This season’s League One play-off final offers a chance for recovery for one of two sides seeking an end to recent struggles.
Both Charlton Athletic and Sunderland have endured a difficult decade, but a return to the Championship could be the start of a brighter future.
The Addicks needed a shootout to down Doncaster in the semi-finals, while Sunderland battled past Portsmouth.
We should be in for a competitive contest at Wembley, with the two sides finishing just three points apart in the regular campaign. And of course, there’s the memory of that epic 1998 eight-goal Championship play-off thriller!
Charlton edged it that day, but who goes up this time around?
Having lost only twice in 23 games in 2019, Charlton certainly have the edge form-wise, but our traders can barely call this. Both sides are 10/11 apiece to get promoted via any method.
In the 90 minute market, Jack Ross’ Black Cats are narrow favourites at 6/4, with Lee Bowyer’s Addicks right in the mix at 15/8. 11/5 says it ends all-square and we go to extra-time.
There wasn’t much between this pair in the league clashes either. Sunderland needed a last-minute strike to win 2-1 on home soil back in August, while it ended 1-1 in January’s meeting in South London.
And with four of the last six play-off finals seeing both teams net, there’s 3/4 about both teams to score.
Penalties haven’t been required in a League One showdown since 2014, but there’s 10/1 apiece for either side to go through via a shootout.
Bowyer hasn’t been afraid to shake things up when it comes to tactical options, utilising a number of formations this term.
But former Leeds United midfielder seems to enjoy a 4-3-1-2 line-up the most. It worked versus Doncaster and could do so again at Wembley. That would see Joe Aribo in the playmaker role behind Lyle Taylor and Josh Parker.
Ross has switched between 4-4-2 and a 4-2-3-1 this term, largely favouring the latter.
Charlie Wyke is poised to lead the line, with a trio of Lewis Morgan, George Honeyman and Lynden Gooch just behind. Ross has plenty of options here though, with Aiden McGeady, Will Grigg and Chris Maguire all potential starters.
With 21 goals in the regular campaign and a crucial strike in the semi-final first-leg in Doncaster, Charlton’s Taylor heads up the first goalscorer betting at 4/1.
He’s followed by Black Cats duo Charlie Wyke and Will Grigg at 5/1.
Aribo also netted for Charlton in that win in Yorkshire, and 7/1 says he bags the opener.
Where: Wembley Stadium
When: 3:00pm, Sunday 26th May
How to watch: Sky Sports Main Event
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication