The battle of west London takes to the Wembley pitch on Tuesday as Brentford take on Fulham. With the winning side set to pocket £100 million, we preview a tie where the stakes could not be higher for clubs with contrasting histories in the top flight.
Who is playing?
Brentford vs Fulham
What competition is it?
EFL Championship Playoff Final
What time is Brentford vs Fulham?
19:45 GMT, Tuesday 4th August 2020
Where will it take place?
Wembley Stadium, London
Where can I watch Brentford vs Fulham?
Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Football
Thoughts on Brentford vs Fulham
Despite Brentford’s favourable record against Tuesday’s opposition (unbeaten in the last five meetings), form goes out of the window in a big play off final game, with Fulham falling not once but twice to Thomas Frank’s side this campaign. As disappointing as it will be for the winning club to celebrate to an empty stadium, a lot more will be riding on this.
Brentford’s positive attacking brand of football has set the second tier alight in the 2019/20 season, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion along with their rival counterparts. The Bees’ playoff record however is one of the worst in English football. The eight previous attempts at promotion via the playoffs, at varying levels, have been unsuccessful; including five losses at both the new and old Wembley Stadium. A win would put them back into the top flight for the first time in a staggering 73 years. They survived Swansea’s attempts with an outstanding display in their last game at Griffin Park.
Fulham will look to secure passageway to the Premier League in successive promotion attempts from the Championship on Tuesday. Just as Brentford made it hard for themselves, as did Fulham against Swansea, having lost the home tie last week but progressed thanks to their 2-0 victory in the Welsh capital. Championship play-off finals seldom come up with the goods for the neutral over 90 minutes, with five of the last seven finals being decided by a single goal.
Time to make history for the Bees?
The seven decade long absence from the top flight for the Hounslow natives has never had a better chance to end than now. Arguably with their greatest ever squad at their disposal, and with a young talented manager in Thomas Frank, it would seem to be written in the stars that the season they leave Griffin Park they start a new chapter not only in a new stadium but a new division.
A slow start and rather uncharacteristic dip in form at the latter end of the season meant Brentford sacrificed automatic promotion at the behest of West Brom and their consistency. Their inarguable driving force to the position they are now in is the ‘BMW’. No, not the latest model, but the front three comprising Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbuemo and Ollie Watkins. The terrific trio will look to expose Fulham’s wandering attacking full backs, having already contributed to 71% of the share of the team’s goals this season.
Frank and his management will have the privilege of a fully fit squad before they take the brief trip up the North Circular road to Wembley, their first visit in seven seasons.
Big time beckoning for the Cottagers again?
Last season was a disappointment for Scott Parker and co. after being relegated from the Premier League. To bounce back and go within a game of being back there just twelve months on is testament to Parker and his team.
The ex-Lillywhite took his players aside and gave them a post-match speech on the pitch after scraping through against a determined Cardiff in midweek, much in contrast to the jubilant scenes at Griffin Park the night before. Despite Brentford being odds-on favourites, Fulham very much hold the key in terms of recent experiences at the home of football, and winning there in doing so. The potential absence of their star Serbian forward Aleksandar Mitrovic may not be as detrimental as one would think, as the Thamessiders are unbeaten without him (W6, D1), such is the talented squad Parker has, most notably defensively.
Neeskens Kebano is unlikely to feature at Wembley after a hamstring problem forced the midfielder to withdraw from action at halftime in the second leg against Cardiff. Target man Aleksandar Mitrovic will more than likely play his role off the bench after missing out on the semi-finals.
Brentford recent games:
- Swansea (h) 3-1 win
- Swansea (a) 1-0 loss
- Barnsley (h) 2-1 loss
- Stoke City (a) 1-0 loss
- Preston North End (h) 1-0 win
Fulham recent games:
- Cardiff City (h) 2-1 loss
- Cardiff City (a) 2-0 win
- Wigan Athletic (a) 1-1 draw
- Sheffield Wednesday (h) 5-3 win
- West Brom (a) 0-0 draw
Brentford Top Contributors:
- Ollie Watkins (Forward): 29 EFL Championship goal involvements (26 goals + 3 assists) – The 24-year-old has spearheaded Brentford’s promotion charge with a club high of 26 goals this season. Watkins led the charge after being understudy to the current Brighton striker Neal Maupay last season, with his xG increasing by 0.23 since the return from lockdown.
- Said Benrahma (Forward) – 26 EFL Championship goal involvements (17 goals + 9 assists) – The Algerian winger’s mazy runs and eye-catching footwork is said to have courted interest of newly promoted Leeds United, along with several top flight outfits. In what has been his breakout season with the Bees and uninterrupted by injury, in his two outings against Fulham, Benrahma has picked up a goal and two assists.
Fulham Top Contributors:
- Aleksandar Mitrovic (Forward): 28 EFL Championship goal involvements (26 goals + 2 assists) – Ankle ligament injury and suspension didn’t curtail Mitrovic’s efforts to pick up the Championship Golden Boot award, notching a goal every 138 minutes in the regular season. The Serb faces a fight to be fit for the final, after missing both legs of the semi-final against Cardiff.
- Tom Cairney (Midfielder): 11 EFL Championship goal involvements (8 goals + 3 assists) – The captain was too struggling with injury post lockdown but could steer his club to Wembley for the third time in his career. Cairney struck home the only goal of their last trip to Wembley two years ago, and the experience may be a telling factor when the teams take to the pitch this time.
|20th June 2020||FUL 0-2 BRE||EFL Championship|
|14th December 2019||BRE 1-0 FUL||EFL Championship|
|14th April 2018||FUL 1-1 BRE||EFL Championship|
|2nd December 2017||BRE 3-1 FUL||EFL Championship|
|29th April 2017||FUL 1-1 BRE||EFL Championship|
Ryan’s Betting tips
*Odds as of the time of writing (Monday 3rd August) and subject to change.
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