Brentford vs SwanseaEnglish Championship, KO: 19:45 Jul 29, 2020, Griffin Park
SWANSEA will be heading into the second leg of this play-off semi-final against Brentford kicking themselves at being just one goal to the good.
The Welsh side hold the advantage after Andre Ayew's late strike handed them a 1-0 lead in the tie. But with Ayew earlier missing a penalty and the Bees playing with 10 men for the final 25 minutes after Rico Henry's red card, the Swans will know they should be even further ahead.
I fancied Swansea to reach the final before a ball was kicked in the tie as they had the momentum after a late surge to the play-offs while Brentford had lost their last two games to blow their shot at automatic promotion.
With away goals not counting in the EFL play-offs, this tie is still on a knife edge and there was little between the sides in the first leg until Henry saw red.
Bees boss Thomas Frank has vowed to appeal the sending off, insisting the decision would have been overturned had VAR been in use. If Henry is cleared to play in the return it will be a big boost for Frank but after winning eight games in a row, Brentford have now lost three on the spin.
That's in stark contrast to Steve Cooper's side, who have won their last three games and will be confident of finishing off the Bees to reach the final, where a showdown with Welsh rivals Cardiff potentially awaits.
How the bookies view it
Despite their recent blip, Brentford are favourites to win on the night, at a best 4/6 with Betway, while Swansea are as big as 9/2 with the same firm. But there's not much between the sides when it comes to qualifying for the final, with Swansea 20/23 at BetVictor and the Bees 22/23 with VBet.
A draw would be enough to take the Swans through and that's worth considering at 31/10 with SportNation. I'm going to play it a bit safer and just back Cooper's men to go through as that includes late drama in extra time and penalties.
Recent head to head
Brentford had the edge in the regular Championship season, winning both games against Swansea. The triumphed 3-0 at the Liberty Stadium then followed it up with a 3-1 win at home (below).
But the Welsh side had won the seven previous games before that, dating back to 2006, so they have dominated the head-to-head over the last 14 years.
Players to watch
Brentford's Said Benrahma will probably be playing in the Premier League next season, regardless of whether the Bees actually go up. The Algerian has 17 goals for the season, including one against the Swans, and is 21/10 with Paddy Power to net here.
On-loan Liverpool kid Rhian Brewster has played a key role in Swansea's surge to the play-offs, netting 10 times since his January move. The forward is 14/5 with Betway for a goal here which looks good value.
Anything else catch the eye?
I cashed in by backing the League One play-off semi-final between Portsmouth and Oxford to go all the way the penalties. They were two evenly matched sides and that's the case again here so there could be a repeat.
Bet365 are offering 11/2 on the tie going to extra-time while the same firm price a penalty shoot-out at 6/1.
Franks and Cooper like their sides to attack and both teams to score has come up in Swansea's last four away games. So I fancy a repeat here and it pays 10/11 with Sportingbet.
This English Championship match between Brentford and Swansea will be played on Jul 29, 2020 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Brentford vs Swansea prediction.