Championship Predictions: Gameweek 24

Callum Wilson

Callum Wilson

In the Championship, Millwall manager Ian Holloway has become one of the most under pressure managers in the Championship, and his next opponents, Bournemouth, are capable of running riot away from home. Ipswich can get a 13th win of the season when they play Charlton, who have slid down the table of late.

Millwall v Bournemouth

This fixture was played on the final day of last season, and after a 1-0 win for Millwall saw them retain their Championship status, Lions fans all ran onto the pitch in celebration. 7 months on, it is fair to suggest that the atmosphere at the Den will be very different.

Millwall have won only twice since August, during which month they picked up 10 of their 23 points. Indeed, if the season had started in September, the Lions would be level on points with Blackpool, who are cut adrift at the bottom. Millwall pass the ball around nicely enough in their own half, and they often dominate the possession statistics. However, it seems as though players do not have the confidence to risk losing the ball by attacking at pace in the final third.

Millwall are built on the traditions of direct, high-pressure football, and that is what Ian Holloway needs to bring back to the Den. Fans clearly want to see their team play on the front foot at home, with 2 wingers and 2 strikers. Lee Gregory is a lively forward who can finish well, but he does not have the strength to play up front on his own, he needs a target man in front of him to win the initial balls into the box.

With Holloway coming under scrutiny from supporters, Millwall have hardly picked the right time to play Bournemouth, because whenever a club is in a difficult position, Eddie Howe’s side always take full advantage. Their 4-0 opening day win at Huddersfield prompted the opposition boss to walk out, they hit 8 past managerless Birmingham City, and 6 past Blackpool. Intriguingly, all of those wins have come away from home, which suggests that the Cherries thrive when the home fans start to get agitated.

Bournemouth attack with flair and flamboyance. They have players with technical talent, but more importantly, they always have at least 2 or 3 men making good runs off the ball. If you are a footballer, you would love to be the one with the ball in that Bournemouth side, because there are so many players around you finding space.

Striker Callum Wilson has replaced Lewis Grabban immaculately, yet to say that Bournemouth are reliant on him would be unfair on the rest of their team. They have goals throughout the side, with Matt Ritchie and Brett Pitman among many others firing, which makes Bournemouth a team to be feared. This blog believes they will beat Millwall, and we may see another mauling.

Ipswich v Charlton

Just a month ago, Ipswich won the reverse fixture 1-0, after a dramatic late goal from Noel Hunt. In that match, the team showed some excellent defensive qualities. They were put under pressure for long spells, but defended with stoic determination, and kept Igor Vetokele very quiet. The one question mark about Ipswich over the last 2 years has been their away record, but that performance showed that they are capable of grinding out results on the road. The Tractor Boys have taken 11 points from their last 5 away games, which suggests improvement in that regard.

They won away on Boxing Day against promotion rivals Brentford. They were 3-0 up after half an hour, and were prepared to sit deep for the rest of the match, letting their opponents have the ball. Although the 4-2 scoreline suggests a nervy ending, Ipswich scored their 4th goal straight after Brentford got their first, with 10 minutes to go, and were comfortable throughout. That is a fantastic result for Ipswich, who have proved their promotion credentials.

Charlton, on the other hand, are slipping down the table. They have only won twice since September, and have a bizarre habit of drawing games. The problem for the Addicks is that a large proportion of their goals comes from long shots, and there is a concerning lack of creativity in the side. With the aforementioned Vetokele struggling for both form and fitness, Charlton will not convert many of those draws into wins, which is why it is difficult to see them finishing in the top half this season. Ipswich will be comfortable victors here.

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