Millwall host Walsall at The Den in their first League One fixture on Wednesday, February 1, in a clash between two in-form sides still within reach of the play-offs. The Lions should just edge this one due to their impressive home form and the Saddlers’ goal-shy nature on the road.
Despite controversy off the pitch regarding the future of Millwall’s stadium – now concluded in their favour – the team has been playing well. The beat another Premier League side, Watford, in their FA Cup run as well as pushing for promotion to the Championship.
The hosts go into their league fixture against 13th-place Walsall as slight favourites, and three points would put them within touching distance of the play-offs.
Neil Harris’s side are unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions, and have won four of those, including an impressive 3-0 victory over Bournemouth. Millwall dominated the Premier League side in the FA Cup Third Round with 63% of possession and eight shots to the visitors’ four.
Walsall will also arrive in London in fine fettle, having beaten Bristol Rovers 3-1 and title favourites Sheffield United 4-1 in their previous two fixtures.
They had four and six shots on target respectively in those matches, and are putting their chances away well. But Millwall can take some comfort in the fact that Jon Whitney’s side have struggled for away goals for the most part of the season – only nine of their 33 goals in the league this season have come on the road.
The Saddlers do tighten up at the back, though, when away from Bescot Stadium, and 14 of their 35 goals conceded have come on their opponents’ turf. They will have to be at the top of their game at the Den, however, as the Lions have bagged an impressive 10 goals in the last four home games.
Walsall won the opposing fixture 2-1 earlier in the season, and last time they visited The Den they left with the three points in a close-fought 1-0 victory. In the last 10 meetings between the two sides there have only been two draws, with Millwall winning five games and Walsall three.
On paper, the sides are fairly evenly matched and on form it’s hard to call a winner. But due to Millwall’s imperious home performances of late, backing a Millwall Win and Both Teams To Score is the best bet here.
In terms of a possible score line, we think 2-1 for Millwall looks fairly likely.