Premier League Beckons Brentford Ahead Of Play Offs

Premier League Beckons Brentford Ahead Of Play Offs

Norwich City and Watford finished first and second in the Championship this season, winning promotion to the Premier League, and leaving third-placed Brentford contemplating yet another play-off situation.  The West London club will play Bournemouth in the first leg of their semi-final next Monday with the second leg five days later, on Saturday 22 May.   If Brentford win, they will progress to the Championship play-off final which will take place on Saturday 29 May.  Their opponents would be the winners of the other semi-final being contested by Barnsley and Swansea.

The Bees have never been promoted through the EFL play-offs, in a record nine failed attempts, with their most recent defeat being last August when Fulham beat them 2-1, with all three goals scored in extra time.  Despite this dismal record, they are favourites to win the play-offs this season, with odds of 7/4 from bookmaker William Hill.  

Brentford have been the Championship’s highest scorers this season, with 25-year old striker Ivan Toney recently winning the Sky Bet Championship Golden Boot.  Toney’s 31 goals set a Championship record but, unfortunately, that hasn’t been enough to gain a top-2 finish.  That said, Brentford are in good form just now and the players, many of whom were in the team that failed to beat Fulham in the final last season, will be desperate to perform better for their club this time round.

Brentford beat Bournemouth 1-0 last month in the Championship but the Cherries, who are finishing sixth in the Championship, will fight hard to return to the Premier League where they had lasted just one season.  Jonathan Woodgate took over at Bournemouth in February but it was too little, too late to make any dramatic difference to the results table.  Given the talent in the team, it is surprising that the Cherries find themselves in the play-offs at all and the online bookies make them second favourites to gain promotion, with bookie SBK offering odds of 31/10.

Barnsley have finished fifth respectively in the league, winning their place in the play-offs, but as recently as October the Tykes were in the relegation zone with odds of 500/1 that they would reach the play-offs.  The arrival of manager Valerien Ismael, replacing Gerhard Struber, marked an improvement in the fortunes of the club and Betfred offers odds of 7/2 that the Yorkshire side will make the leap into the Premier League.  

Swansea, Barnsley’s opponents in the play-off semi-finals, finished just 2 points ahead in fourth place.  They concluded the season with a 2-0 defeat at promoted Watford but head coach, Steve Cooper, remains positive about the Swans’ chances in the play-offs, saying “We should fear nothing and go for it”.  SBK offers odds of 23/5 that Swansea will be promoted to the Premier League, making them the underdogs of the four competing teams.

By Matched Bets Experts

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