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Everything you need to know about the Championship play-offs

24 Jul | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Everything you need to know about the Championship play-offs

We assess the state of play in the second tier's end-of-season promotion competition, from when it start to where the final will be played.

Where are we?

The Championship play-offs get under way on Sunday evening, starting with the first leg of Brentford v Swansea.

Fulham v Cardiff will follow on Monday.

The respective winners of each semi-final tie will qualify for the final, with the victorious side promoted to the Premier League.

How did we get here?

On 8 June, after three months without any competitive football, the majority of Championship clubs voted to play the season to a conclusion.

This was at odds with the decisions in League One and League Two, where it was concluded that the costs associated with restarting and playing the remaining fixtures in front of empty stadiums were too high.

Each team had nine games left to play and the season recommenced on the weekend of 20 June.

Who made it in and who missed out?

Of the teams who were in the top six at the point when football was suspended, both Nottingham Forest and Preston missed out on a place in the play-offs.

North End were sixth at the time of the restart, but a run of two victories in their final nine matches was not enough to maintain their position.

Forest, meanwhile, dropped out of the play-off positions on the final day of the season following a 4-1 defeat to Stoke.

They were replaced by Swansea, who finished one goal above them on goal difference after a five-goal swing in their favour.

Cardiff also made it in, having been ninth at the point of resumption. Neil Harris’ side won six out of nine after getting back under way.

Elsewhere, Fulham and Brentford both held onto their places, with the latter finishing the season with back-to-back defeats to miss two opportunities to claim the final automatic promotion spot.

What happens now?

Third-placed Brentford travel to sixth-placed Swansea, while fourth-placed Fulham go to fifth-placed Cardiff in the first legs of each tie.

The second leg will then be played at the home of the side that finished higher in the table.

The winners of each semi-final will qualify for the play-off final – the richest game in world football – with a spot in the Premier League the prize.

When are the games?

The first semi-final will be between Swansea v Brentford at 18:30 on Sunday evening, following the games on the final day of the Premier League.

Cardiff v Fulham will follow at 19:45 on Monday, while the return legs will be played on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

The final is scheduled for 4 August.

Where is the final?

As usual, the final will be held at Wembley.

Who’s going up?

Brentford {ODDS:586266928:11/8} come into the play-offs as favourites for promotion and, despite their end-of-season wobble, it’s hard to see past them.

Thomas Frank’s side had won eight straight matches prior to their two defeats at the end of the campaign.

In terms of attacking effectiveness and expected goals, meanwhile, they play objectively better football than any other side in the division, bar Leeds (experimental361).

Understandably, their semi-final opponents Swansea {ODDS:586266931:9/2} have been priced up as equal-third favourites. They failed to take any points from Brentford during the season, so it seems unlikely that they will get the better of them over two legs.

Fulham and Cardiff are {ODDS:586266929:9/4} and {ODDS:586266930:9/2} respectively, and the former feels like the likeliest finalist in this pairing.

The Cottagers won 2-0 when these sides last met a fortnight ago, and only dropped four points in their final seven matches.

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