Brentford V Swansea Championship Play Off ++++


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According to Tony Cascarino: the most "lucrative" Championship game of the season - with a wedge from the Premiership saying "welcome to the big-boys club".
POff cup.jpeg
theres a lot of material in here supporting the Bees [because I want them to win] and I couldnt give a hoot about "neutrality" or "balance".
Welcome to match-day.(y):geek:
see it report it.jpeg
The Swans have been here before and have been out of the Prem for two years. But since then, their cousins at Ninian Park have landed back in the Championship - two of the "big 6" have finished mid-table and been as exciting as a last nights kibab in the fridge, and Citeh have predictably walked the Prem title. The mighty Boro finished mid - table after nearly joining Sunlun. Steve Bruce waistline increased as did the calls by the Toon Army for his head.
Boro have a history of playing the Bees ....and killing off their hopes....
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Hot Off The Press: Swansea City​

Ian Mitchelmore of Wales Online previews Saturday's final

Following a 2-1 aggregate win over Barnsley, Swansea have gone one better than last season and reached the Championship play-off final. How does that feel?
It’s incredible for everyone at the club. If you look at the semi-finals, Barnsley were actually favourites with all of the bookmakers and Swansea were the outsiders of the four teams to go up. Deep down, having beaten Barnsley twice in the regular season, I think Swansea were quietly confident and, with the players they have in the squad, they knew that they could challenge and get to the final, at the very least. They are going to be the underdogs once again as Brentford are favourites and, probably, rightly so given the way Thomas Frank’s side play, the season they have had and the fact they finished third. To get to the final is one step better than last season, but it, ultimately, means nothing if they don’t go on and win it. It’s a massive occasion and in a one-off game, anything can happen.

As you probably saw, the Brentford crowd provided a significant boost for Thomas Frank’s men in the second leg last weekend. Did the fans at the Liberty Stadium have a similar effect?
Yes, 100 per cent. Full credit to the Barnsley fans, at Oakwell, they were outstanding but Swansea did well to take the sting out of the game early on. In the second leg, they couldn’t really get going, but a great goal from Matt Grimes gave the fans a massive lift. In the build-up to the play-offs, Steve Cooper was regularly asked whether he would prefer to play home or away in the second leg, as it is always perceived to be an advantage to play at home. Without fans, it probably doesn’t make too much of a difference, but with them, it really did. He said after the game that he was always non-committal when asked about that, but he quickly realised it was much better to play the second leg at home because of the fans.

Saturday’s game is a repeat of last season’s play-off semi-final, which Brentford edged 3-2 on aggregate. How desperate are they to exact revenge for that?
Within the club, they certainly won’t be saying that but, interestingly, I have written a piece on the rivalry that has emerged between the two clubs in the last few years. In Swansea’s first season back in the Championship, they beat Brentford three times and Frank was clearly irked by that and set about putting right the wrongs of that first season, where Swansea finished only a point and a place above them. They have mirrored each other since then in getting into the play-offs and failing. There was a bit of bad blood between the teams after last season’s semi-final but I think it has tempered a little bit this season and it is now more about Swansea winning one match and getting back into the Premier League after a three years absence, rather than getting revenge for the defeat at Griffin Park last season.

You reported earlier in the week that Wayne Routledge suffered an ACL injury against Barnsley. How bittersweet does it feel that, in reaching the final, such a superb servant could now have played his final game for the club?
It’s awful for him. He has spent 10 years at the club and been a tremendous servant. In the last couple of seasons, it has been more about what he has done off the pitch rather than on it, but since Cooper has been at the club, he has spoken very highly of him in terms of what he has offered in speaking to the young players, making speeches before games and just being a second voice for the manager as well as the players. His influence is huge and it still will be, even with the injury, so I’m sure he’ll still have a big say in what happens on Saturday, even though he can’t be involved in the game. I think the players would love to win it for him.

Which player is likely to cause Brentford the most problems this weekend?
I think I always say Andre Ayew (above) and I’ll have to go for him again. He is the top scorer this season and lethal from the penalty spot; I think the only penalty he has ever missed for Swansea was against Brentford in the semi-final last season, when he was denied by a great save from David Raya. In the first leg against Barnsley, he didn’t get sniff and barely touched the ball in their half, but then when he did pick it up, he went past Michal Helik, planted it in the corner and Swansea won. He is capable of that moment of magic.

How is Cooper likely to set up his side at Wembley?
I would think it will be 4-3-3 and the same team from the second leg, with the only likely change Liam Cullen or Conor Roberts for Wayne Routledge. The line-up that day was: Woodman, Guehi, Naughton, Bidwell, Cabango, Grimes, Hourihane, Fulton, Lowe, Ayew, Routledge.

The two meetings during the regular season produced two 1-1 draws, but what’s your score prediction for this one?
I can’t say 1-1 again this time, so I will go for 2-1 to Swansea.


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View from the Bees:

"I don’t feel under pressure; to be here again is a fantastic achievement"

Henrik Dalsgaard's pre-Play Off Final Press Conference


Henrik Dalsgaard says it is a very relaxed camp going into tomorrow's Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final against Swansea City. The Bees' defender is one of nine starters from last season's Wembley defeat to Fulham still at the club and feel the squad is in a better place this time round. Henrik doesn't feel there are nerves in the group but rather a desire to go out and do well on the big stage. Watch Henrik's full pre-match press conference.

Henrik on last year’s experiences …

There’s a tiny bit more experience. We’ve all grown one more year which I think is a lot for some of the young players especially. That is the difference. We try not to think too much about [last year] and just keep the joy and excitement we have in the squad this year. We focus on where we are now and not what happened in the past. I can’t say what players do personally, if they need to look back to really drive them, but I just want to play on Saturday and have fun. This is why we play football; we play for these big, decisive games. That is where the fun is.

Henrik on the mood in the squad …
I don’t feel under pressure; to be here again is a fantastic achievement. We have a fantastic group of players, and friends, around me. We are ready to go out and play football and have fun. We don’t need to worry too much which I think is what hit us last year; we got scared of losing. The vibe in the squad is different this year. It just feels more relaxed and calmer. We saw how to tackle [that pressure] last year and hopefully we are in a better position this year.
People are having fun after training. They are staying two, three, four hours playing table-tennis or just having a coffee. That is really important for us as that culture is something we have been pushing since Thomas took over. The leadership group is a big part of that, trying to help all the young guys. You also don’t bring people in who don’t fit or don’t want to adapt to the squad. I don’t think we have any stars, it is one unit. The Brentford Family. You enjoy coming to work every day and that is a big part of it.
Even if you are injured you are still part of the family. Those [injured players] are really trying to push you and encourage you. They will be there on Saturday. Josh Dasilva has been limping out there to give a small speech. He wants it just as much as the guys on the pitch and that is so important for us.

Henrik on Saturday’s game against Swansea City …
We know it is going to be a tough, tough game. We try to focus on ourselves. I honestly believe that if we hit our top level then we are going to be really hard to beat. That is the only thing we focus on. Obviously there is an opponent but if we make it right then I’m sure we will make it. We just want to go out, have fun, and attack. If we make it, we make it. If we don’t we’ll deal with that later.
You have to think about the rewards because that might give you that extra ten per cent but the main thing is to go out and have fun. We need to do everything possible to do well. If we then hit our top level then I hope we are going to make it.

Henrik on the return of fans …
It will give everyone energy. We felt it the last time we played. It was amazing and so positive. You wanted to crack on and win that next tackle because you knew the crowd would be ready. We will be able to hear them compared to last year; it is going to be amazing.

Henrik on beating Bournemouth last weekend …
We try to take all the positive things we can from that game. The drive, the momentum, and, for me, the joy of playing football. You could see everyone was happy. The pitch was perfect, the weather was perfect, the fans in the stands. That is what you want and that is what you are looking for on Saturday.


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Match Preview: [c/o: ]

After suffering a ninth failed play-off appearance in the EFL only last year, Brentford are just one win away from becoming the 50th different club to play in the Premier League. Ahead of their second-ever playoff final at this level, a game often described as the world’s most valuable game, they are the form side having lost just one of their last 14 games (W7, D6, L1).

Though Brentford had a 50% clean-sheet rate across those 14 fixtures mentioned above, they squandered a lead to draw 1-1 in both league H2Hs. However, they notably recovered a league-high 23 points when conceding first in 2020/21 (W6, D5, L5).

As a bonus to the Bees’ favourable odds, Brentford manager Thomas Frank also boasts a 50% win-rate from managerial H2Hs vs counterpart Steve Cooper (W3, D2, L1). Within that record, all three victories saw his side score in both halves and hold a 2-0 HT lead.

Despite striking first in both semi-final legs vs Barnsley, Swansea are deserving sportsbook outsiders on paper. They finished seven points below Brentford in the regular EFL Championship season, and with four of the last six second-tier playoff finals favouring the higher finishers, the ‘Swans’ already appear to face an uphill battle.

Regardless, their plucky nature is reflected by a positive Championship record as underdogs this term (W5, D5, L4). They also boast an admirable 47.62% win/draw rate across the season when conceding the opener (W3, D7, L11).

Players to watch: Brentford’s Ivan Toney saw over a third (11) of his record-breaking 31 regular-season Championship goals act as match openers. Any response to another may come from André Ayew, with five (31.25%) of his 16 regular-season league goals for Swansea serving as equalisers, including a late strike (77’) in reply to Toney’s opener in the away H2H.

Hot stat: Eight of the last nine Championship play-off finals have been settled by a one-goal margin or drawn (90 mins).
Will not play

Baptiste S.

Dasilva J.

Henry R.

Benda S.

Cooper B.

Cooper O.

Morris J.
(Knee Injury)

Routledge W.

Rushesha T.

Norgaard C.

Match Information

Referee: Kavanagh C. (Eng), Venue: Wembley Stadium (London)


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Here are some memorable moments from the Play-offs over the years courtesy of Sky:
[Troy Deeney`s goal is a beauty - followed up by jumping into the crowd!]


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The Bees have a long history of pulling up short in the play - offs!
Can this be 10th Time Lucky?


Championship play-off final: Can Brentford make it 10th time lucky?

We take a look at how Brentford have come up short in past play-offs and whether they can make it 10th time lucky; Watch the Championship play-off final between Brentford and Swansea on Saturday May 29, live on Sky Sports Football from 2pm; Kick-off 3pm.
Brentford manager Thomas Frank appears dejected after losing the Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final at Wembley Stadium, London. PA Photo. Issue date: Tuesday August 4, 2020. See PA story SOCCER Championship. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire...EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Since the 1990/91 season, Brentford have lost in all nine of their play-off campaigns.
It's an unwanted statistic that has lingered over the West London club for decades, but after overcoming Bournemouth in a thrilling semi-final, Thomas Frank's men have the chance to set the record straight and banish the streak to the history books.

Here, we take a look at how the Bees have come up short in the past and whether they can make it 10th time lucky at Wembley on Saturday, May 29...

1990/91 - Third Division semi-finalists

Brentford spent the 1960s, 70s and 80s flitting between the Third and Fourth Divisions of English football but it looked as though they'd finally escape, after years of mediocrity, in the fifth season after the end-of-season lottery was introduced. Their plans for the season took a hit when Steve Perryman quit as manager less than 10 days before the opening day, but his assistant Phil Holder took over and soon had them challenging at the top of the table.

A run to the Southern Area final of the Leyland DAF Cup affected their league form, however, and despite five wins from their last six games, the Bees were forced to settle for a sixth-place finish. In an enthralling first-leg meeting with Tranmere, Kevin Godfrey struck a last-minute equaliser for the hosts at Griffin Park, but a first-half goal from Gerard Brannan on the return to Prenton Park was enough to earn Rovers a 3-2 victory and a spot in the final at Wembley.

How Brentford's record compares (inc. 20/21)
TeamPlay-off campaignsPromoted

1994/95 - Second Division semi-finalists

This season was a tale of two halves for Brentford, who were uncomfortably perched in mid-table by November 1994 after a mixed bag to start the campaign. David Webb's side bucked their ideas up from there, though, and lost just once from November 26 to April 22. A few days later, they travelled to St Andrew's to take on Birmingham knowing that victory would leave them in pole position for the sole automatic promotion berth in the Second Division. With an immense amount of pressure upon them, the Bees fell to a 2-0 defeat.

They then lost 2-1 to Bournemouth and drew 2-2 with Bristol Rovers as any hopes of a late recovery were dashed and entered the play-offs with an over-riding feeling of what might have been a few weeks earlier. With no killer instinct exercised by themselves or Huddersfield, both legs were drawn 1-1 and, after extra time, Jamie Bates missed the crucial penalty in the shootout, which the Terriers edged 4-3 at Griffin Park.

1996/97 - Second Division finalists
A goal from Shaun Smith condemned Brentford to a 1-0 defeat in the 1997 Second Division play-off final

A goal from Shaun Smith condemned Brentford to a 1-0 defeat in the 1997 Second Division play-off final

Webb had largely the same squad from the previous play-off campaign at his disposal as he went in search of an exit route from the third tier and with Carl Asaba having scored 11 goals in the first 11 games, another promotion push looked likely two years later. They rarely moved away from the top for most of the season, until the wheels started to come off in March 1997.

The goals dried up almost completely after the departure of Nicky Forster to Birmingham and Brentford scored just seven in the final 15 games of the season, picking up 13 points from the 45 available. The slump came to a timely end with a 4-2 aggregate win over Bristol City in the semi-final, though there was to be no happy ending, as Crewe came out on top in the final, with stalwart Shaun Smith netting the decisive goal midway through the first half of a narrow 1-0 win.

2001/02 - Second Division finalists
Steve Coppell took the Bees to the 2001/02 Second Division play-off final

Steve Coppell took the Bees to the 2001/02 Second Division play-off final

Steve Coppell took over from Ray Lewington in the summer of 2001 and steered the cash-strapped club to the top of the table by September, after their best start to the season in over 60 years. By the end of November, Brentford had lost just two of their 19 league games and they ended the season with just two defeats in 18, but thanks to a dreadful Christmas period and start to 2002, the fate of their season came down to the final day.

With second-placed Reading visiting Griffin Park just a point ahead, a win would have seen the Bees promoted as runners-up to champions Brighton, but a late equaliser from Jamie Cureton salvaged a 1-1 draw for the Royals and set up another play-off showdown with Huddersfield. This time around, goals from Lloyd Owusu and Darren Powell saw Brentford through to the final at the Millennium Stadium, where they were beaten 2-0 by Gudjon Thordarson's Stoke.

2004/05 - League One semi-finalists
Martin Allen took Brentford to the League One play-off semi-finals in his first full season in charge

Martin Allen took Brentford to the League One play-off semi-finals in his first full season in charge

Martin Allen had saved Brentford from almost-certain relegation to League Two a year earlier and now set to work assembling a promotion-chasing squad for a cost of next to nothing in the hopes of following up 'The Great Escape' with promotion to the Championship at the first attempt. Though it had been the case with cup runs in previous years, a lucrative run to the FA Cup fifth round didn't slow the Bees' momentum, though three straight defeats in the last two weeks of April put paid to any lingering hopes of reaching the top two.

In the play-offs, an early goal from Jon-Paul McGovern gave Sheffield Wednesday the advantage in the first leg of the tie, before goals from Lee Peacock and Chris Brunt put the Owls 3-0 up on aggregate. Left-back Andy Frampton pulled one back with three minutes to play, but it was too little too late.

2005/06 - League One semi-finalists
Swansea ran out 3-1 aggregate winners in the 2005/06 League One play-off semi-final

Swansea ran out 3-1 aggregate winners in the 2005/06 League One play-off semi-final

Despite the disappointment of the previous season and the club's financial troubles, Allen stayed at the helm and his side repaid him with just one defeat in an impressive two-month run from the end of September to Boxing Day 2005. Again, the team impressed in the FA Cup, but while it brought in much-needed funds, the performances of DJ Campbell - a £5,000 capture from Yeading - piqued interest from both Championship and Premier League clubs.

If promotion had looked likely beforehand, the outlook changed completely once he joined Birmingham on January 31 2006. Not straight away, mind you; Allen's men bulldozed Walsall 5-0 and followed that up with wins over Bristol City and Southend but won just four of the last 15 games, missing out on a top-two finish by just three points. Jay Tabb helped the Bees - who had goalkeeper Stuart Nelson sent off by referee Keith Stroud - earn a 1-1 draw in the first leg at the Liberty Stadium, before a quickfire Leon Knight double back in west London compounded Brentford's misery. Allen soon departed, too.

2012/13 - League One finalists
Brentford were beaten 2-1 by Yeovil in the League One play-off final in 2013

Brentford were beaten 2-1 by Yeovil in the League One play-off final in 2013

Denied automatic promotion on the final day of the season after Marcello Trotta's infamous missed penalty against Doncaster, Brentford were forced to regroup quickly ahead of a trip to Swindon - who they'd already beaten twice over the course of the season - eight days later. A cagey first leg encounter at the County Ground ended level as Kevin O'Connor dispatched a late penalty to cancel out Massimo Luongo's opener 20 minutes earlier.

Back at Griffin Park, Uwe Rosler's men were 3-1 up on the night and coasting shortly after the break, but Joe Devera and Aden Flint pulled two goals back to send the tie to extra time. In the end penalties were required, with Miles Storey's missed spot-kick allowing Adam Forshaw to seal a dramatic victory and spark a pitch invasion. Just under two weeks later, though, the red end of Wembley was left in silence, as Yeovil held on for a 2-1 win, with a Harlee Dean goal unable to spark a comeback.

2014/15 - Championship semi-finalists
Mark Warburton's men were beaten 5-1 on aggregate by Middlesbrough in the semi-finals in 2014/15

Mark Warburton's men were beaten 5-1 on aggregate by Middlesbrough in the semi-finals in 2014/15

In the club's first season back in the second tier since 1992/93, Mark Warburton's side took many by surprise by finishing fifth in spite of their budget being dwarfed by that of many of their peers. Their smart approach to recruitment, allowed them to sign the likes of Andre Gray and Scott Hogan for less than £1.5m, while the loan signing of Alex Pritchard from Tottenham proved to be a masterstroke.

News of Warburton's pending summer exit rumbled in the background, but proved to be no distraction on the pitch, as victories over Reading and Wigan in the season's final two fixtures helped them from seventh to fifth, where they were paired with Middlesbrough. Fernando Amorebieta's 90th-minute winner saw Boro leave the capital with a 2-1 victory in the first leg, but the Teessiders produced a thoroughly professional performance on home turf, running out deserved 3-0 winners to avoid an unlikely upset.

2019/20 - Championship finalists
Two Joe Bryan goals in extra-time dealt Brentford a ninth play-off failure at the end of the 2019/20 campaign

Joe Bryan goals in extra-time dealt Brentford a ninth play-off failure at the end of the 2019/20 campaign

Having missed two late opportunities to usurp West Brom in the Championship automatic promotion places, Thomas Frank became the next man to try his hand at banishing the play-off curse that has hung over Brentford for so many years. An entertaining first leg against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium ended 1-0 in the Welsh side's favour, when Andre Ayew hammered a late volley past David Raya after referee Stroud had shown a controversial red card to Rico Henry that was later overturned.

Frank used the injustice to gee his players up ahead of the second leg at Griffin Park and made the bold claim that he was "100 per cent sure we are going to win" in the build-up to the game. Early goals from Ollie Watkins and Emiliano Marcondes put his side in control of the tie, before Bryan Mbeumo extended the lead with a smart finish. Pontus Jansson's uncharacteristic error allowed Rhian Brewster to reduce the deficit, but the hosts held on for a final win at Griffin Park - their home of 116 years.

Fulham's win over Cardiff in the other semi-final set up a tantalising west London derby at Wembley, which ended 0-0 after 90 minutes. In the 104th minute, Joe Bryan caught Raya out with a free-kick from 40 yards and then followed it up with a crushing second three minutes from time, but though Henrik Dalsgaard reduced the deficit deep into stoppage time in extra time, it was too little, too late and an all-too-familiar feeling for the Bees.


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Brentford put pay to Woody`s Cherries.
Bees v cherries.jpg
Promotion would pay off the mortgage on Brentford`s new ground.
Bees stadium.jpeg
It was being built the last time crowds were allowed in when Boro played there.
It looks impressive (y) :cool:
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This from the archive:
You have to focus intently.
74 years ago - Boro played Brentford at their place in the F.A Cup 4th Round.
Look out for the faces of two Boro legend`s.
No sound.



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From last night:

The Warm Up | Play-Off Special | Where does Sergi rank THAT Semi-Final victory?

•Premiered 17 hours ago


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The Swans Preview of the game:

Preview | Brentford v Swansea City | 2021 Championship play-off final

6 minutes ago
First team

Swansea City will seek to achieve promotion to the top-flight for the third time in the club’s 109-year history when they take on Brentford at Wembley this afternoon (3pm).

The familiar foes, for whom this will be a 10th meeting since the start of December 2018, booked their places in the play-off final thanks to aggregate wins over Barnsley and Bournemouth respectively.

For the Swans it is the 53rd and final game of a gruelling and unrelenting season, with a tantalising prize of a return to the Premier League after a three-year absence at stake.

There are positive omens for Steve Cooper’s side. The Swans have not lost in three previous visits to Wembley since it reopened after renovation in 2007.

Additionally, the two previous promotions to the top-flight were also achieved in years ending in one; John Toshack’s side were the first to do so in 1981, while Brendan Rodgers was at the helm 10 years ago in 2011.

But all those facts and stats will be of no relevance come kick-off time this afternoon. It is a new chapter and a new slice of history to be made.
Everyone with any connection or affiliation to Swansea City will hope this can once again be our day.
Team news

Wayne Routledge sadly misses out on a place in the final after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the second leg of the semi-final against Barnsley.

Midfielder Ollie Cooper is also not in contention due to an ankle injury, while Brandon Cooper and Tivonge Rushesha remain on the sidelines.
Pre-match views
Steve Cooper Barnsley cele.jpg

Steve Cooper: “We are really excited. I’m excited because I see how confident the players are. It fills me with a lot of confidence and pride as well.

“We’ve been on a journey for a couple of years.

“People have come and gone, that’s what happens. But we’re really looking forward to getting down to London and playing on the big stage.

“There’s so much to play for and we know we’ve got to really believe in how we play and work.

“We know the rewards are massive, and that’s a massive motivation for us.”

Thomas Frank: “There is that good focus with the understanding we are facing a Swansea team that has done a fantastic season.

“We have played them twice, both 1-1 draws, with Steve Cooper who is one of the most talented managers in this country, and his experienced coaching staff, who have just performed and performed even better.

“It is going to be an unbelievably tight game decided on the finest margins. I am looking forward to it and we will give it a big go.”

Remember the last time?
Brentford (h) Conor Hourihane celebration.jpg

Conor Hourihane’s first goal for the club ensured 10-man Swansea City extended their unbeaten run and climbed back into second place in the Championship table with a hard-earned point against Brentford in January 2021.

Steve Cooper’s side had looked set to suffer a rare defeat when Tariqe Fosu-Henry headed home with 16 minutes to play, shortly after Kyle Naughton had seen red after receiving two yellow cards from referee John Brooks.

But Hourihane, on his first league appearance for his new club, caught out the Brentford defence and keeper with a whipped free-kick that found the far corner of the net.

It was reward for a gritty performance from the hosts and stretched their unbeaten run to eight games, while they were 11 games without losing at the Liberty.

Prime numbers

5 – This will be Swansea City’s fifth play-off final since the format was introduced ahead of the 1986-87 season. They have won two (1988, 2011) and lost two (1997, 2006) of the previous four.
10 – This will be the 10th meeting between the sides since Swansea were relegated to the Championship in 2018. The sides have been evenly-matched with the Swans winning four games and Brentford three, with two draws.