Yet another EFL clean sweep last weekend for Adrian Clarke but what’s he got cooking for this Saturday?
It was fantastic to return from the summer break with two wins from two in last week’s EFL Insights column. Here’s hoping for more success at the weekend, where I’ve put a couple of keenly contested matches under the microscope…
HAPPY TO HAVE A MINOR HANDICAP ON MILLWALL’S SIDE AT CARDIFF
Cardiff City and Millwall love a draw. That’s unmistakable. Last season they shared a whopping 31 of them in total, the year before 33.
Contests between them have also been as tight as they come. In fact, the last SEVEN meetings between these Championship rivals have ended in stalemate. It’s a strange habit, and an eighth successive draw can be backed at 3.05 with Matchbook. It’s tempting, eh?
My own preference is to get the draw onside as a fail-safe but to primarily back visitors Millwall to nick something from the game.
Cardiff City’s home record was patchy towards the end of 2020-21, winning just one of their final six games in South Wales. A 1-1 draw with Barnsley on the opening weekend did little to shake off a feeling that their stadium is no fortress.
If you class Gary Rowett’s Lions as a ‘top half side’ (and despite a slow start this season, I do), then it’s also worth considering how badly Cardiff fared when entertaining stronger opponents last term.
The Bluebirds’ home record against Top 12 teams read; Played 11: Won 2, Drew 3 Lost 6. I know this is a new campaign, and personnel changes have been made – and I realise Millwall are currently 19th – but that does put me off siding with the Lions.
Millwall are big and strong at the back. They always have been, which is a handy strength to have ahead of a clash at Mick McCarthy’s Cardiff.
Aden Flint’s set-piece double in the 2-2 midweek draw at Peterborough United was a reminder of how dangerous they are from dead balls. Stop that aspect of their play, and you have a chance against them.
For me, the South Londoners have had a significantly tougher start than Cardiff. They picked up a very decent draw at QPR, were unlucky to only draw with a dangerous Blackburn Rovers, and they hung in there against a superb Fulham outfit during a 2-1 midweek loss.
Scoring in every match, and with the likes of Jed Wallace, Benik Afobe and Matt Smith capable of troubling anyone in forward areas, I fancy them to test McCarthy’s rearguard.
For what it’s worth, Big Mick wasn’t overly happy with how his side defended in midweek, saying, “It was downright carnage, disgusting, not right, it shouldn’t happen.” Trademark stuff.
This match won’t be pretty, it is likely to be very close, but Millwall should not be over a point (3.45) behind Cardiff City (2.4) to land the victory here.
The quarter goal start appeals, so I will take them at +0.0/0.5 on the Asian Handicap at 1.87 to cross the border on Saturday evening with a minimum of one point, possibly three.
The Lions rarely roll over and let their tummies get tickled. I am backing them to be very competitive at Cardiff City.
THE UNDERS TO MAKE A RETURN IN YORKSHIRE DERBY
Two of League One’s most fancied teams clash in a Yorkshire Derby in Saturday afternoon’s early kickoff, and it’s an encounter I fancy to be tense.
The atmosphere will be lively, of course, but Rotherham United boss Paul Warne and Sheffield Wednesday’s Darren Moore are sure to have their players organised, disciplined and set up to protect their own goal.
At this stage of the campaign, with both clubs considered promotion contenders, neither will lightly hand over a three-point gift.
Three games in and neither outfit have been involved in an open attacking contest so far.
Rotherham beat Plymouth 2-0 on home turf, lost 1-0 at Wigan, and nicked a solitary goal success at Morecambe.
Unbeaten Wednesday were happy to take a goalless draw at Charlton Athletic before claiming 2-0 and 1-0 home wins against Doncaster Rovers and Fleetwood Town, respectively.
Solidity has been the order of the day in both camps as they adjust to the new level following relegation from the second tier.
Recent meetings between these two sides have produced goals, but I don’t see this as a thriller with either finding their true groove inside the final third yet. Early season games between leading lights have an annoying habit of being cagey at all levels, and when you throw in the derby factor, this one screams ‘low-scoring to me.
My selection is Under 2.0/2.5 goals at 1.79. If Rotherham v Sheffield Wednesday is an end-to-end basketball contest, I will be flabbergasted.
This should be a local war of attrition.
- Millwall +0.0/0.5 Goals v Cardiff City (1.87)
- Rotherham v Sheffield Wednesday Under 2.25 (1.79)
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