The most valuable game in all of football takes place on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon. The winners can look forward to promotion to the Premier League and as a consequence, a boost in revenue of approximately £170 million over the next three years (far more if they manage to stay up there). For Aston Villa, it would be a relatively quick turnaround, as they were last in the Premier League in 2016. For Derby, it would be the end of a long road that began in 2008, which saw them relegated in March due to a record-breakingly bad season.
It has been a dramatic journey to the final for both teams. Villa are in their second final in as many years, hoping to make up for their defeat to Fulham last year. They struggled against local rivals West Bromwich Albion, their play-off game coming down to penalties after they failed to capitalise on Albion captain Chris Brunt’s sending off. Goalie Jed Steer stepped up to be the hero that night, saving the first two penalties. Not bad for a man who was expected to spend the whole season on to Charlton.
It was no easier for Derby, who came into the second leg of the play-off semis a goal behind Leeds United, who had beaten them in every other game this season. Before long, they were another goal down, and it looked as if they were heading for a fourth play-off defeat in five years. However, it was Leeds who imploded on the night and when the dust had settled, Derby had won 4-3 on aggregate.
Aston Villa vs Derby County Predictions
Villa will go into the game as favourites, but Derby County cannot be discounted because of their ability to deliver under pressure. Neither team would really want to have to rely on penalties, but they have both show that it would not be the end of the world if things ended up that way. The question Is whether Frank Lampard can get his lads to stand firm when it really matters, or whether former teammate John Terry, now serving as Dean Smith’s assistant, can bring some killer insight.
Aston Villa vs Derby County Betting Tips
Aston Villa vs Derby County Head to Head
- Aston Villa have had the best of their Championship meetings with Derby County this year, comfortably beating them 3-0 and 4-0. Last year was better for Derby, beating Villa at home 2-0, while the rematch was a 1-1 draw.
- Villa have historically had the edge over Derby, winning 71 games out of 140. Derby’s best run of luck came in the 1988/89 season where they got a clean sweep over the Claret and Blues.
- Villa contributed to Derby’s nightmare 2008 season by beating them 6-0 in April – the damage had already been done by then, Derby were already relegated.
Aston Villa Team News
Axel Tuanzebe has spent the last two years on loan, doing wonderful things for Villa’s defence. An ankle injury sustained in the last game will make him a doubt for his last game before returning home to Manchester United. Orjan Nyland (plus Thomas Carroll and Jordan Lyden) is also out for the rest of the season, giving Steer the change to put a bow on a fairy-tale season.
Predicted starting XI: Jed Steer, Ahmed Elmohamady, Axel Tuanzebe, Tyrone Mings, Neil Taylor, Conor Hourihane, John McGinn, Jack Grealish, Jonathan Kodjia, Tammy Abraham, Anwar El Ghazi.
Derby County Team News
Scott Malone’s red card against Leeds means he’ll be sitting out of the final. Bizarrely, this leaves the door open for a full-on Chelsea reunion, as 38-year-old Ashley Cole might play if he’s fit. Martyn Waghorn and Andy King are also both sidelined through injury.
Predicted Starting XI: Kelle Roos, Jayden Bogle, Fiyako Tomori, Richard Keogh, Scott Malone, Tom Huddlestone, Bradley Johnson, Harry Wilson, Mason Mount, Tony Lawrence, Jack Marriott.