Football fans have a busy Wednesday evening of fixtures ahead with eight games scheduled in the Italian Serie A as the season reaches its climax. There can be no denying the main attraction of the evening, however, as Brentford and Swansea meet at Griffin Park in London from 19: 45 GMT in a match shown live on television and within in-play betting section of 22BET.
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This is the all-important second leg of the Championship playoffs and by the full-time whistle, one place in this season’s final at Wembley Stadium will be decided. The tie hangs in the balance with Swansea City bringing a narrow 1-0 lead to the capital and the Welsh club will be desperate to protect that cushion. Brentford have home advantage but know this is a must-win game for them and if they want to get the job done without the need for extra-time and penalties, they need to win by two clear goals or more.
These sides are certainly no strangers and have already met three times this season. That means both managers will know exactly what to expect on Wednesday and this should allow them to get down to business. Tensions will be running high in this semi-final decider but the team able to hold their nerve will take a step closer securing a place in next season’s Premier League. This promises to be a classic for supporters of English football.
Bees must remain professional
Brentford crossed the border to Swansea City on Sunday evening knowing they had to keep things competitive for the second leg at Griffin Park. The first match wasn’t a must-win game, but the Bees had to keep the scores down, try to get a draw and score an away goal. They failed on two of their three aims, losing the match 1-0, but if there was such a thing as a decent defeat then that was it. The tie remains live, Brentford are at home and know exactly what they must do to fire themselves into the final at the national stadium on Tuesday 4 August from 19:45.
Despite putting together an impressive winning run towards the end of the season, Brentford fell apart in their final two games and that cost them an automatic promotion place behind champions Leeds United. It was a body blow for the players who know they let a great opportunity slip through their fingers, but they must be professional, dust themselves down and prepare for what will be the most important game of their season. Season stats and finishing position counts for nothing in the playoffs and the Bees were reminded of that when losing to Swansea at the weekend.
Brentford matched their hosts for long periods of the match but had Henry sent off for a reckless challenge on 65 minutes and that piled pressure on the players. With a man less on the field of play their resistance was eventually broken when Ayew netted a late winner. Speaking to the press at full-time Brentford boss Thomas Frank said he was proud of his players and believed they should their character in difficult circumstances. He admitted the red card changed the game.
Swans chasing another win
Football fans love the drama of playoff football as it helps level the playing field and creates a cup atmosphere where anything can happen. At the end of the Championship regular season, Swansea finished three places lower than Brentford having won six fewer games and scored 18 goals less than the Bees. That didn’t matter after kick-off on Sunday evening and the Swans players stood up to be counted on such a dramatic night. They knew they were up against it and rode their luck at times as Brentford missed important chances, but the Welsh club grabbed their opportunity.
After Henry had been sent off for a lunge at Roberts midway through the second half the game changed and Swansea began to take control of the ball possession. They used the extra man and took advantage of the tired legs of their opponents to run into the spaces and get behind the Brentford defence. With 81 minutes on the clock kept his composure to score what was his 18th goal of the season, smashing a volley past Raya and into the opposition net. The players celebrated like promotion had been achieved but the focus is now needed in the second leg.
Swans manager Steve Cooper was as delighted as anyone on the pitch at the end, but he is experienced enough to know it’s still only half time in this match, there’s still plenty of work to do in London. Speaking to the gathered sporting press at full-time Cooper said he believed it was the right decision to show the red card to Henry. The manager assured fans of the club his men aren’t going to Griffin Park to defend their 1-0 lead; they fancy the win and neutrals will be delighted by that.
Brentford vs Swansea prediction
The difficulty in making predictions in Championship playoff matches is we just never know what to expect. At the weekend it was obvious just how well-matched these sides are, but Swansea will be delighted to have taken their chance after the red card. The Swans have a lead but it’s a fragile one and if Brentford score first the game will open up. Cooper warned his opponents he’s after the win but it’s likely Swansea will aim to keep it tight in defence.
Brentford’s form this season has been remarkable, but doubts are beginning to creep in and there’s no getting away from the fact they start this match on the back of a defeat and a losing run. The tie remains in their own hands and manager Frank will be quick to remind his players of that. Win this game at home against a side that finished lower in the table and they should go through.
The odds have been set on this fixture and the pre-match betting odds are on offer. Brentford are 4/7 favourites in the match winner market with Swansea priced at 93/20. The draw is 63/20.