BRENTFORD face Fulham in the Championship play-off final on Tuesday night. James Cantrill (@) shares his thoughts on the Wembley showdown.
Brentford vs Fulham | Tuesday 4th August 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports
With no fresh injuries or suspensions to report, Thomas Frank could name the same XI that brushed Swansea aside for Brentford's trip to Wembley. This would see Josh Dasilva miss out dispute an impressive season for the Bees.
In stark contrast, two crucial players are doubtful for Scott Parker as Aleksandar Mitrovic and Neeskens Kebano face late fitness tests as both are suffering with hamstring injuries. The big Serb striker was not risked for either of the semi-final legs in the hope that if they made it, he'd be fit to start in the final.
However, with question marks still over his fitness, Parker may have to start Bobby Decordova-Reid up front, whilst Ivan Cavalerio would step in for Kabano.
Over 1 Card Each Team (Bet365 5/4)
Premier League referee Martin Atkinson has the whistle for this game, he's averaged 2.94 Bookings Points per-game this season. In his last three PL games though, he awarded a penalty, two red cards and 14 yellows.
The fact that Atkinson is predominantly a PL ref is important because three of the four play-off semi-finals were overseen by Premier League referees (Keith Stroud, Chris Kavanagh and Paul Tierney). All three appeared more inclined to brandish cards, which is probably due to the more physical nature of the league.
The PL trio awarded a combined total of 22 cards (7/7/8) in the three games. This translates to a 110.9% increase in comparison to what they have averaged per-game this season. This should also bode well for the betting angle.
Both sides received at least two cards in their respective semi-finals, landing in 9/11of Fulham's behind closed doors games and 5/12 of Brentford's.
Josh Onomah To Be Booked (Betfair 6/1)
This season Josh Onomah has averaged 2.10 tackles per-game and 1.40 fouls, receiving a total of four yellow cards. Three of his cards have come behind closed doors with his two most recent bookings coming in his last three starts. He was also lucky not get his name taken in the first leg versus Cardiff after committing three fouls.
Onomah is enjoying his longest stint in Fulham's XI since the turn of the year having started the last seven games, during which time he's averaged 2.60 tackles and 1.90 fouls per-game, an increase on his total season average. Equally important is the fact that he has played the full 90 minutes for Fulham in their last three which bodes well for this bet – the longer he is on the pitch, the more chance he has of being booked.
The young Englishman's last three bookings have come as a consequence of three different misdemeanours; against Forest he committed a syndical foul, versus Wigan he was booked for an argument, whilst it was time wasting against Cardiff. The plethora of indiscipline is encouraging, especially when you combine it with the fact that he is only 23 years-old playing in the most valuable game in English football.
Neeskens Kebano 1+ Shot on Target (Betfair 6/5)
Neeskens Kebano limped off at half-time against Cardiff with a hamstring injury and there is concern over his fitness for this. The Congo international has played a pivotal role in the Cottages' play-off campaign, scoring in both legs of the semi-finals and I suspect he will have some baring on this game if he can recover.
Despite only starting seven games, the ex-PSG winger has scored five times this season, all off which have come in Fulham's last four fixtures. Kebano is available at 9/2 to score anytime (Betfair) and I think this certainly worth considering. However, given the magnitude of the match and the bearing it may impose on the sides, goals could be at a premium.
Kebano is priced at 6/5 with Betfair to have a shot on-target – most other bookies have him below evens with William Hill as short as 3/10! He averages 1.20 shots per-game, which rises to two if you only include games he has started – in his last four starts he has averaged three SpG. The Fulham flyer has had a shot on target 5/7 of his starts.
On this basis alone, it suggests that there is a 71% chance of Kebano having one on-target attempt in the final if he starts, however, his odds imply that there is only a 45.5% chance of doing so, so you could argue the price represents value.