Championship play-off final betting preview

Yes, it’s cliche, but the play-off final is truly the “richest game in football” with the victor securing a lucrative spot in the Premier League. With so much at stake, play-off final betting appeals to football fans worldwide, and we’ll explore some options below.

Wembley stadium is the battleground for the two teams fighting to make it into the Premier League fold this Tuesday. A west London affair, the Championship play-off final will pit Brentford against Fulham. As the last domestic English fixture before the restart of the Champions League, eyes up and down the country will be firmly fixed on this last-ditch effort for promotion.

Join us as we get into the nitty-gritty of this fixture and provide you with some exciting Championship play-off betting options for this 4 August final.

Brentford

After 46 gruelling games, a record of 24 wins, nine draws, and 13 losses throughout the 19/20 EFL Championship, Brentford finished the season in third place. With a tally of 81 points – equal with their final play-off opponents Fulham – the Bees finished well ahead of their semi-final rivals.

As a side very much on the up, Brentford breezed past Swansea in the play-off semi-final, beating them twice over two legs, 1-0 away and 3-1 at home. With the club looking like it has secured the pieces it needs for future success, including a new Brentford Community Stadium, the turn of the decade could signal a new era for the Bees. One which may include Premier League football for the first time in their history.

In order to reach the promised land of top-flight football, they must overcome a strong Fulham side, experienced in play-off qualification and well-versed with reaching the top-tier of English football. Brentford fans will have a lot of confidence going into their Tuesday fixture knowing that their side achieved two victories over the Cottagers this season, without conceding a single goal.

Manager Thomas Frank will hope to once again turn Fulham’s game plan on itself, employing the help of his lead striker Ollie Watkins. Looking to secure his 27th goal for his side, the English striker is at 7/5 (2.40) to be an anytime goalscorer come 4 August.

Fulham

After being dragged down to the Championship depths following a miserable 18/19 Premier League campaign, Fulham have steadied the ship and maintained course amongst the promotional mix for the duration of the season.

Keeping hold of key players like Aleksander Mitrovic and Tom Cairney, while adding substantial additions such as Anthony Knockaert, has played a crucial role, enabling the Cottagers to win plaudits for playing some great football.  Now on the verge of redemption, Fulham face a Brentford team against which they have failed to score a single goal in their previous two meetings.

Bouncing back into the Premier League has huge ramifications for any club, both in terms of finance and club stature, but for a club like Fulham, it arguably means more. Having established themselves as a Premier League club at the turn of the millennium, Fulham have become somewhat of a yo-yo club in recent years. This fixture represents a chance to get back to where their fans feel they belong.

Attention will be heavily focussed on Aleksandar Mitrovic to score the Fulham’s first goal of the season against their opponents, with his chances of banging in a goal calculated at 19/10 (2.90).

BRENTFORD VS FULHAM: CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY-OFF FINAL BETTING ODDS

Brentford are favourites to secure the final place into the Premier League at 16/15 (2.07) to win, with Fulham measuring up at 53/20 (3.65).

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*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.

EFL Championship Season Betting Preview

The EFL Championship is arguably the toughest domestic competition across the entirety of English football. Beginning on 2nd August the season stretches all the way to the Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium on 25th May.

The EFL Championship

Make no mistake, competing week to week in the Championship is tough. If you want to excel in the league, you’re going to need to overcome a number of obstacles.

Firstly, the season is a slog. Comprising 46 league fixtures, plus additional matches for teams that make the Play-Offs, long-term fitness is key to a successful season. As is grit. The league has a real mixture of teams and playing styles, but almost every game is a battle. Especially with the sides that are newly promoted from League One.

For promotion hopefuls, big match mentality is a must. Last season, Derby finished in 6th place, nine points behind third-placed Leeds. But it was Derby who triumphed in the Play-Off semi-finals. Play-Off winners Aston Villa finished 18 points behind title winners Norwich, but it mattered not during the Play-Offs as they sealed promotion in “Football’s richest game” at Wembley.

Finally, if you want to win the title, you need quality. Because if you do make it to the promised land of the Premier League, you need to have a core of players within your squad with the ability to step up a level and keep you there.  

The contenders for the top?

LEEDS As the highest placed team from last season that remained in the league, Leeds are understandably favourites to top the table. Marcelo Bielsa’s revolution of the former giant continues unabated, with Leeds hoping to return to where they belong – the top flight of English football. Leeds were unlucky to miss out last season in the Play-Offs – they were the best team in the league on the stattos favourtie stat, XG – and will hope to secure an automatic spot this time around.

FULHAM – The Cottagers have made an immediate return to the Championship following their ‘one and done’ stint in the Premier League. Scott Parker took over managerial duties towards the end of the season and helped squeeze a couple of wins out of the side that would finish the campaign with the worst defensive record in the league. While Jean Michaël Seri and Ryan Babel have both left the club and joined Turkish side Galatasaray the club have retained start striker Aleksandar Mitrović who scored 12 goals in 17 appearances the last time the club competed at this level.

Destined for the drop?

CHARLTON – As is the way of things with promotion/relegation, the promoted sides are almost always favoured to drop back down again. In this case, Charlton are no different. Having secured their passage to the Championship via a dramatic last-minute win in the League One Play-Off final against Sunderland, The Addicks also – eventually – signed manager Lee Bowyer to a new contract. Last season’s top scorer Lyle Taylor has also re-signed, but Play-Off hero Patrick Bauer has moved to Preston.

READING – Of the non-promoted sides, The Royals look the most likely to get sucked into a relegation battle. They finished one spot above relegation, in 20th place, for the second campaign in a row and continued the trend of finishing 17th or lower in four of the past five seasons. Last season they managed back-to-back league wins just once – with those victories coming against bottom side Ipswich and Wigan who were dreadful on the road. Manager Jose Gomes has parted ways from six clubs before reaching the 17 games in charge mark. Reading have also done little business outside of signing Charlie Adam. So, all in all, it’s not looking positive.

EFL CHAMPIONSHIP BETTING ODDS

Leeds are favourites to win the title at 9/2 (5.50). Whilst the other main contenders to win the league are Fulham at 7/1 (8.00), Cardiff at 10/1 (11.00) and Stoke at 12/1 (13.00). Charlton are relegation favourites at 11/4 (3.25), closely followed by Barnsley at 5/2 (3.50), Reading at 9/4 (3.75) and QPR at 3/1 (4.00). For a top-six finish, and therefore automatic promotion or a Play-Off spot, you can back West Brom at 11/10 (2.10), Brentford at 3/2 (2.50) and last season’s losing finalists Derby at 9/4 (3.25). Aleksandar Mitrović is favourite to finish top scorer at 6/1 (7.00).  

*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.

Aston Villa vs Derby County: Championship Play-off Final Betting Preview

On Monday, Aston Villa and Derby County will bring the English Football League play-offs to a close as they battle it out in the “richest game in football” at Wembley stadium and bid for promotion to the Premier League.   

Yes, it’s cliché to focus on the financial implications of this game, but when the rewards are so, well, rewarding, it’s hard to focus on anything else! By securing promotion to the Premier League the victors will guarantee around £170m into the club coffers over the next three years. For 2019/20 they’ll earn £95m, with parachute payments in 2020/21 and 2021/22 – should they be relegated after one season – totalling an estimated £75m across two seasons. Avoid first season relegation and the amount rises to a minimum of £300m. So, yes, this game is absolutely huge!

Aston Villa

For the second successive season Aston Villa’s entire campaign comes down to a single, all or nothing, Wembley showdown. This is an unusual position for Villa to find themselves in, having spent 28 consecutive seasons in English football’s top flight prior to their Premier League relegation in 2016.

Following last year’s devastating loss to Fulham, Villa started the season poorly and manager Steve Bruce was sacked and replaced by Dean Smith. Under Smith, Villa finished the season in superb form – which included a club-record streak of 10 victories in a row – and secured a fifth-place finish. In the semi-finals, they came from behind to beat West Brom in the first leg at Villa Park 2-1, before losing the second leg 1-0. As there are no away goals in the play-offs, the match went to extra-time and then penalties, with Villa winning the shootout.

Derby County

Unlike Villa, Derby have plenty of play-off experience. Unfortunately for Derby though, this experience mostly involves defeat. Aside from a play-off final victory against West Brom in 2007, Derby have lost finals in 1994 and 2014 (to ten-man QPR), and semi-finals in 1992, 2005, 2016 and 2018! This season though, things feel a little different.

Under Frank Lampard, the Rams have become a side for the big occasion and pressure situations. They defeated West Brom on the final day of the season to finish sixth and secure a play-off spot. Having lost the opening leg of the semi-final 1-0 at home to Leeds, they then conceded the opening goal in the second leg at Elland Road. With the chips down, they fought back for a stunning comeback and a 4-2 victory that booked their place in the final.  

ASTON VILLA VS DERBY COUNTY: PLAY-OFF FINAL BETTING ODDS

Aston Villa are favourites entering the final, with odds of 6/5 (2.20) for victory against Derby County. Derby aren’t complete underdogs though and find themselves priced at 9/4 (3.25) to win the game.

Aston Villa vs Derby County: Championship Play-off Final Betting Tips

Aston Villa have been by far the better side when these teams have met this season, winning both games by an aggregate score of 7-0 and are therefore favourites to win. However, Derby have made a habit of coming up big when it matters this season and have taken games to penalty shootouts (with victories against West Brom, Southampton and Manchester United) on numerous occasions this season.

We can see Derby forcing a draw in 90 minutes at 9/4 (3.25) and the game eventually going to the lottery of penalties. At which point it’s anybody’s guess, as Villa progressed via shootout success in the semis.

*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of going to print.

Millwall Entertain Villa In Final Championship Game

Millwall will finish the season at the New Den on Sunday as they take on Aston Villa knowing they are have little or no chance of making the play offs in the last round of games in the Championship. With Aston Villa already guaranteed their play off spot Millwall will need to win huge to allow the south Londoners in with any chance of making the play off semi finals and hope the teams around them fail dismally.

Kick off is yet another strange time as the Lions find themselves in one of the early Sunday games. All teams have to play their last matches at the same time to ensure the playing field is equal for all teams and there are no advantages. So all the afternoon group of matches will kick off at 1.30pm UK time (2.30pm CET and Malta time).

For all Millwall’s great football and results in 2018 they failed at the last hurdle last weekend when playing their play off rivals Middlesbrough they were soundly beaten 2-0 in a match sadly that saw a number of crowd disturbances.

Having lost to a clinical Fulham ended Millwall’s 17 game unbeaten Championship league run to dent the Lions’ Championship play off bid the previous week Middlesbrough were on hand to put the final nail in the coffin of Millwall’s fragile hopes of providing an extraordinary season for the Lions. Millwall if truth be told never really got going in the match as the home team attacked with patience and a decent formation. As Millwall will look back at picking up one point only from their last 3 games it mustn’t be forgotten that the turnaround in the teams fortunes from the end of December 2017 has been outstanding.

The visitors from the capitol knew that nothing less than a victory against the 5th placed team would do but Millwall were strangely tame. Like a spud gun that ran out of potatoes. The excellent Britt Assombalonga showed good composure to fire the hosts in front before the break and then Millwall were at sixes and sevens as a defensive cock up between Lions goalkeeper Jordan Archer and defender Jake Cooper allowed Jonny Howson to easily slot in a second.

Defeat means Millwall’s top six hopes now rely on them beating Aston Villa by a cricket score and Preston not winning and Derby being defeated by a pretty heavy margin. Let’s face it, it’s been a brilliant season in retrospect for the Lions but they are not going to make the play offs.

Unfortunately the game was marred at full time when dozens of home supporters ran onto the pitch and started goading Millwall fans in the away end. Plastic bottles were thrown by both sets of fans as stewards tried to avoid confrontation and it took about 10 minutes for police to restore order as the two groups tried to get at each other.

Sunday’s fixtures for the two teams is almost irrelevant for both teams with Millwall out of play off contention and the Midlanders Villa already sure of a secured 4th spot and a potential match most probably against Middlesbrough who are 3 points clear of Derby County and with a better goal difference in 5th.

So although In the corresponding Millwall v Aston Villa game up in the Midlands on the 9th of December Millwall grabbed a decent point off Steve Bruce’s men in a less than entertaining 0-0 draw Millwall produced a lot of bottle and put in the hard work.

On Saturday, Cardiff’s win at Hull ended Villa’s hopes of automatic promotion but Lewis Grabban fired in from close range with 6 minutes to play to earn Villa a point. It will remain to be seen if Bruce rests players ahead of the forthcoming play off confrontations which it is likely he will to avoid injuries so Millwall could be set up for a victory here.

If you fancy a punt on Millwall for the final game of the campaign then you can have a wager at this link.

With Millwall great with their early goals a £20 bet on a Millwall to lead at half time and win the game at 3.25 brings in possible winnings of £65.

Another intriguing wager is less than two goals in the game at odds of 2.60 so if you place £15 you can possibly win £39.00.

 

Millwall Travel to North East in Must Win Game

Millwall will travel up to the North East on Saturday as they take on Middlesbrough in another huge weekend game in the Championship. With both teams looking for a play off spot they both know this is a must win game for Millwall to keep the south Londoners in with any chance of making the play off semi finals.

Kick off is another strange time as the Lions find themselves in a late Saturday match on TV from 17.30pm UK time (18.30pm CET and Malta time).

Millwall came a cropper at the last weekend when playing on the Friday night match again for TV. They were stuffed with aplomb by a raging Fulham outfit in pristine form in 3rd place looking for one of the two automatic promotion positions. Lions were undone 3-0 by their London neighbours in a derby game that showed just why Fulham are doing so well as of late.

A cynically clinical Fulham ended Millwall’s 17 game unbeaten Championship league run to dent the Lions’ Championship play-off bid. Millwall were the better of the two teams in the first half but couldn’t score that crucial first goal to settle the tense atmosphere of the home fans at the New Den in front a tremendous 17,614 attendance. Jake Cooper’s header was touched on to the bar and George Saville’s effort was disallowed because of an earlier foul.

The second half belonged to Fulham from the off as the Millwall defence fell asleep to allow 17 year old rising star Ryan Sessegnon to notch just after the restart. Trust me this guy is going to be a huge star. A Kevin McDonald’s screamer made it 2-0 ten minutes later and the crowd were visibly shaken as Fulham dominated and it was no surprise when Aleksandar Mitrovic found the top corner late on to bring a dose of reality back to the Lions.

Victory extended the Cottagers’ own unbeaten streak to 22 games, stretching back to 16 December, but this felt like one of their most impressive and important before Fulham’s next game, against relegated Sunderland on Friday, 27 April.

Following Fulham, Saturday’s opponents don’t come any harder for Millwall either as Middlesbrough are sitting in 5th and Millwall who dropped a place over the weekend and dropped out of the play off positions are in 7th. After this game there is only one final game for both teams so each could scupper the others play off hopes with victory in the evening kick off as the table looks like this with just this weekends games and the final matches for all teams next weekend.

5th Middlesbrough       72 pts

6th Derby                     71 pts

7th Millwall                 69 pts

8th Brentford               68 pts

The problem for Millwall is they have a far inferior goal difference to both Middlesbrough and Derby so a win is the only target Millwall can focus on.

Middlesbrough did the Lions a favour on Saturday with a 2-1 away win at Derby as the Rams started brightly but trailed at the break to Muhamed Besic’s strike after 20 minutes.

Britt Assombalonga slotted in a second for the north east team after good work by Adama Traore before David Nugent’s late penalty brought hope of an equaliser, but Derby could not avoid a third successive defeat. Derby overtook Millwall in the table on Tuesday though as they thumped 2nd placed Cardiff 3-1 to bring that particular run to a conclusion.

In the corresponding Millwall v Middlesbrough game at the New Den, Jed Wallace and George Saville scored first-half goals to give Millwall a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough.

Middlesbrough have only drawn 9 of their 44 games this season while Millwall have won 6 of their last 9 so it is probable there will be a positive result either way. Let’s hope Millwall can continue their outstanding 2018 away form. It will prove to be an absorbing if tense match either way.

If you fancy a punt on Millwall for the game then you can have a wager at this link.

With Millwall great with their away form they are priced at a mouth watering 4.00 to win at Middlesbrough so a 20 pounds bet brings in possible winnings of £80.

Another intriguing wager is Millwall to lead at half time priced 4.20 so if you place 10 pounds you can possibly win £42.00.

Millwall Looking To Kill Off United’s Premiership Hopes

Millwall will travel to the north again on Saturday evening to play Sheffield United with the knowledge a victory could put them firmly in the play off positions and a defeat for Sheffield United could see their own dreams of Premiership football disappear before their eyes in Yorkshire. Kick off is another Saturday early shift for the Lions from 1pm UK time (2pm CET and Malta time).

Every match is just like a cup final for the south London team at the moment. On Tuesday they dipped into the play off places for the first time this season as they overwhelmed a dreary Bolton by two goals to nil.  As the express train that is Millwall roared north into Greater Manchester the Lion’s knew that a win would keep the pressure firmly on 6th placed Middlesbrough who are having an inconsistent spell at the current time.

Tom Elliott who hasn’t exactly been on goalscoring fire for the Lions chose an opportune time to score his first goal since January when opened the scoring for the visitors ten minutes before the end of the first half that had seen a cagey start at the Macron Stadium. Both both teams had too much to lose to give anything away. Elliott headed in after launching into a well directed Ben Marshall cross at the back post.

Millwall doubled their lead after Mahlon Romeo dribbled the ball from deep within his own half that saw him run 70 metres before squaring for Marshall, who smashed the ball into the roof of the net.

As per usual in 2018, Millwall allowed the opposition the better percentage of possession, soaking up wave after wave of Bolton attacks and then attacked on the counter. To be fair Bolton were lacking authority and looked toothless. The defeat leaves Bolton one point above the Championship relegation zone and a worrying few weeks ahead for the Trotter’s fans.

Millwall fans in comparison saw Neil Harris’ side climb into the top six for the first time this season, a remarkable rise for a team who were 15th when they were last beaten in December of last year. A remarkable turn around for the team who remember were only promoted last year from Division 1 from the play offs. Could it be two play off promotions on the bounce?

Saturday’s opponents are Sheffield United who are in 9th place only 3 points behind the Lion’s although with a poorer goal difference. The Yorkshire outfit still harbour thoughts of getting into the play offs themselves and did Millwall a huge favour with a 2-1 home win over play off rivals Middlesbrough on Tuesday night. A brace from Lee Evans in the first half enough to put the game beyond the north east team who had Grant Leadbitter sent off after only 25 minutes and although Daniel Ayala pulled one back it wasn’t enough and United held on. A defeat would have have seen United struggle to get anywhere near the play offs.

In the corresponding Millwall v Sheffield United game at the New Den in early December the Lion’s came out 3-1 victors with goals from Gregory, Romeo and Cooper while David Brooks notched for the visitors.

Sheffield United are on a rocky patch at the wrong time of the season with just one win in 5 while Millwall seem to have forgotten how to lose. United desperately need a win but then so do Millwall so we could be in for a treat come Saturday afternoon.

Current Facts:

  • Millwall now unbeaten in 16 games.
  • Millwall’s last 6 games have seen 5 wins and a draw.
  • United have drawn 3 of their last 5 matches.
  • United have conceded at least 1 goal in their last 4 matches.
  • Millwall have scored exactly 2 goals now in 6 of their last 7 games.

If you fancy a punt on Millwall for the game then you can have a wager at this link.

If you think there will be exactly 4 goals as there was in the corresponding fixture back in December then the odds are 5.60 so a €20 bet will see possible winnings of €112.00.

Millwall and Bolton Wanderers to draw is a lively bet and is priced 3.20 so if you place 10 Euros you can possibly win €32.00.

Lions Can Propel Wanderers Into Danger Zone

Millwall will travel to Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday evening knowing a win could put them into the play off positions and a defeat for the Wanderers could see them potentially slip into the relegation spots. Kick off is 8pm UK time (9pm CET and Malta time).

It’s yet another important game for Millwall who will be hoping to still get in amongst the play off spots for the first time his season in a game against the Greater Manchester team desperately in need of points themselves as they languish in an extremely unhealthy position in the table. Currently in 21st place and just one position above the relegation spots they slipped up again against a dominant promotion chasing Derby County by 3 goals to 0 on Saturday to leave them just 2 points above Barnsley but with a dreadful goal difference.

Meanwhile the Millwall rollercoaster speeds on and there seems no let up as they beat fellow promotion chasing rivals Bristol City by two goals to nil at the New Den on Saturday to move them up to 7th ahead of City and just a single point behind 6th placed Middlesbrough. There was nothing to separate Bristol City and Millwall going into the game with both on 62 points in the league and with the same goal difference. However the 2-0 win not only helps them points wise against their West Country rivals but the goal difference could be vital come the end of the season.

The south London team are now unbeaten in 15 games and leaving their late run for a play off spot to perfection. It is still possible both teams could make the play offs however with only 5 matches of the season in the Championship left to play out. This result certainly dents Bristol City’s chances however.

Middlesbrough in 6th managed to get back to winning ways with a 2-0 home win over Nottingham Forest and the Lions are still 3 points behind Derby County in 5th place respectively. Preston North End’s chance for a play off place took a nose dive when they tasted defeat way at Reading. Brentford kept their slim hopes in tact thanks to a 1-0 win over Ipswich Town but Sheffield United were the fall guys surprisingly hammered 3-2 by lowly Barnsley.

The Lions kept their wonderful run going playing with little possession at home with just 36% of the play yet still won with relative ease as City failed to register a single shot on target. Jed Wallace cut inside from the left and bent in a fine opening goal for the hosts from a tight angle in the 11th minute and Steve Morison doubled their lead with a curling finish after a neat one-two with strike partner Lee Gregory just after half time to keep the Lion’s fans dreams of reaching the play offs a reality.

I mentioned in the Bristol City preview article that whichever team comes out of the blocks fastest could take control of the match so Bristol City would have to be wary of Millwall’s knack of scoring ridiculously early goals and Millwall did it again taking control of the game by blocking out the City attack and scoring just after the ten minute mark and after that it was fairly plain sailing for the home team.

Lowly Bolton will be looking to play Millwall in a different way at the Macron stadium and once again will need to shut up shop early against a rampant Millwall to spring a surprise.

Current Facts:

  • Millwall now unbeaten in 15 games.
  • Bolton have a -28 goal difference in the Championship.
  • Bolton have lost the last 3 on the bounce.
  • Bolton haven’t scored 2 goals in a game since December 23rd 2017 when they overcame Cardiff 2-0. That run is now 18 games long.
  • Millwall have scored exactly 2 goals in 5 of their last six games.

With the Lions in tremendous form expect them to be the firm favourites but they need to ensure nothing is taken for granted.

If you fancy a punt on Millwall for the game then you can have a wager at this link.

Millwall to beat Bolton Wanderers is priced 2.13 so if you place 10 Euros you can possibly win 21.30 Euros.

A Bolton win is 3.40 so a 20 Euro wager is worth 68 Euros.

Millwall v Bristol City

Millwall will host Bristol City at the New Den this Saturday with kick off from 3pm UK time (4pm CET and Malta time).

It’s an important game for Millwall who will be hoping to still get in amongst the pigeons for a play off spot against the Somerset team in need of points themselves in a top 8 Championship game.

To say this game is relevant to both sides is a massive understatement. There is nothing to separate Bristol City and Millwall both on 62 points in the league and with the same goal difference. So effectively City are only ahead in the table alphabetically but it is Millwall who are so on form at the current time unbeaten in 14 games and leaving their late run perfectly. It is possible both teams could still make the play offs however with only 6 matches of the season in the Championship that remain.

The two teams currently lie only 1 point behind a struggling Middlesbrough in 6th and 3 points behind a patchy Derby County in 5th place respectively. Sheffield United are also on the same number of points as City and the Lions so don’t write them off yet nor Preston North End just two points behind the chasing pack.

Millwall kept their unbeaten run going on Easter Monday following a 2-2 away draw in East Anglia as Ipswich Town gave them a few troubles over 90 minutes. Despite Town dominating it was Millwall who took the lead when Jake Cooper headed in Ben Marshall’s cross. However Martyn Waghorn proved to be the stumbling block for the Lions and got Ipswich level after a goalmouth scramble and he put the hosts ahead only two minutes later as he pounced on a defensive mistake. Millwall will be cursing themselves for two minutes poor football which turned the match on it’s head.

Luckily for the away side George Saville levelled with a good finish for Millwall, before the Lions laid siege to Ipswich’s goal late on but it was not to be as Ipswich hung on for a point. Millwall could look on this as two points wasted however as a win would have put them up into 6th ahead of Middlesbrough.

The north east team are struggling at present and could only manage a 1-1 draw away at bottom club Burton Albion. They will need more than results like that to keep them in a championship play off spot.

Derby managed a decent 1-0 win over Preston at Deepdale also on Easter Monday to dent Preston’s play off hopes but bolster their own. Inconsistency is the key to Derby at the moment though.

Bristol City and Millwall drew out a rather boring 0-0 draw in the corresponding fixture back on August 19th last year along the M4. This time it is City who are struggling in the league with just one win in the last 5 with Millwall as mentioned unbeaten in 14 games now. On current form i’m not expecting a hat full of goals in this game either which should almost see a chess match on grass with both teams having too much to lose to give anything silly away in the opening half.

Whichever team comes out of the blocks fastest could take control of the match so Bristol City will have to be wary of Millwall’s knack of scoring ridiculously early goals in the first minute when the match gets underway. This has happened 4 times this season already.

With the Lions at home and in near sparkling form expect them to be the favourites but they need to careful of a decent Bristol City side looking to upset the applecart.

Bristol City head coach Lee Johnson in Thursdays pre match conference is realistic about Saturday and describes Millwall’s form as “brilliant”, complimenting the way Neil Harris has got his side playing. Johnson insists outcome of the game “isn’t fatal” for either side, adding: “Hopefully we can take it to the wire.”

If you fancy a punt on Millwall for the game then you can chance your arm at this link.

Millwall to beat Bristol City is priced 2.15 with a draw at 3.25. The price on a Bristol City win is 3.40.

Millwall March On With Another Win

Millwall made it an incredible 6 away wins on the bounce with a 2-0 away victory over Barnsley in Yorkshire to leave them only 4 points off the play off places.

Goals from Lee Gregory and Ben Marshall were enough to send shivers up the spines of the teams above them with another ruthless back to the walls display that keeps Millwall sitting pretty in 10th position in the Championship.

The Lions played exactly the same game plan that they’ve deployed in 2018 on this remarkable run that has seen them move up from a lowly mid table to genuine contenders for a play off spot. Solid at the back, soak up the pressure, let the opposition dig themselves into the ground and use the counter attack to open up opportunities.

The tactics are working a treat for Neil Harris’s team as they once again had less than a third of the possession but still came away comfortable winners and that was despite Barnsley firing in a whopping 19 attempts on the Lions goal.

Barnsley are now in a right old fix as they saw Birmingham win 3-0 at home to Hull City to leave both Barnsley and Birmingham City on 33 points in 21st and 22nd position.

Millwall only had three shots on target but to show how ruthless they have become in the past couple of months they scored with two of those and the result meant Millwall equalled their club record for away wins. No mean feat!

Barnsley also equalled a club record with 11 Oakwell matches without a win after this 2-0 home defeat. The visitors scored in both halves after sloppy passing from the home team who have now won two of their last 24 matches and three of 28 home league games.

Manager Jose Morais made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Norwich City on Saturday. Goalkeeper Adam Davies missed the match as his partner was due to give birth, meaning Nick Townsend came back into the side one game after being dropped.

In very snowy conditions, Barnsley began well with plenty of crosses being pumped into the Millwall box, especially from Mamadou Thiam. But it was Millwall who took the lead on 24 minutes when Mallan misplaced a pass in the centre and the Lions counter-attack ended when Jed Wallace slipped through a pass for Lee Gregory to beat Nick Townsend.

George Saville rounded Townsend but then fired over from a tight angle with Barnsley defenders on the line. Pinillos horrendously sliced a clearance which fell perfectly to Steve Morison in the box but the veteran striker shockingly missed the ball five yards out to complete a terrible passage of play all-round. The rest of the half belonged to the Lions as Barnsley looked lacking in confidence.

Barnsley’s best chance came when Liam Lindsay headed a Thiam corner just over the bar while Gary Gardner and Mallan failed to really test Millwall goalkeeper Jordan Archer from long-range.

Barnsley came close with goalkeeper Jordan Archer twice diving low to his left to tip shots around the corner from Lindsay and Kieffer Moore.

But it was Millwall who scored when Marshall brilliantly curled a lovely shot into the top left corner from 25 yards.

Millwall were close again with both Gregory and substitute Fred Onyedinma missing one-on-one opportunities. Oliver McBurnie thought he had pulled one back with a header which was hooked off the line by defender Jake Cooper with the linesman disallowing the goal. Even in stoppage time Barnsley had two more chances which went begging to leave Millwall with the points in the bag.

A delighted Millwall manager Neil Harris:

“Any three points at this level is a good achievement. If you look at Barnsley, they have a distinct style of play – they’ve definitely improved. I thought we found another way to win the game, we dominated early on and then capitalised on a mistake.”

“It was good composure from us to get the goal. I never felt in danger in the first half. We scored at a key time, Ben Marshall’s goal was outstanding. I thought Barnsley threw caution to the wind in the last half an hour and were unlucky not to score.”

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Millwall Take Points With 1st Minute Goal

Millwall secured another victory by a goal to nil thanks to a 1st minute goal by George Saville as they overcame local rivals Brentford at the New Den.

Just in case you were reading this article thinking it is the match report from last week, it’s not. Incredibly George Saville has now scored in the first minute of a match two games running and I can’t remember the last time that happened by any player in any league.

As is so often the case this season Neil Harris’s men set out their stall and shut up shop to pick up the points and see them just 6 points behind both Middlesbrough and Derby County both in the play off places.

Millwall utilised the same tactics, defend from the back, let the opposing team run themselves into the ground until they run out out of steam and deploy the counter attack. Get the ball up to Lee Gregory and take it from there. It’s basically suffocating the opposition and the Lions have turned this into an art form so far in 2018.

It may not be pretty but boy does it work and if it gives the Lions a sniff of the Play offs then all the better for that. Shockingly Millwall had less than a third of the possession at home against a Brentford side in good form and a place above them in the league. Or rather so they were at the beginning of the day although by 5 o’clock the positions were reversed.

In a breathtaking first few minutes of end to end stuff Millwall took the lead when George Saville slid the ball under Bees goalkeeper Daniel Bentley to put the hosts ahead after Lee Gregory had closed down Andreas Bjelland.

Alarm bells could have sounded for Brentford but the fellow south London team came fighting back and Yoann Barbet thought he had equalised soon after from a corner, but his effort was ruled offside to the dismay of the travelling supporters who could have walked from one stadium to the other so close are the teams.

For once it was Millwall’s opponents who were more tenacious in the tackle but the Lions were resilient enough to hold back the opposition time and time again.

The away team pressed hard and Sergi Canos’ saw his shot hit the post and then John Egan headed against the bar as the Bees looked for an equaliser but lady luck was nowhere to be seen at the New Den as a crowd of 13,251 saw the proceedings unravel.

It was an open game with a massive 27 efforts on either goal as both teams applied different approaches to the match.

This was Millwall’s 5th win in the last 6 matches and they are currently on fire. Unbeaten now in 10 matches they are the in form team in the Championship at the moment and all eyes will be on the next 3 games, 7 points from those will put them right in the mix for the play offs.

 

A delighted Millwall manager Neil Harris:

“The best side won the game 1-0, the best side always wins the game – that’s the result. Millwall going like a steam train really pleases me. Six points off the play-offs with nine games to go. The players, and fans, have earned the right to dream.

“You make your own luck in this game, in any walk of life, but in football particularly. Today we did ride it a bit, but we worked hard, the shape was good.”

A narky Brentford boss Dean Smith retorted:

“The better team got beat today. There are such small margins in football at times. I can’t question the lads’ performances today, I thought we were very good, especially in the second half.

“We’ve won most of the games we control. Today we didn’t because a player gets injured and because of a linesman’s flag. That’s the only reason we haven’t won today.”

Any Millwall fans missing the first minute of the match two games running won’t be kicking footballs, they’ll be kicking themselves thanks to George Saville’s early antics.

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Hutchinson Goal Saves Millwall’s Blushes

Millwall failed to beat Sunderland at the New den as only a Shaun Hutchinson strike twenty minutes from the end saved the south Londoners from defeat against the bottom side in the league as they drew 1-1 on a freezing Saturday afternoon in March.

All Championship games had been called off due to the adverse weather conditions around the country however Millwall’s match survived the big freeze on an afternoon they probably wish their game had been postponed too.

Unused to having so much of the ball in possession the Lions failed to break through the Sunderland defence for large swathes of the game despite having a whopping 15 shots on the Black Cats goal. 7 of those shots were on target as opposed to Sunderland having the single shot from which Bryan Oviedo notched the opener for the away team.

The Black Cats went into the game five points adrift of safety at the foot of the table, but while Millwall had won their previous three games on the spin, it was the visitors who were the more composed side for much of the opening 45 minutes.

The Lion’s usual tactic was to hoof long balls towards their strike pairing of Lee Gregory and Steve Morison which has worked wonderfully well for Millwall this season however Tyias Browning and John O’Shea were generally on hand to snuff out any danger for the Black Cats.

Millwall almost took a sixth minute lead when Jake Cooper found himself completely unmarked from a corner, but Lee Cattermole was able to hack away the defender’s goal bound header from a position on the goal line.

Callum McManaman fired over when a corner was cleared into his direction midway through the first half, but the next time Sunderland tried their luck from distance four minutes later, the deadlock was broken.

Bryan Oviedo played a cool one-two with McGeady from a short corner and moved infield towards the corner of the area. There appeared to be little danger when he took aim with his left foot, but he rifled a cracker of a strike that flew past an astounded Millwall goalkeeper Jordan Archer and found the top right-hand corner of the Millwall net. A spectacular goal that had the home fans stunned.

Millwall’s players appeared shell shocked too by the concession, although Steele was forced to produce a decent save as he parried Shaun Williams’ low strike shortly before the break. Morison headed wide after Ben Marshall crossed from the right, but Sunderland made it to the interval with their lead intact.

The Lions began the second half on the attack and Steele got down to claim Lee Gregory’s scuffed shot after the Black Cats defence struggled to clear a free kick.

Sunderland then survived a penalty claim when Morison went down under a challenge from Ovie Ejaria, and Steele was called into action again shortly after, tipping Gregory’s looping header over the crossbar.

Millwall’s pressure finally told as they levelled in the 70th minute. Steele saved well to keep out Morison’s volley, but the subsequent corner resulted in a penalty area scramble that was mayhem as

Sunderland’s defenders failed to clear Marshall’s delivery, and while Cattermole tried to clear Shaun Hutchinson’s stabbed effort, referee Andy Davies ruled that the ball had crossed the line.

A realistic Millwall manager Neil Harris said afterwards:

“I thought we did enough to win, but that’s a good reality check for everyone associated with this football club. It showed that if we’re not at our best, we can come unstuck against anybody.

“I thought we came really strong in the second half and if there was anyone who was going to win it, it was us, although maybe our composure in the box wasn’t quite as good as it could have been. No one within the training ground was getting above themselves, it’s just about how far we’ve come from the play-off final last year to thinking about a play-off campaign this year.”

With no other teams playing Millwall leaped a place to 11th while the result means the Black Cats remain at the foot of the table, and are now four points adrift of 21st placed Barnsley, having played a game more than the Tykes.

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Millwall Have Play Offs In Sight

Millwall beat Burton Albion by a single goal to nil to leave them just 6 points off the play off places after a hard fought victory against the strugglers.

That is four wins away from home on the trot now thanks to a Ben Marshall’s second half winner that puts Millwall up to 12th in the Championship.

Getting into the play offs is unlikely but Millwall have looked dominant in defence so far in 2018 and once again set their stall by putting up road blocks in the defence, something they have done time and time again of late. It’s unlikely that they will make the play offs but on this fine run of form certainly not impossible.

Despite having as much as 58% of the possession Burton failed to muster a single shot on the Millwall goal which tells you why the home team are stuck in the bottom three of the table.

They dominated play at times but Millwall just let the home team attack and looked to catch Burton Albion out either on the counter attack or via a set piece.

Once again Millwall were tough and resilient as they took all 3 points back down to South London for Neil Harris’s happy men. The away side were never going to take prisoners as they amassed a humungous 20 fouls in the game.

Burton had a lot of the game in a scrappy affair however they couldn’t deliver a decent final ball and that is now 13 home games without a win of which they have lost 11 of those games. That’s relegation form in anyone’s books. They had a lot of chances but Millwall keeper Jordan Archer did not have to make a single save as Millwall defended well.

An attendance of 4.105 at the Pirelli Stadium saw the hosts look tired after Millwall’s fairly physical presence in the middle of the park as Nigel Clough’s men dropped a place to 23rd in the league.

It was Ben Marshall the Wolves loanee who got on the end of deep cross at the back post and the ball seemed to take an agonising long time to cross the line and ultimately condemn Albion to another home defeat without a win on home soil in the league this season.

The Lions bared their teeth first on eleven minutes. Steve Morison sent over a dipping cross that was heading for Lee Gregory at the back post until Lucas Akins got up first to head behind at the expense of a corner.

After Martin Samuelson did some decent work on 20 minutes he found Akins who flicked the ball onto the roof of the net from twelve yards out.

A loose touch by Akpan on half way gave Millwall the chance to counter and although Tom Naylor did superbly well to nullify the threat of Lee Gregory, Morison was still able to deliver in a cross that McFadzean had to head away awkwardly from inside his own six yard box at the expense of a corner. The danger was not over there and when Cooper got up well to attack the corner there was an almighty scramble near the post before Bywater eventually managed to get both hands on the ball as things got a little bit messy.

Bent had a second chance to open his account on 39 minutes. A pinpoint ball from Davenport had the striker bearing down on goal but his shot sliced away off his shin failing to threaten Archer in the Millwall goal.

So a goalless first half and the second half began in much the same way and Dyer sent in another dangerous low delivery it took a shanked clearance from Shaun Hutchinson to keep his goal in tact as the ball skewed over the bar from close range.

When the Millwall goal came it was somewhat against the run of play. Jed Wallace managed to escape on the left and send over a searching cross that picked out Marshall at the back post and his looping header seemed to trickle over the line.

Sub Onyedinma replaced Ben Marshall and he went close with a curling effort on 73 minutes but fortunately for Albion put his effort wide of the post as the visitors looked to wrap up the points.

The Brewers spurned a glorious chanxce to equalise on 78 minutes. Davenport’s corner was flicked on at the near post by Akins and the goal appeared to open up for Naylor at the back post, the centre half stealing in but unable to keep his header under the bar.

Naylor’s last ditch header in stoppage time was the last chance for Albion to drag themselves level but once again the game had got away from Albion who see their three game unbeaten run ended.

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