Brentford V Middlesbrough
Friday 8th May. 7:45Pm. Sky Sports 1
After an extraordinary regular season, the drama of the Championship continues on Friday night as the play-off semi-finals begin with a crucial clash between Brentford and Middlesbrough.
Friday’s opponents are joined by rivals Ipswich and Norwich in the battle for that dream ticket to next year’s Premier League and we should be in for an incredible five matches between now and May 25th!
Let’s get the party started in style!
Warburton To Secure Dream Finale?
No matter what happens in the play-offs, Brentford have already confirmed that Mark Warburton won’t be staying on next season. Nonetheless, the 52-year-old could give his CV a huge boost by leading the Bees to back-to-back promotions.
Boro’s last defeat to Brentford in any competition was in the FA Cup in January 1964. They last lost a league match to them in December 1938.
The Bees went a little off the boil a few weeks back but returned to form in time to confirm their play-off place and will be looking to bring that momentum into this crucial battle against Boro. The hosts will be confident on home turf too after scoring 46 goals and losing just five games at Griffin Park this term; even if one of those defeats was inflicted by Friday’s opponents.
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Brentford are blessed with some great attacking talent, and the firepower of Andre Gray, Alex Pritchard and co could well be needed to penetrate the rigid Boro backline. With a packed crowd cheering them on, as well as a record of scoring in seven straight home games, there is nothing stopping the Bees from putting in a strong performance.
There is a feeling that Brentford must take an advantage into next week’s return match and that should inspire n attacking display from Warburton’s men. We could be in for a thrilling encounter.
Boro Looking To Sting Bees Once More
Aitor Karanka’s side will be bitterly disappointed at missing out on automatic promotion but they’ve got another chance for redemption and should be in high spirits as they head to Griffin Park.
Brentford lost both regular season meetings with Middlesbrough this season without scoring.
Boro won both head-to-head meetings during the regular campaign, including a 1-0 win here at the end of January, and completing that particular hat-trick on Friday night would put them in a fantastic position to reach the final.
Their recent run of results are a slight cause for concern but form can be thrown out of the window now. This is a fresh start for Boro and a squad boasting the likes of Patrick Bamford, Grant Leadbitter, Kike, and Daniel Ayala has every chance of securing that dream promotion.
In addition to their wealth of attacking talents, Boro’s defence was the tightest in the Championship this term. A solid defensive performance against Brentford could provide the platform for a memorable victory.
Brentford V Middlesbrough Betting Tips
With home advantage on their side for this first-leg contest, Brentford have been made the slight favourites with Bet365 and are priced at 17/10. However, a price of 15/8 suggests Boro could also be in with a great shout. The draw, meanwhile, is available at 23/10.
Considering they won both regular season matches without conceding, confidence will be high amongst Karanka’s camp. Whilst we’re not confident about their chances of keeping a clean sheet, the visitors can set themselves up nicely for a place in the Wembley final.
With the reverse clash still to come, we’re holding back from selecting an away win as Boro would surely accept an away draw. Nonetheless, they’d love to bring an advantage back to the Riverside and we’re backing them to return home with parity at the very least.
Middlesbrough 0 Asian handicap @ 43/40 with Bet365
There has been a lot of talk about Patrick Bamford this season, as well as much speculation regarding his future at parent club Chelsea. Whatever awaits this talented youngster, he’ll be eager to further demonstrate his credentials by firing Boro to the top-tier of English football.
We’re backing him to start that mission with a goal at Griffin Park. A price of 11/2 for first goalscorer might tempt some but at 15/8 we’re playing the safer alternative.
Patrick Bamford to score anytime @ 15/8 with Bet365