Both Aston Villa and Derby will be gunning for promotion into the English Premier League when they lock horns in the English Championship Play-offs final at Wembley on Monday afternoon.
The match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from 3:50pm.
They call it the most lucrative promotion playoff in the world, and though four of the last five winners of this match have gone on to suffer an immediate Premier League relegation the following season, this is an opportunity not to be missed.
Though favourites, fatigue is a potential issue for Aston Villa, who played extra-time against West Bromwich in the semi-finals to get here. Therefore a fraught, close encounter could unfold, especially with seven of Villa’s last eight games producing a draw or a win/loss by a one-goal margin.
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Within that sequence, the last four matches have seen Villa concede first, and do so inside the first half-hour on three occasions (W1, D1, L2). Unluckily for Villa, Derby’s last two victories saw them win a second half in which both teams scored, so there could be a strong finish from the ‘Rams’ here.
Derby will certainly be on a high after their heroic second-leg performance at Elland Road, with the 4-2 win marking their fourth victory (in their last six outings overall) to produce a winning margin of precisely two goals.
Marriott: Derby well prepared for Villa clash
Tammy Abraham will be a key player as he netted the decisive penalty for Villa in the playoff semi-final second leg, doing likewise to win the first.
Derby’s Jack Marriott is their key man as he hit a brace in the second leg of the semi-finals, scoring one goal in the final 15 minutes of each half.
Villa won the regular season’s H2H encounters by a 7-0 aggregate scoreline, but did not win both halves in either meeting.
Derby are without a clean sheet in three H2Hs against Villa, conceding at least once in the first and/or final 15 minutes each time.