Talking Tactics | Millwall v Swansea City

5th April
First team
Kyle Naughton Talking Tactics

After a resounding 4-0 win at rivals Cardiff on Saturday, confidence will be sky high for Swansea as they seek to follow up that resounding victory with another three points at Millwall. turn their attention to Tuesday's game, looking at what to expect from the Lions, the key battle and a key stat.

What to expect from Millwall

Millwall manager Gary Rowett

A run of one win in five has dented Millwall's play-off hopes, though in turn, one defeat in five means they remain incredibly difficult to break down.

Only four teams have conceded fewer goals than the Lions (38) in the Championship this season and the issue for the Lions hasn't necessarily been conceding goals, but scoring them. Forty-one goals scored is the sixth lowest return in England's second tier and it has seen the south London side develop a statsistically calculated weakness of 'fnishing scoring chances'.

Top scorer Benik Afobe has scored just nine league goals this season, though with three of those coming in his last two outings, the 29-year-old looks to be getting back to form following a six-game goal drought.

Like a number of Championship sides, Gary Rowett utilises a three-man backline with Tom Bradshaw, who has eight league goals to his name, partnering Afobe in attack.

However, it's midfielder Jed Wallace who Swansea need to be wary of. The 28-year-old is Millwall's main creative source having registered more assists (10) and more key passes per game (2.4) than any other Lions star.

If he is able to utilise a statistically calculated strength of 'key passes', then Afobe and Bradshaw will benefit from Wallace's attacking influence as Millwall seek to get their play-off pursuit back on track.

And you can be sure that if Millwall do go ahead, then they have the defensive resolve to shut Swansea out. Their four top rated players are all defenders, with Jake Cooper and Shaun Hutchinson (both 7.09) leading the way. With the latter sidelined through injury, Murray Wallace (7.08) and Danny Ballard (6.91) will join Cooper in the three-man backline in a bid to help Millwall to a 14th clean sheet of the season.

The Lions don't often see much of the ball, but they do press forward quickly so Swansea need to be wary of being caught on the counter attack, because Rowett's side will remain compact and then seek to use Wallace's creativity to pry apart the Swans backline at the Den in midweek.

Key battle

Cardiff away Kyle Naughton

Every player put in a shift at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday as Swansea did the double over their fierce rivals in a resounding 4-0 win, with Kyle Naughton once again solid at the heart of the three-man defence.

Naughton returned a rating of 7.14 with his distribution again key. Millwall won't see much of the ball in midweek considering their approach, so ensuring Swansea dominate will aid their chances of extending their five-game unbeaten run at the Den.

One of Naughton's two strengths is 'passing' and for good reason, too. Only team-mate Matt Grimes (100.4) is making more passes per game than Naughton (81.6) in the Championship this season, while only Flynn Downes (92.5%) has a better pass success rate than the 33-year-old (91.9%).

If able to help turn defence into attack, then there is no reason why the Swans can't make it three wins from their last four on Tuesday night.

He'll need to be up to scratch defensively, also, with Naughton expected to come up against Benik Afobe. Six of the striker's nine league goals have come at home, including a brace in Millwall's recent 2-0 win over Huddersfield.

Key stat

While Swansea have a decent record at the Den, Millwall are certainly not to be underestimated in the on home turf.

Twenty-three home goals scored is one of the poorer returns in the league, but only West Brom (12) have conceded fewer home goals than the Lions (13) in England's second tier this term.

In addition, only Sheffield United (10) and Middlesbrough (8) are currently on longer unbeaten home streaks in the Championship than Gary Rowett's side (7). Millwall's play-off push may have stuttered, but they are not to be taken lightly at the Den on Tuesday.