Swansea and Reading will contest the Championship play-off final on bank holiday Monday for a place in the Premier League. But neither side would look out of place in the top flight and after the season each club has had their place would be fully deserved.
Swansea have had a fairly consistent season and featured in the top 6 for the majority of it. Their success has been built on their very impressive home form that produced 15 wins and only 3 defeats. However, if there was anything that let them down this season it was the number of games they lost away. Although they won 9 games on the road the tally of 11 defeats is the worst in the top 9. However, despite missing out on automatic promotion they now have another chance in the play-off final after beating Nottingham Forest in the semi-final.
Reading in many ways have had a very different season to Swansea even though the final league table shows them separated by only 3 points. However, in many ways they gate crashed the play-off party as one team usual does. For much of the season it looked like a finish in the top half of the table was as good as it was going to get. But Reading have a fantastic spirit about them and a run of games that included 8 consecutive wins put them right in contention and for a second it looked like automatic promotion might be on the cards.
It promises to be an exciting final between two sides that enjoy playing good football and both have one or two players to watch and worth keeping an eye on. Swansea play a very patient game of possession football and like to control games and that should put them in good stead in the Premier League should they get there. However, they also have some very good attacking players that can get in behind teams. Players worth keeping an eye on include former Chelsea man Scott Sinclair, Nathan Dyer and on-loan Chelsea striker Fabio Borini – who has made a real impact in a short space of time.
Reading like Swansea has some real talent and pace in their side that would cause problems for any defence. Players worth keeping an eye on include Jobi McAnuff, Jimmy Kebe and their top scorer Shane Long. Good luck to both teams in the final and whoever is successful can look forward to the challenge of the Premier League.
There are certainly plenty of good things going for each club. They both play in modern stadiums, like to play football in the right way, have players that would not look out of place in the Premier League and both have up and coming managers; no reason to think that one of these teams cannot become a permanent fixture in the Premier League.