Millwall and Leeds – who don’t like each other much – renew hostilities this weekend at the New Den in a game which finds the hosts trying to put an indifferent first six games behind them while their opponents look to continue an excellent start that has put them (joint) top of the table. Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds (that still doesn’t look right written down) can do their promotion bid a huge favour by picking up three points in South East London.
Neil Harris will be hoping that Millwall can stem a tide of defeats which currently stands at three in the League, so he could have done with not facing a side that is finding the net with merry abandon. Aside from a 0-0 draw with fellow table-toppers Middlesbrough, Leeds have scored in all of their games so far.
Millwall vs Leeds United Prediction: Millwall 1-3 Leeds United
There are probably three worse teams than Millwall in this Championship, so they don’t need to start worrying about relegation. However, with just one win from six games, they certainly aren’t going to put the frighteners on a young Leeds side that has embraced the style of their new manager to impressive effect. Leeds are dynamic and skilful going forward. Millwall are neither of these things, and their defence is – charitably speaking – a work in progress, so we’d fancy Leeds to win with something to spare here.
Our recommended tip: Leeds HT/FT
Bielsa drills his teams to attack early and often, and their transitions from defence to attack have bamboozled more than a few Championship managers already. While Harris shows promise as a head coach, it is difficult to see his charges holding out for very long against the side with the second-most goals in the League so far, and we’re backing Leeds to control this game from soup to nuts. They’ve led at half time in three of their four wins so far, and those have mostly come against better opposition than they’re facing this afternoon. With odds of 3/1 at Unibet, Leeds to lead at half time and win the match seems like a decent shout.
Judging strictly on the basis of recent meetings, this isn’t a fixture which holds great memories for Leeds in recent years. The last time the sides met, at Elland Road, the hosts fell behind 2-0 and lost captain Liam Cooper to a red card within the first 45 minutes. They then managed to completely turn things around, scoring three goals in the first 17 minutes of the second half, before still finding a way to Leeds it up, sloppy possession allowing Millwall to score twice in the closing five minutes of the game and emerge with the 4-3 win.
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Players to watch: Aiden O’Brien & Barry Douglas
O’Brien got his international career off to a fine start in the week, scoring for Ireland in a 1-1 draw with Poland, and will be buzzing on his return to club duty. He has had a slowish start to the season for Millwall, but so has everybody, and his debut goal for his country showcased a poacher’s knack as he drifted between defenders to head home a near-post cross despite his small stature.
Douglas is one of a number of Leeds players who seems Premier League-ready today. The Scotland international will play on the left of defence and in Bielsa’s 3-3-3-1 formation will get forward quickly when his side have the ball. His crossing plays a key part in Leeds’ attacking style of football and his two assists so far this season mean that he is someone Millwall will need to keep an eye on.