Millwall will commence the season at the New Den on Saturday as they entertain Middlesbrough looking to begin the season on a high against their north east rivals.
Having lost out on the final game of last season to miss the play off places, confidence in the Lions camp will be high and then will be looking to continue where they left off having enjoyed a wonderful set of results in 2018. Despite this, weariness took the puff out of the Millwall express in the last few games as they almost pulled off a major shock in making the play offs having been stuck in the bottom half of the table for the first 5 months of the campaign.
Kick off is 15:00 UK time (16:00 Malta time) and is one of eight games on Saturday in the Championship due to begin at this time with only Sheffield United v Swansea starting at 17:30 UK time on the opening weekend of the season.
For all Millwall’s great football and results in 2018 they failed at the last hurdle at the end of April when playing their play off rivals Middlesbrough whom they entertain at the Den on Saturday. They were soundly beaten 2-0 in a match sadly that saw a number of crowd disturbances. The brilliantly named Britt Assombalonga scored in the first half and Jonny Howson in the second to heap misery onto the Millwall fans. In reality, 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.
Still it was a brilliant season in retrospect for the Lions and it was unfortunate 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 situation became heated.
In 2018 celebrating 25 years at the Den, Millwall have had a big clear out in the summer discarding 10 players including Tim Cahill their Aussie legend, Tom King and Noah Chesmain to Colchester United. Only two new players have been brought in, Tom Amos from Bolton and Murray Wallace from Scunthorpe United.
Middlesbrough have toughened up their defence with centre backs Paddy McNair and Aden Flint arriving while they have got rid of Patrick Bamford to Leeds United, Fabio to Nantes in France and Antonio Barragan to Real Betis in the Spanish La Liga.
Middlesbrough finished off last season in 5th place but were knocked out in the play offs in the semi finals where they looked totally lacking in any sort of rhythm and were deserved of their defeat 1-0 on aggregate where Aston Villa shut up shop.
For Millwall their eventual position was a more than commendable 8th. They lacked more goals than anything else with only 56 from their 46 games. They only conceded 45 goals so the defence were doing their jobs but a statistic of 19 wins was excellent.
For the ‘Brough 22 wins in their campaign was a wonderful return for the season but with the money spent the previous summer they were hoping for an immediate return to the Premiership.
Millwall will be looking for a partial revenge on Middlesbrough effectively ending their season in April and will have their tails up. Whether they have enough new players is a different question.
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