Written by Calum Outhwaite
Heading into tonight’s game, Brighton head to Hillsborough as the favourites to win the play offs. Chris Hughton’s team missed out on an automatic promotion place at the very last hurdle, after a 1-1 draw away at Middlesbrough, who subsequently finished in second place. On paper, they should win the race for promotion, and a first return to the top flight since 1983, but it may not be as easy as everyone thinks. Although they missed out in the end, Brighton’s team have exceeded not just football fans expectations, but their very own.
As for Sheffield Wednesday, it’s been a very successful season. After they were assured of a sixth place finish after a 3-0 victory against Cardiff City, the signs look good for a first Premier League return since the start of the millennium. With the likes of Fernando Forestieri and Gary Hooper banging in 28 goals between them this season, it could be too much, even for Brighton’s solid defence.
Looking at tonight’s first leg encounter, it should be pretty close game. Neither team have scored against each other this season, as both games between the two teams finished goalless. As well as that, Brighton haven’t scored against Sheffield Wednesday in their past five matches, ever since Keith Andrew’s last minute equaliser back in 2013. Sheff Wed have good news in the fact that Ross Wallace is back after he served his three match ban, as well as Atdhe Nuhiu, who returns from a knee injury.
For the away team in tonight’s first leg affair, Brighton have a few absentees. They will be without suspended pair Lewis Dunk and Dale Stephens,who was sent off against Middlesbrough in Brighton’s last match. Bobby Zamora is also ruled out of both legs with a hip injury. Steve Sidwell could come into the team to replace the suspended Dale Stephens in midfield.
Based on this, my prediction for the game is a 1-0 victory for Sheffield Wednesday in a tight affair.
What do you predict the score to be tonight? Who will progress to the final? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured image by John Lord.