Millwall v West Brom: Lions capable of keeping Baggies in-check
Table-topping West Brom will look to consolidate their position at the top of the Championship but Mark O'Haire expects Millwall to put up stern resistance at The Den on Sunday afternoon.
Millwall v West Brom
Sunday February 9, 13:30
Sunday February 9, 13:30
Millwall play out dour Hillsborough draw
Millwall boss Gary Rowett suggested his Lions side were a "little bit leggy and didn't have that zip about us" following a taxing week as they played out a dour 0-0 draw at Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday. The two teams cancelled each other out at Hillsborough in a result that saw both clubs lose vital ground on the Championship's play-off positions.
Of the 22 efforts on goal, only four were on target and they were all comfortable for Millwall stopper Bartosz Bialkowski and opposite number Cameron Dawson. Wednesday enjoyed the best chance of a tepid first half when glancing a header just wide of the post, whilst Jon Dadi Bodvarsson squandered a late opportunity for the Lions as he lobbed over.
Speaking post-match, Rowett said, "If I look at the overall performance, it is a point we are happy with. I am not overly happy with some parts of the game, but we always have to look at context. We've played a Premier League team in Sheffield United and then Leeds, which was physically demanding, before heading here. We were a bit slow playing through the lines."
West Brom return to the top
West Brom ended their seven-game winless run by beating bottom club Luton to go back to the top of the Championship last weekend. Hatters' defender Donervon Daniels put through his own net after 14 minutes before Semi Ajayi's second goal in successive home games wrapped up the points for the league leaders in the second half at The Hawthorns.
Albion were largely restricted to long-range efforts but Callum Robinson impressed on his Baggies debut after a deadline-day loan move from Sheffield United, setting up the opener with a ball in from the left. The Irish international was denied from distance but Albion were also put under pressure themselves and needed to be alert to thwart Town in the latter stages.
The first league victory for Slaven Bilic's men since winning at Birmingham on 14th December lifted WBA above Leeds and the Croatian boss was chuffed to get back to winning ways, saying, "It was very important for us to get back on a winning track. We created a lot of chances and should have scored more goals." Kieran Gibbs and Grady Diangana remain out.
In-form Lions difficult to defeat
Millwall have proven a tough nut to crack for West Brom over the past 15 years. The Lions have avoided defeat against the Baggies in league and cup meetings this season (W1-D1-L0) with the Bermondsey boys boasting a positive W5-D2-L3 return in matches against Albion since 1995. Meanwhile, the hosts are unbeaten here against WBA since 1987 (W6-D2-L0).
Only Brentford and Leeds have earned more points than Millwall 2.94 since Gary Rowett's first match in charge in mid-October (W8-D6-L3). The Lions boast an excellent 58% Expected Goals (xG) ratio across those 17 league fixtures, conceding fewer than two goals in all bar five outings and keeping seven clean sheets. The hosts have W8-D4-L2 at The Den this term.
West Brom 2.68 have earned only seven league points from eight league outings since before Christmas and the Baggies' off-colour efforts extend to early December with Albion pocketing only two triumphs in 10 Championship contests (W2-D5-L3). However, the visitors remain the best road team in the division, suffering only two defeats in 15 (W8-D5-L2).
Bermondsey boys to keep Baggies in-check
Seven of the past nine match-ups between Millwall and West Brom have produced fewer than three goals and there's reason to believe Sunday's showdown could also fall below the standard goals line. The duo have combined to see only 13/29 (45%) of their collective home/away Championship contests feature three goals or more in 2019/29.
Only four teams have seen fewer goals per-game on their travels than WBA (2.27) and the visitors have seen Under 2.5 Goals pay-out in 10/15 (67%) games as guests. With that in mind, I'm happy to have the hosts onside in a match shorn of goalscoring opportunities.
We can grab 1.90 on Millwall in the Double Chance market alongside Under 3.5 Goals via Betfair Sportsbook's Same Game Multi offering, an angle of attack that would have proven profitable in seven of West Brom's most recent 10 tussles.
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