The 2017 EFL Championship Play-Off Final Preview
May 29, 2017 (No Comments) by Felipe Wasserstein

hudder_read_feature

The Championship play-off final is often referred to as the richest game in football, and for good reason! The winning team will not only earn promotion to the Premier League, but they’ll also receive a guaranteed £170 million piece of the TV broadcast rights pie.

So, on May 29th in a jam-packed Wembley Stadium, the pressure will be on Huddersfield Town and Reading FC as they battle it out to see who’ll join already promoted Newcastle and Brighton in the top flight, next season.

Below, we’ll remember how Huddersfield and Reading both got through their difficult semi-finals, and look ahead to what we can expect from the final on Monday.

Reading FC’s Route to the Final

Reading’s first play-off game against Fulham ended in a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage. A few minutes after half-time, Jordan Obita put Reading ahead. Obita got the ball from McShane and shot off the inside of the post. Fulham levelled through Tom Cairney a little more than 10 minutes later. Close to the games end, Reading’s captain Paul McShane was sent off after going in high on Kevin McDonald.

Though Fulham started as pre-match favourites, they only had two openings in the first half. Cairney missed a long-range shot, and Sone Aluko also had a shot go wide. Fulham appeared to wake up after Cairney’s goal, and they pressured for a second, but Reading’s defence was able to hold on and avoid giving their opponents much space. The Royals met a mostly dominant Fulham team at the Madejski Stadium for the second-leg match. For the first half hour, both sides played with a lot of intensity; the goalkeepers being credited with keeping the scores level.

reading

Kermorgant lost an earlier opening chance after a fine save was made by Marcus Benitelli. A few moments after, Al-Habsi saved a shot from Tom Cairney. Then just a few minutes after the break, a mistake from Fulham’s centre-back, Kalas, whose left arm touched the ball, proved fatal as the Royals were awarded with a penalty. Kermorgant converted it, making it his 19th goal of the Championship. But the real star (and life-saver) of Reading’s team was goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi. During the second half, Al-Habsi tipped a Kevin McDonald strike over the bar and also kept out a strong strike from Chris Martin.

Huddersfield Town’s Route to the Final

Huddersfield’s first leg of their play-off against Sheffield Wednesday, saw the Terriers completely control the first 45 minutes. Izzy Brown almost scored for Huddesfield early in the game, with his strike grazing the crossbar. Other than that, Sheffield’s goalkeeper, Keiren Westwood, saved a Nahki Wells shot, and that was about it. The match ended in a goalless draw. The Terriers entered the game looking to end a streak of seven consecutive matches without beating the Owls, but Hudderfield’s dominance and possession wasn’t enough.

The second leg featured yet another draw. Steven Fletcher scored for Wednesday early in the second half with a header into the far corner. The visitors levelled when Collin Quaner’s strike was deflected into the net off Tom Less. The Owls had a good start, as Adam Reach’s shot was saved by Terrier’s keeper Danny Ward, but Huddersfield got the best of the chances, when Izzy Brown’s strike hit the outside of the post. With five minutes remaining, Wells had a second goal denied by a Keiren Westwood block, which sent the game into extra-time.

huddersfield_fc

Sheffield’s substitute Jordan Rhodes had a chance to score, but the shot was saved by Ward. In the second half of extra-time, Wells’ shot hit the side netting, leading many to believe the ball had actually went into the net, but it wasn’t to be on this occasion. This was the last clear chance for a goal before the referee blew the whistle which meant spot kicks were imminent. Huddersfield efficiently scored four penalties, while their goalkeeper Danny Ward saved efforts from Sam Hutchinson and Fernando Forerstieri, which earned the Terrier’s a ticket to the play-off final.

The Championship Play-Off Final

Interestingly enough, both finalists were outsiders in the betting to come through their semi-finals. Huddersfield, in particular, reached the semi-final without winning any of their last seven matches, though they were certainly the better team during their clash against the Owls. Reading had a better campaign, however their last two matches proved they’re a team that rely more on the quality of their defence to get the job done rather than the ability to create chances or hold onto the ball.

Huddersfield and Reading last met during the Championship on September 24th 2016 and February 21st 2017, with The Royals edging their first encounter 1-0 in a close game. The Terriers enacted revenge in the two teams’ second match of the Championship season, with a late goal courtesy of Philip Beilling securing Huddersfield a 1-0 victory.

the-championship-play-off-final

With nothing between the two teams in the Championship, it’s difficult to side with either one to come out on top here. The bookies currently have Huddersfield priced up as favourites to gain their first ever promotion to the Premier League, but despite this, we think Reading might edge this one after a close-fought contest, however this is provided that they’re able to cope without their captain, Paul McShane.

Prediction: Reading 1 – 0.

So there’s some insight into what can be expected in the year’s Championship play-off final. A close fought contest between two sides, with the victor earning promotion to the Premier League and a guaranteed £170 million in TV money. Not bad for only the second biggest League in England.

Felipe Wasserstein
Writes about sports and lifestyle. Enjoys anything related to movies, video games and football. Also a massive Juventus supporter.

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The 2017 EFL Championship Play-Off Final Preview
May 29, 2017 (No Comments) by Felipe Wasserstein

hudder_read_feature

The Championship play-off final is often referred to as the richest game in football, and for good reason! The winning team will not only earn promotion to the Premier League, but they’ll also receive a guaranteed £170 million piece of the TV broadcast rights pie.

So, on May 29th in a jam-packed Wembley Stadium, the pressure will be on Huddersfield Town and Reading FC as they battle it out to see who’ll join already promoted Newcastle and Brighton in the top flight, next season.

Below, we’ll remember how Huddersfield and Reading both got through their difficult semi-finals, and look ahead to what we can expect from the final on Monday.

Reading FC’s Route to the Final

Reading’s first play-off game against Fulham ended in a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage. A few minutes after half-time, Jordan Obita put Reading ahead. Obita got the ball from McShane and shot off the inside of the post. Fulham levelled through Tom Cairney a little more than 10 minutes later. Close to the games end, Reading’s captain Paul McShane was sent off after going in high on Kevin McDonald.

Though Fulham started as pre-match favourites, they only had two openings in the first half. Cairney missed a long-range shot, and Sone Aluko also had a shot go wide. Fulham appeared to wake up after Cairney’s goal, and they pressured for a second, but Reading’s defence was able to hold on and avoid giving their opponents much space. The Royals met a mostly dominant Fulham team at the Madejski Stadium for the second-leg match. For the first half hour, both sides played with a lot of intensity; the goalkeepers being credited with keeping the scores level.

reading

Kermorgant lost an earlier opening chance after a fine save was made by Marcus Benitelli. A few moments after, Al-Habsi saved a shot from Tom Cairney. Then just a few minutes after the break, a mistake from Fulham’s centre-back, Kalas, whose left arm touched the ball, proved fatal as the Royals were awarded with a penalty. Kermorgant converted it, making it his 19th goal of the Championship. But the real star (and life-saver) of Reading’s team was goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi. During the second half, Al-Habsi tipped a Kevin McDonald strike over the bar and also kept out a strong strike from Chris Martin.

Huddersfield Town’s Route to the Final

Huddersfield’s first leg of their play-off against Sheffield Wednesday, saw the Terriers completely control the first 45 minutes. Izzy Brown almost scored for Huddesfield early in the game, with his strike grazing the crossbar. Other than that, Sheffield’s goalkeeper, Keiren Westwood, saved a Nahki Wells shot, and that was about it. The match ended in a goalless draw. The Terriers entered the game looking to end a streak of seven consecutive matches without beating the Owls, but Hudderfield’s dominance and possession wasn’t enough.

The second leg featured yet another draw. Steven Fletcher scored for Wednesday early in the second half with a header into the far corner. The visitors levelled when Collin Quaner’s strike was deflected into the net off Tom Less. The Owls had a good start, as Adam Reach’s shot was saved by Terrier’s keeper Danny Ward, but Huddersfield got the best of the chances, when Izzy Brown’s strike hit the outside of the post. With five minutes remaining, Wells had a second goal denied by a Keiren Westwood block, which sent the game into extra-time.

huddersfield_fc

Sheffield’s substitute Jordan Rhodes had a chance to score, but the shot was saved by Ward. In the second half of extra-time, Wells’ shot hit the side netting, leading many to believe the ball had actually went into the net, but it wasn’t to be on this occasion. This was the last clear chance for a goal before the referee blew the whistle which meant spot kicks were imminent. Huddersfield efficiently scored four penalties, while their goalkeeper Danny Ward saved efforts from Sam Hutchinson and Fernando Forerstieri, which earned the Terrier’s a ticket to the play-off final.

The Championship Play-Off Final

Interestingly enough, both finalists were outsiders in the betting to come through their semi-finals. Huddersfield, in particular, reached the semi-final without winning any of their last seven matches, though they were certainly the better team during their clash against the Owls. Reading had a better campaign, however their last two matches proved they’re a team that rely more on the quality of their defence to get the job done rather than the ability to create chances or hold onto the ball.

Huddersfield and Reading last met during the Championship on September 24th 2016 and February 21st 2017, with The Royals edging their first encounter 1-0 in a close game. The Terriers enacted revenge in the two teams’ second match of the Championship season, with a late goal courtesy of Philip Beilling securing Huddersfield a 1-0 victory.

the-championship-play-off-final

With nothing between the two teams in the Championship, it’s difficult to side with either one to come out on top here. The bookies currently have Huddersfield priced up as favourites to gain their first ever promotion to the Premier League, but despite this, we think Reading might edge this one after a close-fought contest, however this is provided that they’re able to cope without their captain, Paul McShane.

Prediction: Reading 1 – 0.

So there’s some insight into what can be expected in the year’s Championship play-off final. A close fought contest between two sides, with the victor earning promotion to the Premier League and a guaranteed £170 million in TV money. Not bad for only the second biggest League in England.

Felipe Wasserstein
Writes about sports and lifestyle. Enjoys anything related to movies, video games and football. Also a massive Juventus supporter.

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