February 27, 2020

EFL Championship Match Previews – 29th February Saturday

Cardiff v Brentford

Two promotion hopefuls that have hit a bad patch of form are Cardiff City and Brentford, and both square off this weekend in Wales as they look to get back on track. Cardiff are winless in three, whilst it is four without success for Brentford. Both suffered midweek defeats, and for Brentford it was a surprising setback to strugglers Luton Town.

Whilst it was a shock loss for Brentford, deep down it possibly wasn’t as much of a shock as it is made out to be. The reason being is that Thomas Frank is suffering a bit of a selection headache at this moment in time due to several injury problems within his squad. In-form defender Julian Jeanvier was the latest name added to that list when sitting out the Luton game, whilst Christian Nørgaard was forced off in the second half. That means the Bees could be missing ten players this weekend, and six would be serious starting eleven contenders.

Cardiff have injury problems of their own, with star man Lee Tomlin still out with injury and will be for many more weeks. Whilst Cardiff are winless in their last two games since he has been injured, another worry is they haven’t scored a goal either. Tomlin is without a doubt their offensive spark and offers something completely different to the rest of the squad. Without him, the team misses out collectively, and that gives a big advantage to Brentford, who at least still have red-hot Ollie Watkins, Saïd Benrahma and Bryan Mbeumo fit and raring to go.

However, they were all available at Luton, a Luton team that has the worst defensive record in the league, but still came off second best. Frank had to change formation because of the injury problems, and perhaps that took something away from the team going forward as it moved them away from the 4-3-3 which has served them so well. A 3-4-3 may not seem that much different, but the dynamics do mean it is a sizeable difference to make an impact.

Brentford have been inconsistent away this season by failing win to 11 of their 18 away from Griffin Park. Cardiff have only lost twice at home, but they have a poor record against the top sides in this league. It is tough to pick a winner here, but it should be tight considering both have their injury problems, played in midweek and will afford big respect to the opposition. Under 2.5 Goals appears the most logical and sensible play.

Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Under 2.50 at 1.860

Millwall v Bristol City

Millwall and Bristol City are two teams that still could make the play-offs at the end of the season, and another familiarity regarding these two is that going into this weekend they are in poor form. Bristol City are particularly having some problems on a count of losing four of their last five, including three in succession. Millwall have won once in eight.

Millwall did experience something of a bounce when Gary Rowett was appointed as manager. He won’t have been the first or last manager to experience this when taking over a new club. The problem is that once they bounce does end it is hard to regain it, and they’re finding that out now. The goals have dried up and that is without doubt their biggest problem. They’ve netted just two across their last six encounters, and in one of their previous four at home.

Bristol City have developed the tag ‘streaky’ over the last season or so and the run they are experiencing now unfortunately for them is something they’ve become accustomed too. However, the one positive that they’ll be holding onto is the fact that these runs have ended before when it seemed as though it never would. Therefore, they’ve got every chance of winning at Millwall on Saturday, but clearly they need to improve. Their showing at Huddersfield was their poorest for a while according to Lee Johnson.

Considering this is a clash involving two teams struggling for form and particularly goals, there is every chance a tactical affair may break out. There is no likely to be huge confidence in front of goal for either, so set pieces are going to be rather important on the day. Therefore, a scrappy match is anticipated, meaning that Under 2.5 Goals has to be a worthy consideration.

Furthermore, only one of Millwall’s previous ten has defeated this goal line. They often get teams to play to their level, and whilst Bristol City like to get on the ball and play, this is likely to be a back to front sort of match and little rhythm is expected for prolonged periods. Five of Bristol City’s previous six on the road also ended below 2.5 goals, plus we cannot ignore the lack of confidence aspect which will further bring these two out of sort’s opponents closer together. The first goal is likely to be key in this, and the earlier that arrives the better as the leader probably won’t go all out for a second.

Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation:  Under 2.50 at 1.79

West Brom v Wigan

West Brom maintained their assault towards a return to the Premier League when beating Preston North End 2-0 at home last time out. It is now six without defeat, winning five. This was the perfect response to losing away at Cardiff, and Slaven Bilic has built a well-oiled machine. Wigan have come into life in recent times as well, and back-to-back wins have given them additional belief that they can produce another great escape against relegation for the second consecutive season.

Clearly WBA will be big favourites to win this match given they are top of the table and Wigan are battling relegation. However, a word of caution is that for all they’ve been in great form overall in recent times, their home record still remains a bit of a concern. They still actually have failed to win more than they’ve won at home; winning eight compared to a combination of seven draws and two losses at The Hawthorns.

It is also noticeable that West Brom have been made to work especially harder against the lesser teams in the league. Against the current bottom seven across 12 meetings, West Brom only have five wins. Also, their two home defeats came versus Middlesbrough and Stoke City respectively, who sit just above the relegation zone. Wigan therefore may fancy their chances.

Still, a big display will be needed from the Latics to emerge with a point, let alone all three. True, they do have back-to-back wins to their name, but versus mid-table opposition. The key for them now is to test themselves against the Championship elite, and for all that WBA have found it tough against the strugglers, Wigan have made life harder for the top sides, too. They drew with West Brom earlier in the season, won away at Leeds and beat Nottingham Forest.

It is hard to ignore Wigan’s general struggles away from home. Winning 3-0 at Reading last time out is as good as it gets for them on the road. They’re not three unbeaten away, so they’re now building some confidence in that regard. They do seem to come alive at this time of season to get them out of trouble. West Brom are almost coasting towards promotion, and they can ill afford to be complacent in this one.

Both are in good form and an entertaining contest is anticipated. West Brom’s inconsistent home form does open the door to Wigan to cause an upset, and they’re normally good for a goal, especially when in good shape. Wigan are rarely reliable defensively, and the Baggies are the top scorers in the league for a reason. Over 2.5 Goals looks the best call, all things considered.

Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.50 at 1.750

Preview by:@JamesOR1.

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