Few early targets as Bournemouth look to take the sting out of the Bees
Bournemouth v Brentford
Championship play-off first leg
Monday 17 May, 18:00
Live on Sky Sports
Brentford come into this as the kind facet, unbeaten of their final 12 video games and having gained their final 4. This run of wins began with a 1-0 victory at the Vitality Stadium, in a recreation that Thomas Frank‘s facet dominated, with even Pontus Jansson’s pink card after 50 minutes at 0-0 doing nothing to have an effect on the recreation’s future.
Despite having a person benefit for the majority of the 2nd half, Bournemouth‘s glittering array of in-form attacking gamers could not discover a technique to even trend a good likelihood. Arnaut Danjuma is the star of the present, with a hefty supporting solid of Philip Billing, Dominic Solanke, David Brooks and Junior Stanislas, but they solely managed 4 photographs in the recreation, all of which had been taken from vary.
Jonathan Woodgate‘s facet then misplaced their subsequent two video games, failing to attain in opposition to both Wycombe or Stoke, and given Brentford’s defensive effectivity, it is exhausting to have any confidence in Bournemouth getting again amongst the targets in opposition to a facet who’ve conceded simply twice of their final eight.
Stopping in need of opposing Bournemouth given the undoubted artistic and scoring high quality that they do have, a goalless first half at 8/5 seems the technique to go right here. The prize could not be larger, with either side understanding that ought to they win they are going to be overwhelming favourites at Wembley.
The league recreation might be contemporary in the reminiscence, so anticipate Bournemouth to be set as much as stifle early on in opposition to a facet who would fortunately head again to west London on stage phrases.
Freshened-up Tykes an awesome worth to qualify
Barnsley v Swansea
Championship play-off first leg
Monday 17 May, 20:15
Live on Sky Sports
Football followers who solely become involved in the EFL right now of the season might be stunned that Barnsley, who solely prevented relegation from the Championship on remaining day final season, are marginal favourites to progress to Wembley forward of a Swansea facet who fell at this hurdle again in July.
Daniel Farke could have gained the official Championship Manager of the Year gong, however it arguably ought to have gone to Barnsley boss Valerian Ismael. Since he was introduced in to switch Gerhard Struber in October, they’ve amassed 75 factors in 40 video games, with solely Norwich, Watford and Brentford getting extra.
The soccer is each attritional and enthralling; a mash between the gegenpress we affiliate with Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, and an urgency to get the ball ahead that gives an aesthetic extra akin to English soccer’s so-called dinosaurs. Ismael usually makes all 5 substitutions on the hour given the bodily calls for of the press, so the 9 day break as much as the first-leg may be an added bonus.
This all-action type alongside a set-piece proficiency that has instantly led to 17 targets makes them an extremely awkward opponent. Just ask Thomas Tuchel, who would doubtless say that the Tykes supplied his Chelsea facet with one in every of their hardest duties, and had been considerably lucky to come back away 1-0 winners of their FA Cup tie again in February.
Swansea followers could really feel like they’ve struck gold in avoiding each Brentford and Bournemouth at this stage, however in fact it’s Barnsley who discover themselves up in opposition to the weakest facet in the combine. Swansea’s early season kind was constructed upon an unimaginable defensive report that proved unsustainable. Form of three wins and two attracts of their final seven video games could not set the alarm bells off, however the efficiency ranges have been poor for some time.
Many Swansea followers have been disillusioned by their team’s performances for many of the calendar yr, and a take a look at the xG ratio tables for his or her final 4, eight, 12 and 16 matches pegs Swansea as a mid-table facet at best, while over the final 24 video games an xG ratio of 46% has them six off backside.
Steve Cooper might be hoping that Andre Ayew is match for these video games, and that will surely make them stronger, however whichever means you take a look at it Barnsley come into these ties as by far the stronger facet, and needs to be a great deal shorter than 5/6 to qualify.
Don’t anticipate this primary leg to be shy on targets
League One play-off first leg
Tuesday 18 May, 18:00
Live on Sky Sports
Play-off semi-finals can usually be cagey affairs given what’s at stake, however anticipate Oxford vs Blackpool to buck that pattern on Tuesday. Free-scoring Oxford have seen 6-0, 4-0, 4-1 and a few 3-2 wins, which means Oxford crept into the remaining play-off berth at Portsmouth’s expense, all whereas offering worth as the league’s entertainers.
This is smart when the team Karl Robinson has settled upon, with Mark Sykes, and James Henry in withdrawn midfield roles and Elliott Lee, Olomide Shodipo and Matty Taylor making up the entrance three, so we’re prone to see a facet containing 5 gamers who would think about their pure place to be in the remaining third of the pitch. Box-to-box midfielder Cameron Brannagan is the most defensive of the trio, with the defensive minded Alex Gorrin unable to make the facet.
This attacking structure coupled with the return of followers at the Kassam Stadium makes a semi stalemate wholly unlikely, even when Blackpool’s defensive report on the street is exemplary. Seven clear sheets of their final 9 away video games, all of which resulted in three factors, exhibit how nicely drilled Neil Critchley‘s facet is.
But it is this report that offers us the enticing 6/5 on Over 2.5 goals for the first leg. There is little likelihood of the Oxford boss switching up his successful system and they are going to be determined to take a lead again to Blackpool on Friday.
Blackpool are environment friendly going ahead and the likes of Jerry Yates and Ellis Simms will look to use the house facet’s attacking mentality. They look honest worth to win the recreation in 90 minutes, however the safer guess right here seems to facet with targets in a recreation the place the house followers will anticipate to see their facet placed on one other present on this sudden likelihood to get again to Wembley.
Go with the best and most in-form team
Tranmere v Morecambe
League Two play-off first leg
Thursday 20 May, 18:00
Live on Sky Sports
These sides could not have endured extra totally different campaigns. Tranmere come into the first leg having simply sacked Keith Hill, an unprecedented transfer at this stage of the season and an indication of simply how stagnant issues have develop into in latest weeks.
An unimaginable run of 9 wins in 12 league video games underneath Hill rapidly turned after shedding the Papa John’s Trophy Final to Sunderland at Wembley, and simply three in the subsequent 13 put paid to any probabilities of a high three end.
The dip in kind coincided with an damage to 18-goal striker James Vaughan, the severity of which continues to be unknown given a short return to first team soccer in April. Tranmere followers are buoyed by Hills’ departure and the return of Caretaker duo Ian Dawes and Andy Parkinson however, except Vaughan makes a return to the facet, they’ll have their work lower out enhancing a facet who’ve scored simply 5 targets of their final eight video games.
Normally a facet who come as shut as Morecambe to computerized promotion would possibly discover it exhausting to bounce again from the disappointment, however so sudden was their promotion push that you just really feel Derek Adams‘ facet will go into this filled with confidence that they will cement their place as the fourth best team in the division.
Five wins of their final six exhibits that Morecambe aren’t simply the best facet in the play-offs, however the kind team too; a counter-attacking successful machine so skillfully constructed by Adams, with the mercurial Carlos Mendes Gomes the participant to observe.
They are rightful favourites for the tie at 8/11 and are perhaps a contact of worth at 15/8 to win the first leg, however on condition that Tranmere’s house report has held up in the midst of this newest identification disaster, with only one defeat of their final 9, the sensible play is to take the draw insurance coverage out and back the away side draw no bet at 5/4, although for the acca we’re taking part in it a little bit safer and going with Morecambe in the double likelihood market at 4/7.