Brentford vs Swansea – Championship Play-Off Final Preview
Brentford season averages
Scored – 1.68 goals per game
Conceded – 0.93 goals per game
Corners for them – 4.81 corners per game
Corners for their opponents – 3.97 corners per game
Yellow cards for them – 1.06 yellow cards per game
Yellow Cards for their opponents – 1.75 yellow cards per games
Red Cards for them – 0.06 red cards per game
Red Cards for their opponents – 0.13 red cards per game
Swansea season averages
Scored – 1.22 goals per game
Conceded – 0.81 goals per game
Corners for them – 5.31 corners per game
Corners for their opponents – 4.81 corners per game
Yellow cards for them – 1.45 yellow cards per game
Yellow Cards for their opponents – 1.36 yellow cards per game
Red Cards for them – 0.02 red cards per game
Red Cards for their opponents – 0.04 red cards per game
Top Scorers (All competitions this season)
Ivan Toney – 32 goals in all competitions this season
Marcus Forss – 10 goals in all competitions this season
Sergi Canos – 9 goals in all competitions this season
Bryan Mbuemo – 8 goals in all competitions this season
Andre Ayew – 17 goals in all competitions this season
Jamal Lowe – 14 goals in all competitions this season
Matt Grimes – 5 goals in all competitions this season
Connor Roberts – 5 goals in all competitions this season
Conor Hourihane – 5 goals in all competitions this season
Most Yellow Cards (All competitions this season)
Vitaly Janelt – 9 yellow cards in all competitions this season
Ivan Toney – 8 yellow cards in all competitions this season
Henrik Dalsgaard – 7 yellow cards in all competitions this season
Sergi Canos – 6 yellow cards in all competitions this season
Jay Fulton – 9 yellow cards in all competitions this season
Marc Guehi – 8 yellow cards in all competitions this season
Ryan Bennett – 8 yellow cards in all competitions this season
Connor Roberts – 6 yellow cards in all competitions this season
Andre Ayew – 6 yellow cards in all competitions this season
Brentford had to come from behind in the 2nd leg against Bournemouth and they ended up winning an absolute thriller to earn their spot at Wembley. Swansea’s semi-final tie against Barnsley was less entertaining and Swansea came through pretty comfortably in the end and they will feel its right they did as they controlled both legs for large portions of the games. Only the top 2 who got promoted automatically Watford and Norwich conceded less goals than Swansea in the regular season, with a large portion of their results coming as a result of a solid defence. Brentford were a more attacking team and scored 23 more goals than Swansea in the regular season, though Brentford are no mugs defensively and they only conceded 3 goals more than their Welsh rivals. The two sides have history, as at the end of last season Swansea were knocked out of thee Championship Play-Offs by Brentford, and a heated game saw Swansea player Connor Roberts end up in a physical altercation with the Brentford boss Thomas Frank as Brentford battled to a 3-2 aggregate victory. Now the 2 sides meet in the final in what should be a typically feisty play-off final.
Swansea would be the happier team if this turns into a cagey and quite slow affair. Swansea have a style of play that is easier to produce in games like this compared to Brentford’s more attacking type of football. There is no doubt that is Brentford are to finally make it to the Premier League they will need their front man Ivan Toney to contribute. With 32 goals in all competitions this season he has scored more than 3 times as much as any other player. Swansea have 2 players in Ayew and Lowe who have shared the goal scoring responsibility with Ayew scoring 17 and Lowe 14.
These games are always cagey and the way things are likely to play out I do feel Swansea are likely to start the game the better of the two sides. Swansea showed in their semi-final wins against Barnsley that they are well drilled when it comes to game management and I can see them being an extremely frustrating opponent against Brentford. The bookies have Brentford as 4/9 favourites to win the tie, but I do feel Swansea are being over looked slightly in terms of how difficult they will make this for Brentford. The experience of players like Andre Ayew will play a big part for Swansea as well and the way these play-off finals usually play out, I really do believe it will favour Swansea’s style of play much more than Brentford.
Both sides are at the higher end of the corner averages with Brentford just under 5 corners per game and Swansea just over 5 corners per game. I think Brentford are likely to take more corners as they will likely control possession and territory for large chunks of the game as they try to break down a stubborn Swansea defence, so I think it’s a good bet Swansea take at least 3 corners, with Brentford taking at least 5 corners and the game pushing towards double figures. As with all play-off finals the first goal will be absolutely crucial as if Swansea score first then it could be a very tough afternoon for Brentford trying to break down one of the best defences in the league who will be able to put 11 men behind the ball. If Brentford score first then Swansea will have to get forward and take chances which could easily lead to Brentford killing them off on the counter attack with the likes of Sergi Canos and Bryan Mbuemo looking to get forward and feed Ivan Toney.
The referee Chris Kavanagh has given 118 yellow cards this season in 32 games that he has been referee for, that is an average of 3.68 yellow cards per game, and its likely he will need those cards in this game. Neither side has massive booking averages over the course of the season, but the pressure involved in a game like this usually leads to cards being a save bet. I am very confident there will be at least 3 or 4 cards in this game and would not be surprised at all to see more.
14/1 Freddie Woodman to be carded (We advise waiting for the starting line ups to be released before backing bets like this) – The Swansea goalkeeper showed in the semi-finals that he is not worried about taking his time when his side is in the lead. He is no stranger to a card this season having been given 3 yellow cards this campaign. Brentford manager Thomas Frank has shown his frustration at teams time wasting, and in the 2nd leg of their semi-final against Bournemouth he ended up constantly showing the 4th official his watch and also urging the crowd to get on the refs case about time wasting. If Swansea have a lead late on then there is a decent chance the Woodman will push his luck too far and pick up a card.
9/2 Connor Roberts to be carded (We advise waiting for the starting line ups to be released before backing bets like this) – Roberts has been given 6 yellow cards in all competitions this season but given the history between him, Brentford and in particular the Brentford boss Thomas Frank, we feel that if he is on the pitch there is a good chance he picks up a card. The Brentford players will also be aware of this and will likely be looking for any opportunity to get under his skin and hopefully have him lash out and get sent off.
4/1 Swansea to win 1-0. 2-0 or 2-1 (not including extra time and penalties) – As pointed out in the write up, I feel games like this favour sides like Swansea because their approach is uncomplicated. They are solid at the back and give nothing away, and when they get their attacking opportunities they are quick and decisive. These games are usually low scoring affairs that are decided by the odd moment of quality or mistake, I feel Swansea are being overlooked here and would not be surprised at all to see them come out on top in a low scoring game that has an almost anti climatic feel to it.
9/2 Swansea to win the tie (including extra time and penalties), 8+ match corners (not including extra time) and 40+ match booking points (not including extra time) – The cards and corners part of this bet I feel is a pretty straight forward ask, the odds are boosted by us having Swansea to be the side that get promoted, but with extra time and penalties included I feel there is a very good chance that Swansea can surprise the bookies and win promotion back to the Premier League.