Tom Hancock takes an alternative look at the visit of Derby County to Adams Park for Tuesday's crunch Championship clash.
3.8: Fouls won by Uche Ikpeazu per 90 minutes (data from WhoScored.com)
Big Uche won six fouls in Saturday’s dramatic turnaround at Huddersfield, more than twice as many as other player on the pitch. They included the one for Joe Jacobson’s equalising penalty, of course, the second spot-kick Wanderers’ number nine has won in all competitions. He’s the third-most fouled player in the Championship and the most fouled striker in the top four divisions*.
The flip side of that is that he commits a Championship-high 4.8 fouls per 90*. Then again, it’s better that your centre-forward does that than your centre-back (and it’s just par for the course when you’re that much of a unit, as we well know…). We can’t complain on the whole anyway; the benefits by far outweigh the drawbacks.
*of players who’ve played 450 minutes or more (i.e. the equivalent of five full games)
1.25: The average league winning margin of the two teams combined
That’s 1.5 for Derby and, of course, one for Wycombe – who haven’t won a league game by more than a single goal since the 4-1 trouncing of Fleetwood in the first leg of the play-off semi-final. Until Saturday’s 2-1 win over Middlesbrough, Derby had gone six straight matches without scoring more than once, something they’ve only managed three times all season – and only once on the road, when they swept aside Birmingham 4-0 at the end of December.
It’s fair to expect a tight affair between the division’s joint second-lowest and outright lowest scorers, who’ve managed only 40 goals (only 18 of which have come from open play) between them this season.
4: Wycombe and Derby players older than Wayne Rooney
I’m sure we were all rather excited about the prospect of England and Manchester United’s all-time record goalscorer going toe-to-toe with Curtis Thompson down at Adams Park when the fixtures came out. That dream evaporated once and for all last month, though, when ‘Wazza’ officially hung up his boots as he was appointed Derby manager on a permanent basis (although he hadn’t played since a 3-0 defeat at Middlesbrough in November, the Rams’ last game before our first ever meeting).
Anyway, having only just turned 35, Rooney is the fourth youngest boss in the top four tiers. He’s seven months younger than two of his players – Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall and experienced centre-back Curtis Davies – and even more junior than two men his team could come up against on Tuesday night: Matt Bloomfield, who’s just celebrated his 37th birthday and 17 years at Wycombe, and Adebayo Akinfenwa, who turns 39 two days after the end of the season. Age is just a number, though, as the five-time Premier League winner first proved with that goal against Arsenal – which was almost 18-and-a-half years ago. Feel old yet?