Millwall frustrated by Rovers draw
Millwall boss Gary Rowett was left disappointed by his side’s failure to kill off Blackburn on Saturday – before sharing his frustration at being denied a “blatant penalty”. The Lions took the lead on the hour-mark through Jed Wallace. But a soft header from Rovers’ forward Ben Brereton Diaz cancelled that out shortly after with the game ending all-square.
Millwall dominated the majority of the game and appeared to be cruising to their first league win of the season, with the visitors rarely threatening. And Rowett felt that the Lions had missed out on a “great opportunity” to take all three points, saying: “It’s frustrating, we’ve had 60% possession and about 18 shots and they’ve had one in the whole game.”
Defender Shaun Hutchinson was replaced in the heart of the Lions defence by Murray Wallace, who impressed alongside Dan Ballard and Jake Cooper, although the Bermondsey boys are hoping the former won’t be set for an extended spell on the sidelines. No further changes are expected from Rowett coming into Tuesday night’s tussle.
Fulham fire five past Town
New Fulham head coach Marco Silva was pleased with the Cottagers’ performance after the Whites thrashed Huddersfield 5-1 away on Saturday. Goals from Aleksander Mitrovic, Josh Onomah, Fabio Carvalho and a double from Ivan Cavaleiro wrapped up the victory for the visitors with Silva suggesting his team could have racked up even more.
Speaking post match, the Fulham supremo said: “We deserved the three points, we were the better team on the pitch again, as well as last week. Unfortunately last week we didn’t score more goals, but this afternoon we got five. We had some luck with the first one, but we had clear chances to score more and more. In the end it was a fair result.”
Harry Wilson was sent off with 18 minutes remaining but being down to 10 men made no difference at all to Fulham in a thoroughly one-sided game. The Cottagers created three Big Chances, racked up 11 on-target efforts, 12 shots from inside the opposition penalty box and an Expected Goals (xG) tally of 2.56 to go top of the embryonic Championship table.
Millwall haven’t relished recent skirmishes with London rivals Fulham. The Lions have tasted victory just once in their last nine head-to-head meetings with the Cottagers across all competitions (W1-D2-L6), back in August 2014. In fact, the Bermondsey club are winless in seven home fixtures against the Whites dating back to 1982 (W0-D4-L3).
Millwall 3.4012/5 will feel they deserve more than just the two points they have to show from their opening outings against QPR and Blackburn. The Lions have allowed only 0.58 Expected Goals (xG) in those two contests, facing just four shots from inside the box, with Gary Rowett’s supremely organised outfit impressing in both boxes without reward.
Fulham 2.3411/8 followed a similar path against Middlesbrough in their curtain-raiser, although Marco Silva’s men clicked into gear at the weekend, putting a weak Huddersfield side away with consummate ease. The Cottagers have fired in a league-high 14 on-target attempts thus far, as well as topping the Shots In The Box charts (22).
Millwall are always a difficult team to oust at The Den but the Lions have proven particularly proficient when welcoming the league’s leading lights. Gary Rowett’s group have returned W4-D12-L4 at home to top-half teams during his reign, seven of those stalemates arriving last season (W2-D7-L2). A repeat is available at 3.259/4 this midweek.
Goals have also been at a premium in those 20 aforementioned match-ups with the Championship’s top performers – Under 2.5 Goals 1.738/11 has landed in 15/20 (75%) tussles in Bermondsey. Considering Millwall’s opening two fixtures have showcased their defensive proficiency, I’m happy to follow the trends and support a low-scoring showdown here.