Five reasons Dundee can do over the Dons at Dens

Dundee vice captain Cammy Kerr chases Ryan Christie at Pittodrie last time out.

A few weeks back most Dundee fans would wince at the prospect of facing Aberdeen at Dens Park.

With the 7-0 thrashing from last season still clear in the memories of many Dark Blues supporters, you would be forgiven for struggling to find many reasons to be cheerful ahead of Friday’s Premiership clash.

However, after two wins and seven points from their last three league outings, the Dee are rejuvenated with the Dandies struggling.

The Tele has found, not one, but five causes for optimism ahead of Dundee facing the Dons.

Dundee were gubbed 7-0 the last time Aberdeen visited Dens

Derek McInnes

Since Rangers sacked Pedro Caixinha some six weeks ago, the speculation linking the Aberdeen boss with the top job at Ibrox has failed to go away.

Derek McInnes’ future remains in doubt

With an announcement regarding his future expected this week it can only be good news for Dundee, regardless of whether he stays or goes.

The turning rumour mill has clearly distracted both McInnes and his players in recent weeks, creating turmoil in the north east.

Form

© David Young
Faissal El Bahktaoui scored the decisive goal in the win over Ross County

Where Aberdeen have failed to beat the Gers in their last two league outings, Dundee have succeeded.

Neil McCann’s men followed the 2-1 Rangers win nearly two weeks ago with a comfortable 2-0 victory at Ross County last weekend.

Along with two losses at the hands of the Light Blues, Aberdeen have fallen to Motherwell and drew with Hamilton Accies since November began.

Dundee have performed better at home than away from Dens Park this season and will be aiming to keep up that trend.

Defence

The Dundee defence battled to keep a clean sheet at Ross County.

The Dark Blues have managed to keep two clean sheets in their last three, one more than they had all season previously.

Elliott Parish has been solid since replacing the frozen-out Scott Bain in the Dee goal, making the position his to lose.

In central-defence, McCann seems to have stopped tinkering and found an ideal partnership of grit and guile in Josh Meekings and Jack Hendry, with Cammy Kerr joining them in a back-three. They seem focused on keeping the ball out of the net.

Attack

This stability at the back has allowed the rest of the side to venture forward with more danger.

Wing-backs Jon Aurtenetxe and Mark O’Hara have been potent with assists and goals respectively.

O’Hara has netted three in his last two games and, by all accounts, is absolutely firing in training.

As much as Dundee are getting goals from other areas, it seems the strikers may start getting more involved in the scoring once again.

Faissal El Bahktaoui got his side’s second against Ross County on Saturday, his first since netting the opener away to Kilmarnock way back in September. Sofien Moussa has also looked sharper.

Formation

The improved performance at both ends of the park has been facilitated by a tactical change from the Dundee management team, which could help undo the Dons.

Saturday’s 2-0 win in Dingwall saw the Dark Blues trial a 3-4-3 shape to great effect.

At the top end of the park they were particularly effective with Moussa, El Bakhtaoui and Roarie Deacon giving the County defence constant problems, especially when joined by a bombarding O’Hara.

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