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    Aston Villa to edge Derby County in return to Premier League

    27 May 2019 | Championship | Preview
    3251
    Aston Villa to edge Derby County in return to Premier League

    After what has been a long, arduous but action-packed Championship season, it all comes down to this - the Championship play-off final at Wembley for the biggest prize in world football - a place in next season’s Premier League.

    Aston Villa finished the regular season in 5th place and just two points ahead of Monday’s play-off final opponents, Derby County, but it was a monumental effort for Villa even to have grabbed a place in the play-off pack as Dean Smith’s side embarked upon a season-changing 10-match winning streak as they finished their campaign in strong fashion.

    Indeed, Aston Villa recorded 12 wins from their last 14 matches overall and this includes a semi-final 1st leg 2-1 home win over west midlands rivals, West Brom which appeared to set Villa up for a fairly straightforward victory.

    However, West Brom secured a 1-0 win in the 2nd leg at The Hawthorns to send the tie into extra-time and then eventually penalties which Villa ultimately won to take their place in Monday’s play-off final.

    However, in early December it looked like Aston Villa’s hopes of grabbing a play-off spot seemed extremely unlikely as they’d gained just 2 wins from their subsequent 14 matches in what was a worrying sequence of results for not only the club but manager Dean Smith as his position looked in jeopardy.

    But the return to fitness by influential midfielder, Jack Grealish, proved to a be a pivotal point in Villa’s season and his presence helped spark the west midlands club’s 10-match winning streak which sealed their place in the play-off pack.

    Derby County finally grabbed 6th place in the Championship and the last remaining play-off spot when they beat West Brom 3-1 on the final day of the regular season which saw Frank Lampard’s side achieve the first of their goals this season.

    It was a season of inconsistency, grabbing unlikely wins and just when you started to write The Rams off, they’d storm back with an impressive sequence of results to fire them back into contention for a play-off spot.

    Derby’s wobbles started in mid-February when they went 4 league matches without a win in the Championship which included losses to east midlands arch-rivals, Nottingham Forest, and a 4-0 thumping by Monday’s play-off final opponents, Aston Villa at Villa Park in early March.

    The Rams would then put together a decent run of results which saw them lose just once in their subsequent 12 matches, which included notable wins against play-off rivals, Bristol City and West Brom.

    Derby’s success this season has coincided with the emphatic form of their Liverpool loanee, Harry Smith who has scored 16 goals to date, and along with fellow midfielders Mount and Lawrence as well as forwards Waghorn and Marriott up front, Derby possess a very serious threat in front of goal.

    Villa counter with a quality packed midfield of Grealish, McGinn, Hourihane and Adomah with the experienced Whelan providing a valuable screen in front of the back four, and this midfield battle between Villa and The Rams will be an intriguing facet of this play-off final.

    Perhaps the key to this intense battle will be the cutting edge up front - Villa possess leading goalscorer Tammy Abraham (25 goals) who has benefitted from the creativity of Grealish, Hourihane and McGinn this season, and whichever team can provide the best service to their front men will go a long way to winning this play-off final.

    The Forebet prediction is that Aston Villa will just about edge this contest to return to the Premier League big time.

    Home team - Away team Probability in% Forebet Correct score Avg. goals Weather conditions Odds Kelly Criterion Score
    1 X 2
    Championship | Round 49, Promotion Play-offs - Final
    flag_2 CH
    Aston VillaDerby County
    27/05/2019 16:00 GMT
    382636 1 2 - 0 2.38 15° 3.90 0.17
    FT
    2 - 1
    (1 - 0)

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    Regular Season
    OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
    1. Leeds United 55 29 16 7 6 46 26 20
    2. West Bromwich 53 29 14 11 4 51 33 18
    3. Nottingham Forest 51 29 14 9 6 40 28 12
    4. Fulham 49 29 14 7 8 42 30 12
    5. Brentford 47 29 14 5 10 44 22 22
    6. Bristol City 47 29 13 8 8 43 40 3
    7. Preston North End 46 29 13 7 9 42 34 8
    8. Swansea City 45 29 12 9 8 34 33 1
    9. Millwall 44 29 11 11 7 38 35 3
    10. Blackburn Rovers 43 29 12 7 10 42 36 6
    11. Sheffield Wednesday 42 29 12 6 11 40 33 7
    12. Cardiff City 42 29 10 12 7 41 42 -1
    13. Hull City 39 29 11 6 12 41 38 3
    14. QPR 38 29 11 5 13 47 53 -6
    15. Reading 37 29 10 7 12 35 33 2
    16. Derby County 37 29 9 10 10 31 39 -8
    17. Middlesbrough 35 29 8 11 10 29 36 -7
    18. Birmingham City 34 29 9 7 13 35 46 -11
    19. Huddersfield 32 29 8 8 13 33 45 -12
    20. Stoke City 31 29 9 4 16 36 42 -6
    21. Charlton Athletic 30 29 7 9 13 37 41 -4
    22. Wigan Athletic 26 29 6 8 15 27 44 -17
    23. Barnsley 24 29 5 9 15 35 54 -19
    24. Luton Town 24 29 7 3 19 37 63 -26

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