Match Discussion: Millwall v Swans - Championship 2020/21

edited April 10 in Swansea City

This is the place to discuss all things related to the Millwall v Swans Championship game on Saturday, 10 April 2021 at 12:30pm.

Referee Robert Jones will be assisted by Darren Cann and Rob Smith, with Geoff Eltringham the 4th Official for the game.

Have a browse of the Millwall v Swansea City Head to Head Statistics since their first meeting at the Den in 1921.

Share your pre and post match thoughts, views on Steve Cooper's pre or post match comments and team selection.



  • They way we are playing at present.


  • Millwall have very tall physical defenders right across the back and will present similar set-piece aerial threats as Cardiff did . For this reason, I would bring in Bennett to help combat that threat and that, in turn, would be better handled by reverting to 3/5 at the back.

  • @Fledge - this is exactly the mind set that I would try and blow up.

    Frick picking a team to limit the damage done to us by Millwall - lets pick a team and tactics that will take the game to them.

    If we dominate territory and possession set piece defending becomes an increasing "non issue".

  • Yes, a fair point, I get what you are saying, and I feel a small sense of shame in suggesting it 🙂

    I recognise the negative connotations but, if one believes that we would better with a back 3/5 than with a back 4, then in view of the aerial threat posed by Millwall, I would opt for Bennett, rather than say Joel or Naughton.

    Whilst I was delighted with SC going with a back 4 against Preston, I don't think it achieved an improvement in our pattern of play and, now, at this late stage of the season, I'd say that it's too late to persevere with, so reluctantly I'd go back to the more normal 3/5 at the back.

  • 3-5-2 is better for us given the squad we have

    If we'd kept some of the 7 wingers we had under GP , then Brendan's 4-2-3-1-is my favourite but we have no wide men left apart from Lowe and Routledge so it's got tob 3-5-2 as least worst option

  • Just realised the game is on Sky again.Recently this has generally meant the kiss of death for our performances/results.😯

  • I would still go 4-2-3-1 @northernswan2 - I agree with you entirely on formation preference - this is the Swansea way.

    One of the main reasons why is because Ayew's wandering destroys most formations - BUT if he is instructed to live on the offside line and last defender we still have enough quality in the other 9 outfield positions IMO to dominate most teams in the championship.

    The 2 holding midfielders should be able to keep the back door shut to counter attacks - which we will be vulnerable to as we try and pass through the thirds. Bennett and Cabango are tough enough to win headers when required.

    People have spoken about Guehi being tried in midfield - but to me Naughton is an absolute natural - and has done it before.

    Several posters (give you all credit) have said that without a change in approach formation is pointless - and i 100% agree.

    So this weeks change is to stick with at the back 4 BUT insist on passing the ball along the carpet with pace and purchase. If we get picked off for counter attacks playing that way - then I will be OK with it. We need courage to attack with purpose and intensity - and move these big teams around - Ayew to stretch the game long and Whittaker and Lowe to stretch it wide with overlapping fullbacks - trust me the opposition will hate it!

    Also - as pointed out by several others - we need to play the ball through the middle to attack using the whole pitch (not just wide) clever short passing will keep the opposition off balance.


    Roberts Cabango Bennett Manning

    Naughton Grimes

    Lowe Smith Whittaker


    Because of the intensity I would be asking from my players in movement off the ball I would also make the 5 required subs - so potentially plenty of game time for Fulton Guehi Hourihane Dhanda Bidwell Cooper etc.

  • We have tried 3-5-2, 4-3-3, 4- 1-2-1-2, 5-3-1-1 and all variations that have produced the same as 3-5-2 just wing backs becoming fullbacks and becoming 4-3-3 with no service from midfield.

    If people cant see it now they never will, the defence of 3 is not the problem no matter which 3, the forwards might not be a problem if they were serviced as forwards not continually dropping into midfield or wide to get the ball, meaning we never get into the oppositions box quick enough or fill the box.

    Strikers will score if they receive the ball in or around the box, the don't have that luxury, the reason our midfield is pathetic, pedestrian, side wards, back wards and often missing the passes.

    Roberts and Bidwell are fine both can cross the ball and both good headers of the ball so yes they stay as left and right midfield, the problem is the centre, the driving force, the engine room, the win it and distribute it, the defence splitting passes, the driving through with runs, this is where we are hopeless, Grimes or Hourihane cant do it, both left sided playing middle, just not working, as they are not powerful enough.

    Whether its Smith or Fulton that occupy 1 central role they need someone with a bit of power to drive forward, for this reason I will say it again use Guihi, forget he is the best defender, we wont get rellegated, can he play there, yes of coarse, he has gone forward a few times when he had no one to pass to, he also did it at youth level, there have been bigger ex centre backs than him converted young to become World class central midfielders.

    GK ( Whoever) Back 3 Naughton Bennet, Cabango, Midfield 4 Roberts, Smith Guihi Bidwell, up top Lowe on right, Whittaker centre Ayew Left.

    No square pegs in rounds holes, players playing on their natural sided. Guihi would not be a square peg. 3-4-3 is played by the most attacking teams in the World, they have tried the rest, lets try to see if this could be the best.

    The worst that could happen is we lose but we would not get hammered in central midfield or run ragged as we are now.

    Desperate times call for measures that are not desperate but proactive and aggressive in forward play

  • you'd leave our (Chelsea's) best defender out?

    Really ?


  • Yes - he looks ready for a break IMO.

  • No not leave him out, put him in a position where the team would benefit from his strength and ability in a more forward role.

    That position is where we are weakest, there is no problem with any permutation for the back 3.

    We no longer need to concentrate so much defensively, we need to start attacking and scoring, we wont with out current midfield swap arounds.

    Its being positive in methodology not negative and concentrating on defence like Cooper insists on doing

  • The disadvantage of playing with fullbacks and not wingbacks is the loss of creativity in the opposition penalty box Bidwell ( 7 assists 1 goal ) Roberts ( 5 assists 4 goals )

    How many times this season have we seen them get onto crosses from the other .

    The last 10 games have seen us struggle to score goals and keep clean sheets , the hardest problem to solve .

    Do you concentrate on keeping it tight and nicking a 1 nil or go all out attack and get done on the counter .

    Cooper is likely to go for the former .

    Ayew could do with a break , did nothing in Mondays game ,


    Ayew on £73 grand a week .

  • I think we're pretty much agreed that something needs to change. Personally I don't think the formation is the issue, we were just as inept in possession (perhaps more so) with a 4-3-3 as we were with a 3-4-1-2. The fundamental problem with Cooper is his over-reliance on playing down the flanks (we do so more than any team in the Championship) and the excessive haste in getting the ball forwards. To be fair to Cooper we do play intricate short passing triangles in the final third - our problem is getting the ball there often enough, because we bypass the middle of the pitch and too readily attack down the flanks with lofted passes or long throws, which inevitably result in a lot of lost possession.

    The question for me, is what changes might Cooper realistically make going forwards? I very much doubt we will play patiently through the thirds, because we've only really (and rarely) seen that against teams that have dropped deep (e.g. Bristol City first half, but not the second), or that haven't been focussed on making it difficult for us to progress up the pitch (e.g. Cardiff away, and some of the better teams, such as Norwich, who have been focussed more on imposing their game than nullifying us). I also doubt whether we would succeed even if that was the change in approach, as we're not going to acquire a short-passing one-touch assurance overnight.

    To my mind the way we should change things is to do the opposition what has been inflicted on us of late. Press them high up the pitch with a 3-4-3 and risk a high defensive line i.e. the Barnsley approach. Wales adopted this approach with their B team against a near-full strength Mexico, who were 9th in the world rankings at the time, with great effect. Even Kieffer Moore was effective in chasing down the Mexican back line, that coughed up a lot of possession in dangerous areas. When Wales, with a much stronger lineup, against a decent Czech side, didn't pursue this approach, the result was the Czechs dominated proceedings. Same 1-0 result as the Mexico game, but far more fortunate.

    If Charlie10 is to be believed then we are the side that presses the ball least in the Championship - so, if this is true, then perhaps it's asking a bit much to expect Cooper to adopt a Bayern Munich/Barnsley approach. But as radical changes go, if the evidence of that Wales Mexico is anything to go by, this should be easier to implement than suddenly adopting a passing game. I also think the players would relish a more agressive approach now that confidence is low.

    Does Cooper have the skillset as a coach to implement a high press? More to the point does he realise how much we've lost our way that a radical solution is essential?

  • Thanks for that Malc - what wider point are you trying to make there?

  • @garythenotrashcougar

    Didn't you recently state that Ayew is on £5m pa ? That's £96k per week not £73k per week as quoted by @Malc . Poor dab, he must be on the breadline only earning that much 😅

  • I personally don't think we have the mentality of player let alone the fitness aspect to press teams high for the remaining games, and as much as we have struggled through the season, we need to go back to pre-Hourihane days and refer back to the 3 centre backs and midfield axis of Grimes, Fulton and Smith with Dhanda as the forward midfielder at home games.

    Losing out on a Play Off place after failing to be out of the top four for the vast majority of the season will be a huge disappointment. Not so much for the stubborn decision making in so many departments, but a reminder once more perhaps of the lack of real financial backing from our owners when an automatic promotion place was up for grabs. Or, a huge bloomer by our head coach in failing to demand that the striker position was a top priority that needed the same financial outlay that was spent on securing Hourihane and perhaps a younger, promising midfielder on loan rather than the other way round when we signed Whittaker. Jordan Morris played just 91 minutes in the EFL and one start in the F.A. Cup for the Swans and perhaps that little amount of game time could indicate once again how Cooper's sheer inability to rest what he felt as 'core players' can be seen as a major flaw in his coaching ability.

    What looked initially to be an interesting, unknown quantity regarding 3 of the players signed in the January window has turned out to be a relative disaster and while Conor has provided goals and assists from midfield in all reality his inability to blend with our existing midfielders when we havn't got the ball has inadvertently weakened the team.

  • This final push reminds me of the last season in the premier where we thrashed West Ham then didn’t win again for the last nine games where at that point we were above the bottom 3 looking good to avoid the drop . Since beating Norwich comfortably and looking good for a top six finish we now look like missing out once again

  • he needs to go and have a look at that game and see why it was so successful, and use that as his starting point from now until the end of the season.

  • I think you have the same view as me 3-4-3 is without doubt the most adventurous way to play, at least that way the 3 up top would be serviced from 2 wide Roberts/ Bidwell and in my opinion Smith and I would also place Guihi there, a pair who can break up play, drive forward or supply the 2 wide, as you stated its the way the best teams play and we have sod all to lose

  • Norwich didn't press us hard that day. No team will fail to do so from now on in, if they've got a professional setup that bothers to study the weaknesses of the opposition. We just have to assume that allcomers will press us hard, and have to adapt our approach accordingly. Hoping that the opposition will give us space would be naive in the extreme.

  • @Phillip - 3 at the back is a fashionable way to play - yes absolutely..

    BUT is it really the way that the best teams play? Check the top of the premier league and the champions league.

    Indeed check the top of the championship - Norwich put 7 past Huddersfield on the weekend playing with a 4-2-3-1 formation.

    3 at the back is good if it allows you to attack more - BUT when it quickly becomes 5 at the back it is a nightmare for players and fans.

  • Wales played a 3-4-3 against Mexico, and did so with a scratch B team that hadn't played as an unit before, and would have had little preparation time. By judicious use of subs the high press was maintained pretty much throughout - limiting Mexico to very few opportunities, mainly from balls over the top, which Hennessey dealt with well. This shows that the system can be coached with minimal preparation. I also don't accept that we're as jaded as some make out. Ayew and Lowe continue to put in a good shift defensively, the main reason they're less effective offensively is that they're being starved of opportunities by a misfiring back line and midfield.

    Barnsley have managed to be very effective with a high press all season, and increasingly so at this late stage of the season. They manage it with the second worse pass accuracy (only 58.7%) in the league - not surprising given how their approach means that the middle third is very congested, inevitably making it hard for Barnsley and their opponents alike to consistently find a team-mate - as we saw in both our matches against them.

    We need to change something. A passive approach doesn't cut it for me. We need to re-energise and go on the front foot. Otherwise I can see a similar end to the season to the one that saw us relegated from the Premier League.

  • @Jackareme

    My favourite formation is 4 2 3 1 unfortunately we don't have any wingers and don't have a centre forward who can hold the ball up .

    The manager has to find a system to suit the squad he has

    3 centre backs with wingbacks can be attacking providing they play beyond the half way line , give width to the team , nothing wrong with a back 5 without the ball back 3 with the ball .

    To compare the best teams in the Premier league to us isn't right , their players are so good they can play any formation , Man City have played most of the season without a centre forward ,

    Wolves play with a back 3 , Everton have tried , West Ham occasionally .

    Chelsea often play 3 centre backs .

    Norwich have some talented forward players they are suited to 2 centre backs , they have played the same for 3 seasons .

    The change after lockdown proved successful , this season was successful until now .

  • Yes we are not as good as Man City Liverpool Leicester etc - but the opposition aren't as good either.

    The other thing that I want to explore with you is that 4 at the back requires wingers - the way Norwich (and many others) play suggests it does not.

    What it can do is force you to play with the ball on the ground through the middle and use your full backs to provide width. Without natural wide men in our attacking units - surely this would be perfect for us?

    I thought that one of the most telling and damning statements I have seen this year came from Lee Bowyer after the shocking performance at Birmingham - words to the effect of " we knew exactly how Swansea would play - they have not changed at all in the past year"..

    Stumbling on the 3 at the back took a few by surprise at the end of last season - it is clearly now a busted flush.

    If we continue to attack almost always down the wings without anyone who can play wide then I am sorry but for me that asks serious questions of the coach.

    The switch to 4 at the back was a very positive move for me - and I applauded Cooper for it - as Mark and others have pointed out though, a change of formation is nothing without a change of approach.

    IMO we need to stick with the back 4 - get more midfielders and attackers on the pitch and attack with variety - ie using the middle of the pitch with passes into feet and rotation and movement.

    With Lowe Ayew Whittaker Hourihane Dhanda Routledge Fulton and Smith we have the personnel to do this.

    The beauty of this type of forum is the opportunity to debate with fans who share a love for the club and have really thought provoking and intelligent posts - so thanks to my fellow posters for keeping me engaged through the 3rd Canadian stay at home order!!

  • Great comment on planet swans after responding to the tread header of...

    “Will the games be postponed in Saturday due the the death of Prince Philip “

    His reply was....

    “We should be so lucky !”

  • 2 minute silence for EFL matches.

    1 minute for PL clubs.

    why the difference is bewildering.

  • If he'd hung on a bit longer could've had a special card from his missus 😃

  • Malaga, man up you should be ashamed of yourself your views are disgusting! But on a brighter note there’s only 30 people aloud to the funeral and Prince Andrew had said he is willing to look after all the children!

  • Leopard and spots, springs to mind with Cooper.

    But, if he’s had an overnight epiphany, with the introduction of wingers, why not start with Lowe (who’s a winger) on the wing?

    It might take the pressure of the poor lad, who’s been flogged to death, in a role he’s not suited to.

    If we continue to think out of the box, (something alien to Cooper) and we’re not exactly blessed with wingers, why not try Roberts out wide?

    Without the burden of having to track back and forth as a wingback, it could reinvigorate another player that’s been flogged to death.

    And I always thought Garrick’s premature loan was a mistake, as he offered pace and variety

    I await with bated breath to see Cooper’s master plan for today.

  • As i have said in earlier posts throw in the curve ball and surprise every one do something different .

    I for one am not expecting anything from this game we have the t v curse to beat on top of Milwall and the way we have been playing can see us sliding out of the play offs , want to be proven wrong just cannot see it as things are but C O Y S

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