This season, both Bradford and Millwall have enjoyed very solid campaigns and are worthy of their place at Wembley. However, only one can earn promotion via this match and thus, despite their promising campaign, one of this pair will be sentenced to another season in the third tier.
In terms of the way in which they earned their right to play at Wembley, it was probably Bradford who impressed the most. They managed to get the better of a very sturdy Fleetwood side, keeping clean sheets in both the home and away leg. Such a performance will have filled the Yorkshire side full of confidence. On the other hand, Scunthorpe came through in contrasting fashion having showcased their scoring ability to win 3-2 in the final-leg against Scunthorpe. Such goal-scoring prowess bodes well, although in a tense final, perhaps defensive solidity is a better attribute.
A case could easily be made for both of these two teams; however, it’s best to avoid siding with either. Instead, the bet that appeals most is ‘Under 1.5 Goals’. Stuart McCall’s team proved just how solid they’re at the back during the semi-finals, not to mention the campaign overall, and are fancied to put in another impressive defensive display. In fairness, much of the same can be said about Millwall. Neil Harris’ men were involved in a five-goal-thriller last time against Scunthorpe, but a repeat doesn’t appear all that likely, given the high-pressure nature of this fixture. What does seem likely is a repeat of their tense, tight 0-0 draw in the first leg of those semi-finals.
What catches the eye about both of this pair defensively is how few shots on target they managed to concede on average throughout the season. At home, Millwall conceded, on average, League One’s lowest number of shots on target, while Bradford recorded the fifth-lowest. On the road, their stats in this department were also respectable, with them both ranking inside the top half. During their respective semi-final clashes, both teams proved that they’re more than capable of preventing the opposition from playing and, therefore, this could be a bit of a cagey midfield battle rather than a frantic end-to-end affair.
What’s more, Bradford and Millwall were right up there in terms of clean sheets during the regular season. The former kept a fairly impressive 16 clean sheets, while Millwall’s total of 14 was also very respectable. The pair have also added three shutouts between them (in four play-off games) since the end of the regular campaign.
In what is likely to be a tight game – a game where neither one will want to give anything away cheaply given the prize at stake – a lack of both clear-cut chances and goals is expected.
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