Millwall won their opening fixture of the 2022-23 EFL Championship season against Stoke City at home on Saturday, the 30th of July 2022. Both the goals were scored by the debutant Charlie Cresswell, who is on loan from Leeds United this season. He scored in the 12th minute and 65th minute to give the Lions a comfortable victory against the Potters.
Millwall lined up in a 3-4-1-2 formation for this match. Bartosz Bialkowski was the goalkeeper, and he was supported by a back-three of goalscorer Charlie Cresswell, captain Jake Cooper and Murray Wallace. Ryan Leonard and Scott Malone were the right and left wing-backs, respectively, and they supported the two deeper midfielders – Billy Mitchell and Jamie Shackleton. The front-three of George Honeyman, Tom Bradshaw and Benik Afobe fluidly altered their positions as and when required. Stoke City set up in a 3-5-2 for this game, with Josef Bursik in goal and a back-three of Connor Taylor, Aden Flint and Ben Wilmot. Harry Clarke and Josh Tymon supported the midfield trio of Sam Clucas, Lewis Baker and Josh Laurent as wing-backs. Upfront was the pairing of Dwight Gayle and Tyrese Campbell.
Stoke City saw the majority of the ball possession at 57%. Yet, Millwall had far more shots (13 compared to Stoke’s four) and shots on target (five to two). They also had twice as many shots off target, and four of their attempts were blocked. The Lions had eight corner kicks to the Potters’ two. They were also caught offside three times in this match. They committed nearly twice as many fouls as the visitors, but Stoke City had more yellow cards. Stoke also had one big chance to score a goal but missed it. Millwall took far more shots from inside Stoke’s penalty area (13) than the shots Stokes attempted from Millwall’s penalty area (two). But Bursik, the Stoke keeper, saved more shots than his counterpart.
Just like with a higher share of possession, Stoke City completed more passes at a higher rate than Millwall. But it proved to be of little use as they lost the game. Millwall made more long balls and crosses in this game than the Potters and did so at a higher rate. Millwall turned the ball over more times than their opponents, won fewer duels and made fewer tackles. But, in the end, it did not matter as the Lions won the game whilst also keeping a clean sheet.
Millwall could not have hoped for a better start to the 2022-23 campaign, and they will look to carry the momentum into their next match against Sheffield United away from home on 6th August. On the other hand, Stoke City will look to bounce back from the opening day defeat when they host Blackpool, which is also on 6th August.
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