Saturday’s Championship playoff final between Brentford and Swansea City is a familiar tale of the familiar versus the unfamiliar.
Swans rose into the Premier League ahead of the 2011-12 season and refused to go away, finishing mid-table five-straight seasons before a 15th-place season preceded 2017-18’s relegation campaign.
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
Their second season in the second tier was just as unconvincing as the first, but a sixth-place finish was enough to get them into the playoffs and now they’re 90 (or more) minutes away from a return to the PL.
Brentford has become one of the fun stories of the Championship, flashing style and winning games while always scoring goals. Since coming up from League One in 2014-15, the Bees have not finished lower than 11th and only once failed to score 70 goals in a season.
🚨 𝙏𝙀𝘼𝙈 𝙉𝙀𝙒𝙎 🚨
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) May 29, 2021
⚠️ STARTING XI ⚠️
— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) May 29, 2021
Last season’s playoff final derby loss to Fulham was supposed to signal a real problem, as the Bees sold Said Benrahma to West Ham and Ollie Watkins to Aston Villa a year after dealing Ezri Konsa and Neal Maupay to PL sides.
It hardly slowed them, with an absurd 79 goals being met by a surprising figure: one goal conceded per game.
Brentford holds the league’s fifth-best possession total and takes the third-most shots. The Bees move the ball well and have two tremendous playmakers in dual-threat Bryan Mbeumo and 32-goal, 10-assist striker Ivan Toney.
There’s a reclamation story of sorts here, too, as once-heralded Newcastle United prospect Toney could never quite impress the Magpies and took six loan stints between 2015-18.
Signed by Peterborough United in 2018 for, allegedly, under $1 million, he’s become an eight-figure transfer target for Brentford and now would fetch a whole lot more.
Can he spring Brentford past Swans? Maybe. Would you bet on it? Read on…
Championship Final betting odds (full odds provided by our partner, Pointsbet)
Brentford (-115) | Swansea City (+340) | Draw (+230)
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Brentford – Swansea prediction
There aren’t a ton of faces you’ll remember from Swansea City’s PL tenure, but Andre Ayw is one and he still knows his way around the box. Jamal Lowe has also delivered for Swans and Freddie Woodman is an excellent keeper. Would you bet on him stymying Toney over 90 or even 120 minutes. Aye, there’s the rub. If it gets to kicks, don’t say we didn’t warn you but we won’t stop from picking a winner. Brentford 2-1 Swans.
How to watch Brentford-Swansea in the Championship Final stream, start time
Kickoff time: 9am ET Saturday