Talking Tactics | Swansea City v Millwall
Swansea City earned their first league win of the season on Saturday as they secured a hard-fought 1-0 win at Blackpool to get their campaign up and running. Attention now turns to the welcome of Millwall tonight with WhoScored.com on hand to look at what to expect from the Lions, the key battle and a key stat to whet the appetite.
What to expect from Millwall
Like a number of Championship teams, Gary Rowett likes to set his Millwall side up in a three-man backline. The Lions have made a respectable start to the season having won two of their opening three league matches. However, on the road so far, they have lost both matches, falling to Cambridge in the Carabao Cup before succumbing to a 2-0 defeat at Sheffield United.
Back-to-back defeats on their travels means Millwall have now failed to win in eight on the road stretching back to last season, scoring just five times in that period. Rowett will want to shake his side out of this current away day funk to help them launch another sustained push for a play-off finish.
Three of the five goals they have scored this season have been by centre-backs and they need their frontmen to start chipping in with the goods. That said, with George Honeyman pulling the strings in the final third, the Lions have a quality creative outlet, with the summer arrival returning a WhoScored.com rating of 7.68 across his two league outings.
Following the departure of Jed Wallace for for West Brom, there was ample pressure on Honeyman to shoulder the creative responsibility and he has done so well, creating seven goalscoring chances in his two appearances, more than any other Millwall player. Having scored one and assisted another, getting the former Hull man in possession close to the opposition goal is vital for the Lions.
Stopping Honeyman then is key for Swansea. One of the Swans' statistically calculated WhoScored.com weaknesses is 'stopping opponents from creating chances', that in itself a strength of Millwall. As such, the WhoScored.com match forecast suggests that it is likely Millwall will 'create scoring chances' and don't be surprised if the bulk of those come through Honeyman's ingenuity.
The Lions also look to dominate in the air, so keeping the ball on the deck and playing 'the Swansea way' will work in the hosts' favour at the Swansea.com Stadium tonight.
Andy Fisher comes into tonight's game with the wind in his sails. Fisher was vital in Swansea's 1-0 win at Blackpool at the weekend, earning the WhoScored.com man-of-the-match award with a rating of 8.00, that in itself his best rated in a Championship match. The 24-year-old made four saves against the Tangerines, including a Jerry Yates penalty stop shortly after the restart, reinforcing a WhoScored.con strength of 'penalty saving'.
In addition, 'shot stopping' is another strength of his, so Fisher will be looking to keep his good form going at Millwall's expense. He'll likely be up against Benik Afobe more often than not on home turf. Afobe has managed just four shots across three scoreless league appearances, but he is a key focal point and proven Championship goalscorer.
Whoever comes out on top when the two players go head-to-head could be key in the final outcome.
Swansea come into the meeting tonight unbeaten in five against Millwall, winning three in that run. The Swans have also kept three successive clean sheets against the Lions, which they will hope bodes well for them against a side not renowned for scoring many goals on their travels.