Aston Villa will head to The Den today to take on Millwall for a 3 pm kick-off in the Championship. It is the first game Villa would have played since the sacking of manager Steve Bruce. Kevin McDonald has been placed in temporary charge until a replacement is found.
Villa has only managed one victory in ten and is slowly dropping down the table. However, despite sitting thirteenth, they still find themselves just two points outside the playoffs. They must return to winning ways though as this gap won’t stay like that forever.
Millwall manager Neil Harris hasn’t enjoyed the best of seasons so far either. They currently find themselves sitting 3rd bottom in the Championship. Millwall has failed to win in eight games but does boast an impressive draw with in-form Leeds United during that time.
As I have already touched upon, Millwall hasn’t enjoyed the best starts of the season. With one win in eleven, Harris will know things will have to turn around soon. Like Villa, conceding goals has been a big problem this season. Only Preston have conceded more with 24.
During the summer, Harris strengthened his Millwall side with four new signings and two loan signings. One of those signings included Jiri Skalak from Premiership Brighton and Hove Albion. They did lose star player George Saville to Middlesbrough however which has proved to be a huge loss.
Millwall average just 44.8% of the ball – one of the lowest in the division. This would suggest they play a counter-attacking style of football. Their pass completion (63.9%) and shots per game (12.1) average would explain why they currently sit in the relegation zone.
ONE TO WATCH
Defender Jack Cooper is crucial to Millwall. The centre-half is important to their back line but also contributes to other areas. He has scored 2 and assisted 2 so far this season.
Passing isn’t his best attribute so we should look to put pressure on him at every opportunity. His strengths lie in his aerial duals so we should try to keep the ball low. He will look to play high long balls over the top of the Villa backline at every opportunity.
Villa will be without defender James Chester following his sending off against Preston in mid-week. With Mile Jedinak injured, James Bree is expected to partner Axel Tuanzebe at the back.
It is thought that Keinan Davis will still not be ready for the trip to The Den.
Jed Wallace will be pushing to start for Millwall after returning from suspension. The only absentee they have is Shaun Hutchinson through injury.
HEAD TO HEAD
These two sides have only met on 33 occasions. Villa came out just on top with 14 wins to Millwall’s 9. Villa has failed to win in each of the last three meetings between the two sides.
The first game between the two sides took place in 1990. It was in the FA Cup and ended 1-1.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Predicted Xi: Nyland, Hutton, Tuanzebe, Bree, Taylor, McGinn, Hourihane, Bjarnason, Grealish, Bolasie, Abraham.
TV: AVTV (outside the UK only)
Tickets: Sold out
Odds: Millwall 17/10 Draw 11/5 Aston Villa 8/5 (Paddy Power)