battle.
Prediction for the match: Derby County to win with 0 handicap.