Brentford have 90 minutes to save their season following a truly disastrous run of results in the last three games.
Notwithstanding the fact that they bottled automatic promotion in the last two games of the season, the Bees have now left themselves in a perilous position following defeat to Swansea in the first leg of their crucial play-off.
Swansea, on the other hand, seem ready to ride a wave of momentum all the way to the Premier League. The Welsh side have peaked at just the right time, winning three games on the bounce when Brentford have lost them. That said, they still couldn’t have expected to find themselves in the play-offs and that remarkable last day turnaround will have given them an extra lift.
After weathering a Brentford storm on Sunday, Swansea came into the game impressively and spurned a number of excellent chances before finally taking a slender lead thanks to Andre Ayew’s thunderbolt.
While Swansea were excellent, particularly in the second half, they were helped in no small part by referee Keith Stroud’s questionable decision to send Rico Henry off midway through the second half.
So, what could happen in the second-leg?
They can’t rely on such gifts again at Griffin Park and will have a much harder job keeping Brentford at bay on Wednesday. Brentford’s dip in form, and subsequent loss of momentum, however, could cost them and Swansea may just hold on for a draw.
Prior to their end of season meltdown, you would have to go back to mid-February to find a game where Ollie Watkins, Said Benrahma and Bryan Mbeumo didn’t score for Brentford. The potent front three is the prime reason why the Bees came so close to automatic promotion, but they have now failed to score in three games.
It is no coincidence that their loss of goalscoring form has coincided with Brentford’s dip and they urgently need to rediscover that form on Wednesday night.
It will be difficult to pick themselves up from the canvas after so many sucker punches, however, and it is hard to predict which of the three will actually find the back of the net on Wednesday.
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The Swansea team, therefore, is a safer team to predict an anytime goalscorer from. Swansea’s most likely goalscorer comes down to a choice between two players; Rhian Brewster and Andre Ayew. The duo has found the back of the net in the same game on five occasions since the end of February and it is not an exaggeration to say that Swansea would be nowhere near the play-offs without either of their goals.
Ayew scored the all-important goal in Swansea on Sunday, and Brewster will be keen to emulate his strike partner on Wednesday night. The youngster has only failed to score in successive games on one occasion since February and he will be anxious to avoid that happening again.
No matter what happens on Wednesday night, Brentford will throw the kitchen sink at Swansea and lay siege to their goal. It could be a long 90 minutes for Swansea fans and Brentford will look to create similar chances to the ones they created in the first half on Sunday in the hope of taking them this time around.
A Brentford siege will undoubtedly lead to corners and it would be highly surprising if the corner count on Wednesday doesn’t reach double figures.
Championship play-off tips summary
Brentford vs Swansea – Draw
Rhian Brewster to score anytime – Yes
Over/Under 10.5 corners – Over
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