Aston Villa and Derby County have everything to gain and everything to lose on Monday. The two Championship clubs will clash in the Playoff Final at Wembley with promotion to the Premier League and £170 million on the line.
The winner’s prize purse could rise to as much as £280m if they survive their first season back in the Premier League. Of course, one of the two clubs will need to earn promotion to have a chance at obtaining that large sum of cash.
Aston Villa and Derby County have now played 48 league games. They are both one step away from a return to the Premier League but only one can earn promotion and cap off what has been a great season. The loser will have to start all over again in just under three months’ time.
Dean Smith took over Aston Villa on October 10th with the club in 15th place. It took some time, but Smith turned the club around and by mid-March, the Villains had cracked the Championship’s top six. They didn’t look back sealing a playoff spot three points above seventh-place Middlesbrough.
Striker Tammy Abraham has been a revelation at Villa Park. The on-loan Chelsea man scored 25 goals, the league’s second-best tally. Behind Abraham’s goal-scoring prowess, Aston Villa bagged the Championship’s third most goals (82).
Aston Villa did allow 61 goals during the regular season, which could be an issue against Derby County in the final.
Derby County were down and out in the second leg of the Championship Playoff Semifinal to Leeds United. A miraculous comeback in the second half enabled the Rams to secure a 4-3 aggregate win and place in the final.
Frank Lampard has had a dream debut season in football management and a win on Monday would be the icing on the cake.
On-loan Liverpool forward Harry Wilson has been fantastic for Derby County this term. The forward has tallied 18 goals in all competitions and Premier League sides are lining up to bid on him. Wilson scored Derby County’s third goal of the semifinal. It allowed Jack Marriott to score the winner in the 85th minute.
Aston Villa vs. Derby County H2H
Derby County’s recent history against Aston Villa does not bode well for the club. Aston Villa won both meetings between the clubs in the regular season by a combined scoreline of 7-0.
Aston Villa defeated the Rams in November at Pride Park 3-0 thanks to goals from John McGinn, Abraham, and Conor Hourihan.
Three and a half months later, the Villains routed Derby County 4-0 at Villa Park. Hourihane scored twice while Abraham was once again on target. Jack Grealish scored Aston Villa’s fourth goal to seal an impressive victory at home.
All four Aston Villa goals were scored prior to halftime as they routed the Rams.
Aston Villa are leading sportsbooks’ favourite to gain promotion on Monday in the Championship Playoff Final. Can they fulfil the favourite’s tag and return to the Premier League after a three-season exile in the Championship. It is worth noting the Villains were defeated in last year’s Championship Playoff Final by Fulham.