The Champions League and the Europa League will take the headlines this week, but there are a couple of important matches in the Championship which provide decent betting opportunities. The league table is certainly starting to settle down now we’re approaching the quarter point of the season, but there are one or two sides who would have been hoping to be higher up the ladder at this stage of the campaign. Fulham and Brentford are two teams who would fall into that category, but there are signs of a revival for the London clubs and both are worth backing to snatch three points on Tuesday night.
Fulham demolished QPR 4-0 on Friday night to get the weekend fixtures underway, and it could prove to be a turning point in both sides’ seasons. QPR lost talisman Charlie Austin to a hamstring injury during the game, and he will be a huge miss if he’s out for an extended period of time. It was a bitter blow for Rangers, who only secured his services for another season at the start of September when the transfer window slammed shut. For Fulham, however, it was vindication of the style of football that Kit Symons has introduced, and a great night for captain Ross McCormack, who helped himself to a brace.
Brentford suffered a cruel 2-1 home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, but their performance was deserving of so much more. They fought back from 1-0 down with 10 men, and looked like going on to win, only for Wednesday to hit a last-gasp winner to steal the points. Owl’s boss Carlos Carvalhal said after the game, “It was our day. It was a lucky day. This is football. In the lottery we won 2-1”.
That tells you everything you need to know about the game and the result, and Brentford can be given a chance to gain compensation when Birmingham come to visit on Tuesday night.
Fulham v Wolves
Fulham are +150 with Skybet and that looks a generous price for a side that is on the up.
The Cottagers were irresistible on Friday night from the moment Moussa Dembele gave them a 2nd minute lead, and two from McCormack plus a goal from winger Pringle gave them a comfortable victory and local bragging rights. The performance prompted boss Kit Symons to wax lyrical about his side, saying, “I was waiting for everything to click and it did tonight”. He also issued a warning to his team by saying, “We will need to kick on from this and make sure this sort of performance becomes the norm”.
Wolves meanwhile, hit a last-minute winner at Preston on Saturday to secure a 1-1 draw against nine men, but it hasn’t been a great start to the season for the side who went so close to making the play-offs last year. Their only wins this term have been against Blackburn and Charlton, but they’re yet to win a game in September, and have scored just twice in the last four games. Those results have included a 2-1 league defeat to Bolton, a 3-0 reverse to Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup, a 0-0 draw at Brighton and that 1-1 result on the weekend at Preston.
Fulham on the other hand have turned around a poor start to win three of the last four league games, and although they’ve only made their way up to 13th, a win on Tuesday night would take them to within touching distance of the play-off zone. They’ve beaten Rotherham, Blackburn and QPR, with only a 3-2 reverse at Sheffield Wednesday in-between. They’re the side in form and can put the current confidence to good use by beating Wolves on Tuesday night.
Brentford v Birmingham
The Bee’s haven’t had a good start by any account in this season’s Championship, and they will always be playing catch up to a degree if they want to challenge at the right end of the table this term. They’re currently just three places above the relegation zone, and need to turn things around quickly to start moving up the table. However, there were very good signs in Saturday’s home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday, and both managers agreed that Brentford were deserving of more from the game.
Tuesday’s visitors are Birmingham, who had a superb start to the season which now sees them in 9th place, but who have lost form of late with two defeats in the last three. The latest of those losses was a confidence-sapping 2-0 home reverse to then-bottom side Rotherham, who leapfrogged their way out of the drop zone with a great win. That was on the back of defeats to Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup, and Notts Forest in the league, and the early season high appears to have faded for the Blues.
Boss Gary Rowett praised Rotherham for their performance after the 2-0 weekend defeat, and said his players were tired after the energy they expended against Villa in the midweek cup game, but they had been on a mini-slump before that game, and they’ve now only scored one in four games. Brentford have at least been scoring goals if not getting the results – they’ve notched in each of the last five games – and things looked to be turning round with the recent 2-1 home win over Preston. The sending off and resultant penalty put them right on the back foot at home to Wednesday on Saturday, but they still fought back to produce the better football and should have gained at least a point for their endeavors. If they can perform to that level on Tuesday night, they should have too much quality for Birmingham to live with.
Fulham to beat Wolves
Tuesday 29th September, 19:45 GMT
Brentford to beat Birmingham
Tuesday 29th September. 19:45 GMT
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