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Friday, July 3, 2020

Charlton v Millwall: Tight derby tussle anticipated

Charlton v Millwall: Tight derby tussle anticipated

Friday night's live Championship football pits together London rivals Charlton and Millwall at The Valley.. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter...

Charlton v Millwall
Friday July 3, 19:45
Sky Sports

Charlton extend unbeaten streak

Basement battlers Charlton extended their unbeaten streak since lockdown by collecting a share of the spoils in Tuesday night's tussle at Cardiff. Athletic fired in just four attempts at goal and failed to land a single strike on-target in the goalless game, though a third fixture without defeat edges the Addicks further clear of the Championship's relegation zone.
In truth, the match never came close to setting pulses racing. Neither side mustered an on-target effort in a lifeless first half, and whilst the second period improved, fluidity and inspiration was badly lacking. Charlton boss Lee Bowyer made seven changes to his team and the wholesale alterations might have been a contributory factor to a disjointed display.
Bowyer said a scarcity of options on the right-hand side of the defence meant the Addicks manager played a 3-5-2 system out of necessity. The Athletic supremo is hoping to have Adam Matthews and Deji Oshilaja available again for Friday night, whilst Sam Field and Tomer Hemed picked up knocks in the Welsh capital and are considered doubtful.

Millwall lose ground on the top-six

Millwall's play-off aspirations took a knock on Tuesday night as the Lions were held to a 1-1 draw by fellow top-six-chasers Swansea at The Den. The Bermondsey boys looked set for a first win since the season resumed thanks to Mason Bennett's first-half goal, however, Rhian Brewster's free-kick, which went in via goalkeeper Bartosz Białkowski, levelled proceedings.

Millwall missed two excellent late chances to win, with Murray Wallace heading just wide and then against the post in the final minutes. Gary Rowett's outfit had proved effective operators on the counter-attack, whilst their advantageous size made the hosts a menace from set-pieces. In all, the Lions had 16 efforts at goal, generating 1.66 Expected Goals (xG).
Post-match Rowett said: "I thought we controlled vast parts of the game in terms of our defensive shape. We passed the ball really well, had some good opportunities, particularly from set-pieces. I don't think we could have done an awful lot more to win the game." Bennett is a doubt for Friday's fixture whilst fellow striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson is out.

Lions firm favourites at The Valley

Charlton are winless in their last 11 meetings with near neighbours Millwall (W0-D5-L6), failing to even score in seven of those showdowns. The Addicks have also struggled for supremacy when hosting the Lions, collecting three points from a possible 15 at The Valley (W0-D3-L2) since 1996, firing blanks in their most past four head-to-head encounters here.
Charlton 3.25 have earned seven points and three successive shutouts since returning to Championship football (W2-D1-L0), an exceptional achievement considering the off-field wrangles afflicting Athletic. The Addicks' defensive resilience makes Lee Bowyer's men tough opposition and the hosts look a touch underrated in the pre-match markets.
Millwall 2.50 rank eighth in the Championship table based on results since Gary Rowett took charge (W10-D11-L6) as only West Brom have lost fewer league games. The Lions have proven profitable to follow on their travels during the current regime (W5-D5-L3), recording a remarkable seven clean sheets in 13 road trips under Rowett, highlighting their claims.

Honours even in low-scoring contest

Meetings between the two capital clubs have rarely been thrilling affairs at The Valley with the most recent four encounters here featuring Under 2.5 Goals 1.65. November's reverse contest was also heading towards a low-scoring tie before Matt Smith netted a stoppage-time winner for Millwall (2-1). Nevertheless, goals are likely to be at a premium.
Nine of the Lions' 13 (69%) away days under Gary Rowett have paid out for Under 2.5 Goals backers and with seven of Charlton's last nine matches following the same pattern, opposing goals is the preferred option. However, with the odds a touch too short to support, it may pay to add the Draw for a 3.60 poke via the Same Game Multi market.
Nine (41%) of Millwall's past 22 Championship games have delivered the Draw/Under 2.5 Goals double, as have nine (45%) of the Lions' 20 away days across the campaign. What's more, all six of the visitors' trips to bottom-eight outfits have seen the same selection bank.
Gary Rowett - Millwall