Forget Champions League finals, the Npower Championship concludes this afternoon with Watford taking on Crystal Palace at Wembley in the play-off final. 

The winner will pocket an extraordinary £100m and a place to fight it out in the top tier of English football.

With both teams having sold their ticket allocations, yellow will return to Wembley for the second time in a week, but Gianfranco Zola's side will hope they don't incur the same result as Jurgen Klopp's Dortmund. 

Zola's men will have had to pick themselves up and re-group after the final day defeat to Leeds United, but pick themselves up they did, as Zola's men overcame Leicester City in the play-off semi-final after an extraordinary Troy Deeney breakaway goal. 

Crystal Palace's end-of-season form was average to say the very least, and they limped into the play-off semi-finals against an in-form Brighton & Hove Albion. After a 0-0 first leg, Palace went to the Amex as the underdogs, but Wilfried Zaha scored a brace to send Palace to Wembley.

The now Manchester United winger can play an instrumental role for Palace, and boss Ian Holloway will hope Zaha can repeat the form he showed against Brighton in the final. Palace are also without top goalscorer Glenn Murray for the Wembley trip, after the striker underwent cruciate ligament surgery. 

But what would happen should either side reach the Premier League? Watford's first-team is made up almost entirely of loan signings - 13 in total - with names such as Matej Vydra, Almen Abdi and Nathaniel Chalobah all due to return to their parent clubs. 

Watford will also face the prospect of being under a transfer embargo, after former owner Laurence Bassini's financial misconduct, so Zola will face a number of challenges and obstacles that need to be overcome this summer, whatever the outcome this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Palace will be looking for stability after their previous stint in the top flight finished after a solitary season in the 2004/05 season. Losing Zaha will be a big blow, but players like Yannick Bolasie, Mile Jedinak and Julian Speroni have been instrumental this season. 

Both sides will be looking at the examples set by Norwich, Southampton and Swansea in an attempt to emulate their success since their respective promotions. 

A prediction? The Hertfordshire faithful will be travelling to Wembley in their thousands, but I think on their day, Palace could overcome any team - I'm going for a 2-1 win for Ian Holloway's men.

Who do you think will come out on top in this afternoon's encounter? Have your say in the comments box below!

 

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Topics:
#Crystal Palace
#Championship
#Watford
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