£170 Million and A Premier League Place up for Grabs in the Championship Playoff Final

There are a further two Playoff Finals taking place this weekend, starting with Tranmere Rovers and Newport County clashing on the Saturday in the League Two playoff final, while in the League One equivalent, Sunderland and Charlton will once again clash in a rematch of their classic 1998 Playoff Final, which finished 4-4 after extra time, with Charlton winning on penalties.

However, if there is one game that will define this weekend in football terms, it is the Championship Playoff Final, which takes place on Monday afternoon. Aston Villa will face Derby County with not just a place in the Premier League at stake, but a cash windfall estimated to be worth at least £170 million to the winning team.

If you fancy a flutter on what has become known as the richest game in football in terms of the potential rewards on offer, then head on over to bet365 Sport. The site is already offering plenty of great betting on each of the three playoff games this weekend and there will be more In Play betting available while the games are in progress. If you are not yet a member join today with the latest bet365 Sport New Customer Promotion and you’ll also get a little added extra when you sign up.

Let’s now preview the big game on Monday in more detail with a review of the season for both teams participating, how they reached Wembley and a look at the probable line ups, before we then give you our big tips for the game itself.

Championship Playoff Final

Aston Villa v Derby County

  • Venue – Wembley Stadium
  • Date – Monday 27th May
  • Kick Off – 3pm
  • Live – Sky Sports

How they Reached Wembley

Aston Villa

  • Championship – 5th– Played 46, Points 76, For 82 Against 61 (+21)
  • Playoff Semifinal 1st Leg – Aston Villa 2-1 West Brom (Hourihane 75, Abraham 79 (pen)
  • Playoff Semifinal 2nd Leg – West Brom 1-0 Aston Villa (Villa won 4-3 on penalties)

A fine second half comeback in the first leg of the game with West Brom put Villa in pole position in this tie. Losing 1-0 from a first half strike by Dwight Gayle, Villa netted twice in four second half minutes to earn a 2-1 win and then West Brom had striker Dwight Gayle sent off late in the game to compound their misery.

A Gareth McAuley header put West Brom in front in the second leg but after extra time, the teams could not be split and in the end it was Villa who held their nerve to clinch a spot in the final on penalties with Steer the hero between the sticks for the visiting side.

Derby County

  • Championship – 6th – Played 46, Points 74, For 69, Against 54 (+15)
  • Playoff Semifinal 1st Leg – Derby County 0-1 Leeds United
  • Playoff Semifinal 2nd Leg – Leeds United 2-4 Derby County (Marriott 45, 85, Mount 46, Wilson 58 (pen))

Derby produced a superb comeback in the second leg against Leeds at Elland Road. Losing to a Kemar Roofe strike in the first leg, Derby went a second goal down in the first half against Leeds with Dallas netting for the home side, but then Derby began to take control, Marriott netted just before half time and then early in the second half Mason Mount tied things up at 2-2 with a well taken finish.

Incredibly, Derby then made it 3-1 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate thanks to a Harry Wilson penalty only for Dallas to once again bring Leeds back level with a fine strike. Extra time looked likely but on the 85th minute Marriott lifted a neat chip over the Leeds keeper to give Derby a 4-2 win and a 4-3 win on victory to claim an unexpected place in the final.

 How They Fared This Season

  • 10th November 2018 – Derby County 0-3 Aston Villa (McGinn 74, Abraham 78, Hourihane 84)
  • 2nd March 2019 – Aston Villa 4-0 Derby County (Hourihane 9,44, Abraham 37, Grealish 45)

Aston Villa have picked up maximum points between the teams this season with two comprehensive victories. They scored three second half goals away at Derby to claim a win in the first game between the two and then four first half goals at Villa Park to land an even greater margin of victory in their second game in March.  Those two defeats were two of Derby’s three biggest losses of the season (the other being a 4-1 home defeat to Leeds).

Head to Head Performance

  • Played – 140
  • Aston Villa Wins – 71
  • Draws – 25
  • Derby County Wins – 44

Aston Villa have a much better record in the most recent matches between the teams. The Villains have won six and drawn two of the last nine between the teams, Derby winning just once over that period.

Probable Team Selections

Aston Villa– (4-3-3) – Steer, Elmohamady, Taylor, Mings, Tuanzebe, Hourihane, McGinn, Grealish, Green, El Ghazi, Abraham

Derby County– (4-3-3) – Carson, Bogle, Cole, Keogh, Tomori, Lawrence, Mount, Johnson, Wilson, Waghorn, Marriott

I think both sides will line up with very similar teams to that which played in the second legs of their semifinal.Ashley Cole will come in at left back for the suspended Malone for Derby, while I can’t see Villa restoring Glenn Whelan to the team, especially with Conor Hourihane netting three goals against Derby already this season.

Aston Villa v Derby County Tips

Full Time Result – Draw – 11/5

The bookies may have this one down as an Aston Villa win and you can see why when you look at how the two teams have got on when facing each other this season. Villa have rattled in seven goals in those games without a reply, but Derby had a similar record against Leeds in the semifinal and still came through that game.

Villa though are on a superb run of form with just one defeat in the last few months and I can’t see them being beaten in 90 minutes here, although I also feel Derby will not be beaten inside the allotted time and so a draw at 11/5 is I think the best bet.

If the game goes to extra time I think Derby, not having had to have played extra time in the build up to the game, will be the team in best shape to land the win.

Correct Score – 1-1 Draw – 5/1

Neither of these teams score or concede too many goals of late and I think this will be a tight game but I do feel both teams will score and that the 1-1 draw is the best value betting option.


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