The 2022-23 EFL Championship season is almost here. One of the games on matchday one will see Millwall take on Stoke City at the Den. In the last season, the hosts were challenging for a spot in the promotion playoffs, but that faded away in the final few weeks. Ultimately, they finished ninth on the table. Meanwhile, the visitors finished in the bottom half of the table for the fourth consecutive season since being relegated from the Premier League in 2017-18.
Millwall ended the 2021-22 EFL Championship in the 9th position on the points table. The team finished with a record of 18 wins, 15 draws and 13 losses and a goal difference of +8. The Lions were expected to concede 67 goals, but they ended up massively overperforming by letting in only 45. They were the best-performing defence in the league, according to the xGA. In terms of ranking, they had the joint fourth-best defence alongside West Brom and Sheffield United. If Millwall’s attack is stronger this season, they could possibly challenge for a spot in the promotion playoffs.
Seen above is the shot map of Millwall last season, excluding the penalties. Their top goalscorer was Benik Afobe with 12 goals, who overachieved his xG. Following him is Tom Bradshaw and Jed Wallace, with nine and six goals, respectively. The team took 526 shots and netted 51 goals (excluding own goals scored by opponents), giving them a shot conversion rate of 10.31 shots per goal scored.
Stoke City endured another poor campaign in the EFL Championship last season, finished 14th on the points table with 62 points despite having a positive goal difference of +5. Their record stood at 17 wins, 11 draws and 18 losses. The Potters marginally outperformed their xA but underachieved on their xG. They won 79% of their defensive actions, 50% of their aerial duels and made 40.4 interceptions per 90 and 81.3 recoveries per 90, adjusted for possession.
For Stoke City, the Bosnian man, Mario Vrančić, was the most successful threat creator but the majority of the threat he created came from set-pieces, particularly from corner kicks. But, he has now left the club this summer for Croatian team HNK Rijeka. From open play, it was right-back Tommy Smith who generated the majority of the threat, but he too has left the team as a result of his non-renewal of the contract. Both these men had the most assists for the Potters last season, with Smith assisting six times and Vrančić five.
Both teams will be looking to start this long EFL Championship season on a positive note. The hosts will look to build on a promotion-challenging run and the visitors will aim to finish in the top half of the table.