After what has been a long time on the road, one of Fulham or Brentford’s journey to the Premier League will be completed this evening.
The west-London neighbors will be clashing at Wembley in what is dubbed as the “most expensive” football game in world football. An unforgiving affair which sends the winner into English football’s top-tier alongside £160m worth of cash injection. For the losers, it’s a return to square one back into the second division.
Brentford could have made life easier for themselves by securing automatic qualification. The Bees fell to a shock home defeat on the last day of the season against Barnsley and could not leapfrog West Brom into second. However, they showed great resolve to overcome a first-leg semifinal defeat to Swansea and reach the final.
On the other hand, Fulham had to survive a second leg scare in their semifinal. After a 2-0 away triumph at Cardiff in the first leg, the return leg was supposed to be a mere formality but Cardiff pushed them all the way through winning 2-1 at Craven Cottage. Brentford come into the game having had 24 extra hours of recovery time. Only time will tell how much that ends up determining in Wembley’s showdown.
Fulham’s top scorer, Aleksandar Mitrovic, is a doubt for the clash alongside Neeskens Kebano who scored two crucial goals over both legs against Cardiff. Scott Parker will be sweating on the fitness of his attacking duo. Brentford has no new injury concerns ahead of the game with Nikos Karelis expected to be the only absentee.
Martin Atkinson is our match official for the day. The veteran also officiated Manchester City’s Community Shield triumph over Liverpool exactly one year ago today. Kickoff is at 7: 45 PM(GMT)