Millwall vs Bournemouth | Wednesday 21st April 2021, 18:00 | Sky Sports
It’s a big game for Bournemouth on Wednesday night as if they win and Reading lose, it will ensure a play-off place for the Cherries. I am expecting Bournemouth to get something out of the game, but the hosts will make them work hard for it.
The Lions are performing slightly better on the road than at home this season yet at the New Den they have a tight defence conceding just 19 goals in their 21 games. However, they have conceded to eight of the top 10.
I am expecting a tough game but I am confident that the Cherries will find a way to score at least once. Millwall have nothing to play for and on top of that manager, Gary Rowett has confirmed there is a growing list of injuries.
The Lions are already without Shaun Hutchinson, Ryan Leonard, Ben Thompson, Matt Smith and Kenneth Zohore. But Rowett has revealed that Shane Ferguson, Mason Bennett and Murray Wallace are all expected to miss the visit of the play-off chasing Cherries. “At the moment I think we’ve got six subs on the bench. That’s where we stand now and what we will go with”.
Despite the Lions having a good defensive record they do allow a number of shots and shots on target, sitting 11th and 14th respectively. Bournemouth are not the side you want to invite to shoot given that they are the 2nd highest scorers in the Championship with an average of 1.64 per game and sit 3rd for both shots and shots on target on their travels.
The visitors have now won six on the spin and have found the net in 14 of Jonathan Woodgates 15 games in charge. They put three past Norwich on Saturday night and have recently scored three past Swansea, beat Watford 1-0 and scored twice at Barnsley.
I am expecting Bournemouth to dominate the ball and therefore I believe we will see the visitors rack up the corners as they search for a goal. The Cherries average 4.87 corners under Woodgate and have 4 or more in 12 of the 15 games under him, so we should see plenty of shots which should allow the corners to land.
I am also going to take the visitors to collect at least one card. Millwall have seen their visitors average 1.86 cards this season and they have collected one or more in 18 of 20 home games this season. Bournemouth on the road have an average of 1.45 this season and under Woodgate they have collected at least one card in 12 of 15 games and six of seven away from home.
Keith Stroud is the man in the middle and with an average of 3.2 cards per championship game, I am confident he wont let us down
Bournemouth over 0 goals, Bournemouth over 3 corners and Bournemouth over 0 cards is the bet at 43/20 with Bet365.
Birmingham vs Nottingham Forest | Wednesday 21st April 2021, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Lee Bowyer has saved Birmingham from a relegation fight and has all but secured their championship status. When he took over the club, they were 23rd with 35 points and now sit 19th on 48 points following W4-D1-L1, with their one defeat coming at the hands of inform Watford. At home it is now three wins from three game with just one goal conceded beating Swansea, Reading and Stoke.
Bowyer has managed to pull everyone together, whether that is the players that are starting the game, or those with only a bit-part to play and the results have been impressive. There has not been a huge change in the underlying metrics since he took over, but the players on the pitch are fighting for each other and the club, something that wasn’t happening under the previous manager.
With Rotherham just nine points behind but with two games in hand the Blues can’t afford to let up just yet and Bowyer has been in the press leading up to this match saying that he wants to win every game. He talked about trusting his players to go and out and get a result when they face Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night.
Given the impact Bowyer has made and how they are full of confidence I am not sure I can see the Blues losing this match.
Forest come into this match having suffered defeat to Huddersfield, who had looked in trouble having been beaten by seven at Norwich a few weeks back. They have a squad that looks better on paper than it is performing and Forest are very inconsistent with just two wins in this last 10 games and an away record of W6-D6-L9.
Whilst the victory over QPR was deserved the 1-0 win at Cardiff was less so with a xG of just 0.54. Goals have been hard to come by for Forest on the road this season with just 0.71 scored and with only 2 sides having fewer shots on target Forest are always going to struggle to score goals.
I think Forest and the players are quite keen for the summer to arrive. There needs to be a clear out of several players as manager Chris Hughton looks to put his own stamp on the squad. The general feeling among supporters is that there are too many well-paid players at the club that are simply not interested or have the desire needed to get out of the division.
The Championship is a tough league and as Bowyer and Birmingham have shown, you need everyone pulling in the same direction to do well, something that appears to be lacking at Forest.
Rotherham vs Middlesbrough | Wednesday 21st April 2021, 18:00 | Sky Sports
Another team desperate for the points is Rotherham who have had a hectic schedule with this their 5th game in the last 11 days. The players must be physically and mentally drained especially with defeats to both Birmingham and Coventry, which has added further pressure onto Wednesday nights match at Middlesbrough.
Rotherham boss Paul Warne has said that he wants full commitment from his players. “Hand on heart, it will not be easy, but we are going to have to play six games full out no matter what happens. So, we might as well leave everything out there”. I am expecting a battling performance from the hosts, but I am not sure they have the quality.
Their last two matches have been huge as they were against other sides who had they won would have been pulled into the relegation scrap, but despite have the majority of possession in both games they failed to register a shot on target.
Despite playing well at home over the course of the season, Rotherham have struggled to find that little bit of quality when it mattered, they sit 9th for home xG, but 20th for goal ratio. They are creating opportunities but failing to take them.
Whilst the season for Boro is over with nothing to play for, I very much doubt Neil Warnock will allow them to turn up live on Sky on go through the motions. However, he has said this week that training has been flat and he needs to rebuild the squad over the summer and a number of players will leave, yet he has challenge some players to show him that they are good enough to be in his plans for next season.
If Rotherham struggle again I expect their frustrations to get the better of them and as we saw in both the Coventry and Birmingham game, they will pick up fouls and cards. No side has collected more cards at home than the Millers with an average of 1.95 and only Birmingham commit more fouls at home than the hosts. Boro on their travels see their hosts collect an average of 1.55 cards and the 6th most fouled team.
The hosts have collected nine bookings in their last three home games, collecting one or more cards in 18 of 20 home games and two or more in 13. Boro have seen their hosts collect two or cards in 50% of away games.
The referee here is Darren Bond. He has taken charge of 20 Championship games this season and hands out an average of 3.55 cards per game. He has taken charge of one previous Millers game this season and dished out two yellow cards.
This game won’t be easy for the hosts, despite having the games in hand and the feeling that they might survive, there is a reason they find themselves in the bottom three and at this stage of the season I would rather have the points on the board than games in hand.
As we have seen in their previous two “big” matches the failed to deliver and whilst Boro have nothing to play for they should offer enough to frustrate the home side.
Rotherham over 1 card at 5/6 with Bet365.