It’s the Sky Bet Championship play-off final on Saturday afternoon as Brentford take on Swansea City.
Often dubbed the most lucrative game in football, both teams will be vying for a spot in the Premier League in what is expected to be a very tight affair between two sides jam-packed with quality.
We asked the team here at Football League World who they think will come out on top in this clash between the Bees and the Swans….
George Dagless – Swansea City
It’s a coin-toss for me, this one.
I’ve changed my mind several times over who I think will take it and at the time of writing, I currently fancy Swansea.
I did think Brentford would do it but I just have these lingering doubts over the way they handle these big occasions. They get so pumped up and it’s been to their detriment in the past.
Of course, if they handle it better they probably have the extra attacking quality to do it but Swansea are growing on me for this one.
They’re not as spectacular but they’re calmer, colder and for me that bit more solid which I think we’ve seen elements of once more in these play-off games after a wobble in the second half of the campaign.
They have big players in the likes of Ayew and Hourihane that can make the difference and that have seen it all before and I just fancy them to do a job on the Bees on Saturday. It’s going to be a fascinating watch.
Alfie Burns – Brentford
It’s really tough to call and it will be fine margins that decide the game, just like last season’s contest between Brentford and Fulham.
David Raya’s mistake swung the game in Fulham’s favour and it would be little surprise to see a similar error settling this year’s showpiece.
Swansea’s control across two legs against Barnsley in the semi-finals really impressed me, with Freddie Woodman, Ben Cabango and Marc Guehi seriously good.
The latter will have to be on the top of his game to deal with Ivan Toney at Wembley, with Swansea’s big task containing that momentum Brentford will aim to build.
Brentford, too, will have to be aware of the match-winners Swansea have within their ranks, with Matt Grimes, Conor Hourihane and Andre Ayew all big-game players.
I am, though, backing the Bees to edge a tight contest. The disappointment of last season will help Thomas Frank’s side, as will the sheer warning of finding themselves two goals behind in the semi-finals.
It could go all the way and, in fairness, it could go either way in terms of result.
Sam Rourke – Brentford
It’s incredibly tough to call.
Swansea City were hardly spoken about prior to the play-offs kicking off given their dodgy form in the league, but they proved against Barnsley in the semi-finals that they are a team that possess serious quality.
Whilst, Brentford showed in that second leg against Bournemouth the character and ruthlessness they possess as they came back to secure a place at Wembley.
The experience Thomas Frank and Brentford got in last season’s play-off final defeat to Fulham could prove invaluable though in my eyes, and I can see that proving to be the difference between the two sides.
Obviously, in Ivan Toney the Bees have the best striker currently in the EFL and if he’s given a chance he’s going to punish you, granted, it’s going to be tough to break down that resilient Swans rear-guard.
Both teams have match winners with Andre Ayew and Jamal Lowe in particular capable of winning a game on their own for Swansea, but I just think we will see Brentford edge this one.
Ben Wignall – Brentford
I think this is finally Brentford’s time to shine and make their way into the Premier League.
They of course had a touch of fortune when Chris Mepham was sent off for Bournemouth in the second leg but they’ve got so much ability going forward.
Swansea do have a strong defence with Marc Guehi and Ryan Bennett marshalling but I think the Wembley stage is tailor-made for Ivan Toney to be the difference maker in a big way.
Obviously Andre Ayew is a danger to the Brentford defence however I feel as though it’ll be a 3-1 success for the Bees.
Jacob Potter – Brentford
I can see Brentford coming out on top on Saturday afternoon.
I’m really looking forward to this one, and I can just see Thomas Frank’s side edging out the Swans at Wembley, but it’s certainly going to be a closely-fought battle between both teams.
Brentford’s attacking options have caused opposition defenders a number of problems this season, and you would expect the likes of Ivan Toney to be right up for this, with a place in the Premier League for the winner of the tie.
But Swansea have players in their squad that are dangerous, with the likes of Andre Ayew and Jamal Lowe being just some of those.
Brentford will have learned from their play-off pain last season though, and I expect them to have too much quality in front of goal for Swansea this weekend.
An early goal for the Bees could see them run away with it, so it’s vital that Swansea can contain them for the opening quarter of an hour.
Brentford will sneak this one in a cagey 2-1 win at Wembley for me.
Jordan Rushworth – Swansea City
The Championship play-off final, as it should be every year, is going to be very difficult to call this term. Brentford head into it with a sense of determination to avoid the same mistakes they made last season in their 2-1 defeat at Wembley against Fulham, as they just missed out on a place in the Premier League.
For Swansea, there will be some part of them aiming for revenge against the Bees after they were beaten by them in the semi-finals of the play-offs last season. Those scenarios should set this game up for an intense battle between two sides that over the course of the campaign do deserve the chance to make it to Wembley.
There are always going to be doubts for me over Brentford when it comes to handling those big moments. The Bees undoubtedly have real quality within their squad, probably more individual class than Swansea have within their squad at the moment. However, last term they did not turn up in the play-off final and were not able to handle the occasion as well as they could have done.
Then there is the final two games of last season, where they had it within their grasp to pip West Brom to second place but instead ended up losing against Barnsley on the final day. Can they show they have learned from that on Saturday and finally handle one of those huge occasions.
Swansea, meanwhile, are a side that have plenty of character and in Steve Cooper have a coach that has proven himself to be a real difference-maker at Championship level. He can get his side organised and make it so they frustrate the Bees throughout the 90 minutes.
I would personally back the Swans to edge this one at Wembley. I believe that Cooper will set his team up perfectly and allow them to contain the Bees and if they can keep the game tight then they have the chance to nick a goal on the counter.
That is why I feel the Swans will be the side celebrating promotion, despite Brentford having better individual quality.
Chris Thorpe – Brentford
Brentford will win this one for me.
It just feels like their time after last year’s heartbreak and they have so much quality that is coursing through their ranks, it’s really hard to look past them or even write them off for that matter.
Swansea are of course a good outfit as well, but for me they lack the same amount of individual talent that the Bees possess, with the likes of Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo sure to have a big say on proceedings when the big game gets underway under the famous Wembley arch.
The game itself will be won and lost in midfield and if Thomas Frank’s men can dominate possession in the same manner as they did against Bournemouth in the semi final second leg, they will be half the way towards becoming a Premier League club.
This match is made for Toney to score the decisive goal and I am fully expecting him to come up trumps for the big occasion as he looks to round what has been a remarkable season off in style.
I fully expect to see a red arch gleaming above Wembley come full time on Saturday and for me it’s the least they deserve for all their hard work this term.
Phil Spencer – Brentford
I absolutely love the play-off final and I think that this one is going to be a cracker.
Brentford and Swansea both know how to play football, but I think what we’ve seen in recent weeks will suggest how the teams will set up.
Thomas Frank will be going all-out to try and dominate the game; dictating possession and that means they’ll have the majority of opportunities.
For Swansea, it’ll be a case of remaining disciplined and hoping that they can capitalise on chances on the counter.
Personally, I think that this one is Brentford’s to lose and the result will most likely hinge on the Bees’ ability to put their chances away on the day.
If they can do that then it could be a comfortable victory, but if Freddie Woodman has a stunner then it could give Swansea a platform to make life very hard.
However given the attacking talent of Brentford’s team, I think that they’ll have enough to get the job done.