Millwall V Charlton Athletic
Saturday, 13th March – 15:00 GMT (English League One)
Matt’s Tip: Both teams to score – 1.83 SkyBet (LOST!)
Alternative: Over 2.5 Goals – 2.15 Bet365 (WON!)
Value Punt: Millwall to WIN 2-1 – 9.50 SkyBet
Two teams with high hopes of ending the season in the play-off’s go head-to-head on Saturday as a formidable Millwall (2.38 Ladbrokes) host a rejuvenated Charlton Athletic (3.40 Bet365) at The New Den with the home side expected to take home the spoils according to the bookies. Considering just how intimidating a side Millwall are at home (12-4-1), that’s probably a fair assessment, but there are a group of teams in the league that posses the players and have the talent within their ranks to beat a team of Millwall’s stature and some would argue Charlton do fall into that category, so is there a chance a shock could be on the cards or will Millwall’s run of eight home games without defeat extend to nine?
We definitely be more inclined to say the latter, an extension of Millwall’s unbeaten home run, as The Lions have been formidable at The New Den this season having lost just one game their all season. Put that into comparison with the three away defeats Charlton have suffered this season, and you can see why the bookies have shown Millwall so much respect. Nevertheless, Charlton are more than capable of making this a proper game and even if Millwall do run out worthy and expectant winners, Charlton should still get on the score sheet at some point as they’ve not failed to score in an away fixture since October 3rd, 2009 when they drew 0-0 at Leeds Utd, of all the places. They’re on a run of scoring in their last eleven away encounters, thus proving they have the credentials to push Millwall stunning home record to its limits.
Moreover, Charlton have a whole host of potential scorers ranging right through their squad; Deon Burton (13gls), Akpo Sodje (8gls), both of which are Charlton’s main men up front, while the midfield of Charlton boasts a potential goalscorer in every department, with Nick Bailey (11gls) and Jonjo Shelvey (4gls) banging in goals from the centre of midfield, whilst the pace of Llyod Sam has not only seen him fly past his full-back marker and deliver a cross worthy of a finish but he’s also put 4 away himself. There are a few more regular candidates for goalscoring action, but this is just to prove a point that Charlton are a side with goals in them, and they will need that heading up to Millwall, which you’ll find out why now…
The Lions are also a side full of goals having failed just twice to find the opposing goal in a home fixture at The New Den. However, something they do have which Charlton don’t is a more reliable defence, which is a big concern for us with Millwall’s experienced back line has kept eight clean sheets in seventeen home games this season, with the Lions keeping four of those in their last six home games. However, their sturdy defence has only really been efficient against the lesser teams in the division, whereas when real attacking quality arrives to The Den, Millwall generally falter at least once. Norwich, Southampton, Colchester United, Leeds United and Huddersfield; all teams of high calibre in this league, all of which were dispatched in the end but not without a scare along the way, with all five of the teams just mentioned scoring at The New Den this season, which just goes to show that Millwall aren’t as impenetrable as the statistics would like to make you think.
Both teams to score – What we have here is two adventurous teams, two sides desperate to gain promotion back to The Championship, the league which in effect becomes a Lotto as to who goes up into the glamours Premiership. The pair both have strong claims for promotion this season, but it’s gaining victories over sides in close proximity that not only builds gaps in positions but also significantly boosts the confidence of the players as should these two meet in the play-off’s, the side who won the very last encounter would have the mental edge in the knowledge that they’ve achieved victory over the same opponent before, and recently.
With all this winning mumbo-jumbo aside though, we’re expecting two courageous teams to take to the New Den pitch in a bid to notch up a vital win and aid their cause with three points. To do that they need goals and both look likely of breaching each others goals so we’re expecting plenty of action, fruitful as well we hope. The odds on this specific market aren’t great (1.83 SkyBet), but Millwall do have a knack for winning these sort of fixtures, against those in and around them, by a 2-1 scoreline (9.50 SkyBet) so perhaps a small wager on that could prove beneficial, while another bet on there being 3 or more goals (2.15 Bet365) could also bare fruit for us all.