04 Aug Championship playoff preview Fulham or Brentford to Premier League? What it’s good to know
On the midway level of the 5-mile journey between Brentford’s Griffin Park from Fulham’s Craven Cottage is Fuller’s Brewery, dwelling of their flagship beer, London Satisfaction. However there’s excess of simply native bragging rights on the road when these fierce rivals meet at Wembley on Tuesday.
The winner of the Championship playoff remaining — stream LIVE on Football4cast+, Tuesday, 2.45 p.m. ET, within the U.S. — will get the important thing to unparalleled riches within the Premier League. Football consultants estimate a money injection for the winner to the tune of £170m, due to elevated broadcasting income after which assured parachute funds if a team will get relegated.
No surprise the match is dubbed “the richest recreation in football,” one that may change the fortunes of both membership.
However whereas Tuesday’s remaining might be performed out on the world stage, as Brentford and Fulham purpose to turn out to be the third team from the Championship to hitch Leeds and West Bromwich Albion in moving into the 2020-21 Premier League, theirs can be a well known, native rivalry. And there was nothing to separate them within the remaining standings, equal on factors after 46 video games, with solely purpose distinction seeing Brentford end third above Fulham in fourth.
There’s little love misplaced between the 2 units of followers they usually reside, in footballing phrases, on one another’s doorstep. Brentford and Fulham are each effective, outdated conventional golf equipment, dwelling within the shadow of Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea, however don’t for one minute mistake it for a scarcity of ambition on their half. Each teams (and their followers) consider they’re prepared for the Premier League. Fulham need to bounce again to the highest flight having been relegated final season, whereas Brentford need to be again for the primary time in 73 years.
This is all the things it’s good to find out about Tuesday’s winner-take-all match.
Soar to: Their seasons up to now | Evaluating managers | The place recreation might be received/misplaced | Gamers to observe | Prediction
What is the story of their season up to now?
Brentford ought to already be on a socially distanced seashore someplace and toasting promotion, having had two possibilities to safe computerized promotion however shedding each matches.
With two matches left within the season, Brentford had been scorching on West Bromwich Albion’s heels, however missed their alternatives with beautiful defeats to Stoke after which Barnsley. The Barnsley defeat at their Griffin Park dwelling was a very galling expertise, and after falling 1-Zero at Swansea within the first leg of their playoff remaining, it appeared just like the wheels may need fallen off Brentford’s season when it mattered most. However on Tuesday evening, within the remaining recreation earlier than they head to their new 18,000 capability Neighborhood Stadium a mile down the street from Griffin Park, they bounced again and harnessed the emotional wave of power round their outdated dwelling to win 3-1 with their entrance three of Ollie Watkins, Saïd Benrahma and Bryan Mbeumo all very good. They’ve performed thrilling football all season and are worthy playoff finalists.
Fulham struggled within the early matches again after the league restarted, however their 2-1 win at neighbours Queens Park breathed life again into their promotion push. They’ve needed to regulate to life with out star striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who missed three matches as a result of suspension after which the playoff semifinals with a hamstring harm, however they’ve rallied, with Bobby Decordova-Reid doing an excellent job up entrance.
Their season has been pragmatic, and fourth place was about the appropriate return for a marketing campaign that is thrilled on event — their 23 league wins from 46 video games was third solely to Leeds and Brentford — but in addition stuttered at others. In addition they had to deal with two gamers testing constructive for COVID-19 again in Could, however like Brentford, they’re taking strides ahead off the pitch with the Riverside Stand going huge redevelopment and they’re actually gearing themselves in the direction of being a longtime Premier League aspect.
Within the playoffs they confirmed the 2 sides of their season; they received impressively at Cardiff 2-0, with two wonderful targets, however then stuttered at dwelling to lose the return leg 2-1. Their response on the full-time whistle was markedly totally different to their playoff remaining opponents: Brentford had been ecstatic after beating Swansea, whereas Fulham had been extra subdued.
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What in regards to the managers?
Danish supervisor Thomas Frank took over from the favored Dean Smith (who joined Aston Villa) in October 2018 and retained the help of the board regardless of a sluggish begin wherein he received only one out of his first 10 matches. Brentford began this season slowly too, profitable certainly one of their first six, however grew into the marketing campaign.
They play a beautiful, ruthless model of football — now in a 4-1-2-3 — the place they appear to shift the ball ahead as rapidly as potential to their deadly entrance three, nicknamed BMW (Benrahma, Mbeumo and Watkins). They press excessive, hustle and maintain on attacking, reluctant to ever settle on a lead. Frank is extra agitated than Parker on the touchline, often chewing gum, clutching his ring-bound notepad and even obtained a yellow card within the playoff semifinal second leg, however via their contrasting kinds they’ve carried out sensible jobs to safe a spot within the playoff remaining.
Scott Parker, the ex-England midfielder, took cost of Fulham halfway via their ill-fated Premier League journey in 2018-19 and although he did not steer them away from the drop, the membership stored their religion in him. Talking earlier than their second leg defeat to Cardiff, Parker stated the team he took over again in February 2019 was a “actual mess” but in addition pointed in the direction of the development they’ve made as a gaggle each by way of how they’re taking part in and their mentality.
Parker’s calm presence is reflective in Fulham’s fashion of taking part in. They stick with a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Harrison Reed anchoring the team in entrance of the again 4, and play with a affected person fashion. They’ll frustrate opponents and their pragmatic fashion can immediate alternatives to assault via the spectacular Mitrovic or Decordova-Reid.
The place will the sport be received and misplaced?
Fulham will probably look to frustrate Brentford, similar to they did in opposition to Cardiff within the remaining 30 minutes of their second leg — they sat again, appeared for alternatives to counter and stored opposition possibilities to a minimal. Brentford should minimize their passing lanes, too; Fulham have one of the best move completion fee within the Championship (83.2%) and have had essentially the most touches of the ball (34,965, almost 2,000 greater than Brentford).
Brentford’s primary problem might be breaking down Fulham and never throwing too many males ahead, cautious of being hit on the counter, however after they click on, they’re very good. They scored essentially the most targets within the Championship in the course of the common season (83, 16 greater than Fulham) and led the best way on anticipated assists (57.17). It is a given that they will create good scoring possibilities. Brentford’s depth does depart spells within the recreation wherein their tempo ebbs and flows, so that they might want to maintain their focus ranges sharp all match.
The set piece battle can even be fascinating. Fulham appeared susceptible to lengthy throws and corners in opposition to Cardiff, and Brentford will look to use that. On the flip aspect, Fulham will hope for extra defensive lapses like Brentford confirmed within the purpose they conceded to Swansea on Wednesday.
Which gamers do you have to maintain an eye fixed on?
Fulham have the very good Tom Cairney captaining their team whereas Reed, on mortgage from Southampton, has been excellent. They are going to be conserving all the things crossed that star striker Mitrovic is match for Tuesday — he tops the Championship goal-scoring charts this season with 26, alongside Brentford’s Watkins — but when he is not obtainable, the eye might be on Decordova-Reid to ship up entrance. However for Fulham, their key man is on the again, with goalkeeper Marek Rodák excellent on the again after he got here in for Marcus Bettinelli again in November. He is an excellent shot-stopper and might be known as into motion on quite a few events Tuesday.
Brentford’s much-admired front-three might be tasked with breaking down Fulham’s defence and guiding them via to the Premier League. Their left-back Rico Henry is on the market after having his pink card overturned within the first leg of the playoff semifinal, and he might be key come Tuesday as will their sensible goalkeeper David Raya. However it’s all about that entrance three.
Mbeumo’s purpose in opposition to Swansea will give him loads of confidence after a sluggish return to kind post-lockdown, whereas Benrahma (high of the Championship standings for xA on 11.85) might be field workplace and appeal to loads of consideration from Fulham’s defenders. But when Watkins up entrance is firing like he has been all season — his work fee in opposition to Swansea was off the charts, even chasing again within the closing phases to make a key deal with — then Brentford followers will again him to e-book their ticket to the highest tier.
Flip a coin. We would love to take a seat on the fence right here, but when we had been pressured to select, then we might need to go along with Brentford … simply. A method or one other, beer might be flowing in west London on Tuesday evening.
With extra reporting by David Cartlidge