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.
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