The second legs of the Championship play-off semi-finals take place on Saturday and both matches are finely balanced as all four clubs seek a date a Wembley later this month.
Saturday’s early encounter sees Brentford play host to Bournemouth at 12:30 as the visitors look to build on a 1-0 first-leg win.
Meanwhile, Swansea welcome Barnsley to the Liberty Stadium at 18:30 after running out 1-0 victors at Oakwell.
Brentford and Bournemouth go into this weekend’s deciding legs as joint
2/1 favourites to be promoted to the Premier League.
The Bees have never earned promotion via a play-off campaign and have always had to rely on finishing in the automatic spots to move up the Football League ladder.
Indeed, they have the second-most unsuccessful play-off record, failing on nine occasions, while they have tasted defeat in four finals.
Swansea are priced at
5/2 to win promotion and Barnsley are the outsiders at
Home Form Key to Brentford’s Hopes
Brentford entered the playoffs in fine form, unbeaten in 12, but that run was brought to an abrupt halt by Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Monday.
First-leg ties can often prove to be tight and tense and that’s how the previous meeting between these two clubs turned out, Bournemouth edging to a 1-0 triumph courtesy of Arnaut Danjuma’s second-half strike.
Another low-scoring affair isn’t expected in the return clash at the Brentford Community Stadium and backing over 2.5 goals at
10/11 looks the way to go.
The Bees, who finished third during the regular season, were the top scorers in the Championship, while Bournemouth were the third-highest scorers in the division.
An early goal, especially if it goes Bournemouth’s way, will blow this clash wide open and could lead to a hugely exciting meeting.
Picking a winner between two well-matched sides is difficult but there’s value in a Brentford win at
Thomas Frank’s side won both of the regular season engagements and they are unbeaten in eight home outings.
Swans to See off Surprise Contenders
Swansea were widely expected to be among the play-off contenders pre-season, however, the same couldn’t be said of Barnsley.
The Tykes spent the majority of last season in the relegation zone but they survived on the final day courtesy of a stoppage-time winner to beat the drop by a single point.
This season started in disappointing fashion, failing to win any of their opening seven matches, but the arrival of boss Valerian Ismael signalled a huge improvement in performances.
Reaching the playoffs will be regarded as a success in its own right but after losing 1-0 at home to Swansea in the first leg, making it through to the final looks a big ask.
Swansea have only won one of their last five at home and that will offer some hope to the visitors in the 18:30 kick-off.
But the Welsh outfit, who are fancied to win at
37/20, ran out 2-0 winners when Barnsley came to town during the regular campaign.
*All odds correct at time of writing