Aston Villa and Derby both win their playoff semi-finals to reach the final at Wembley, where they'll be playing for Premier League football!
The Playoff final is on Monday 27th May and Aston Villa and Derby fans will be making their way to Wembley to cheer on their sides. The final is the single most valuable sporting event. The winner ends up £60 million better of than the loser.
Derby were last in the Premier League in 2007/08. This was a horrendous season for The Rams. They set a Premier League record for the fewest points achieved in a season with only 11. They Also only managed one win all season. If they were to go up this will be something Frank Lampard is hoping to avoid at all costs!
Villa have been in the Premier League far more recently than Derby. They last played in it in the 2015/16 season. Like Derby, they finished bottom that season but it wasn't AS bad as Derby's. Villa only managed to get 17 points but did have three wins, giving their fans more to shout about!
Villa played West Brom in a Midlands derby for their semifinal, whilst Derby took on playoffs favourites, Leeds.
Aston Villa vs West Brom
The first leg was played at Villa Park. The hosts came away 2-1 winners. Dwight Gayle opened the scoring in the 16th minute after a mistake by Glen Whelan let him through one on one. Villa responded late on though. A long-range strike from Hourinhane smashing the back of the West Brom net on the 75th minute. Villa then took the lead four minutes later through a Tammy Abraham penalty. Things got worse for the visitors on the 88th minute. Top goalscorer Gayle got a second yellow for a needless foul on the keeper and missed the second leg at The Hawthorns.
In the second leg, the West Brom crowd were up for it. The Hawthorns was rocking and it paid off in the 29th minute. A long throw was met by Craig Dawson in the box, flicked the ball into the corner of the net. Villa dominated possession in the game but struggled to score due to Johnstone being on top form for West Brom. Brunt got sent off for the home side in the 80th minute for a second yellow after a silly challenge on McGinn. The game went to extra time and then penalties as the sides couldn't be separated. West Brom were missing most of their penalty takers and it showed as Steer saved their first two penalties. Tammy Abraham took the fifth and final penalty for Villa and sent them on their way to Wembley at the end of the month.
Derby vs Leeds
This was always going to be a tense game, especially after the Spygate incident earlier in the season. The first leg was a very tense affair with Derby knowing Leeds were the favourites and not wanting to give away stupid chances. Leeds broke the deadlock after 55 minutes. Top scorer Kemar Roofe scoring his 15th of the season to give them the lead. Unfortunately, for Leeds, Roofe got injured and would miss the second leg. Derby were awarded a penalty that was then ruled out by the assistant referee much to the home crowds disgust.
Going into the second leg Derby had it all to do. Leeds had beaten them three times now this season and no side had ever lost the first leg of a play semi-final at home and still gone through. Leeds got off to a great start through Dallas, the left back scoring in the 24th minute. Derby were forced into an early sub bringing on striker Marriot before half time, and what a sub it was. Within 30 seconds he had pulled one back for Derby.
Mason Mount gave them the lead straight after half time with a good finish in the 46th minute. Wilson added another from the penalty spot to put Derby 3-2 up on aggregate. Dallas added another in the 62nd minute to bring it all level after a crazy 17 minutes. Unfortunately for Leeds Beradi was sent off in the 78th minute for a second yellow making a potential extra time even tougher. Marriot though proved to Lampard why he should start him. He scored another goal in the 85th minute to put Derby 4-3 up and through to the final.
Unfortunately, for the neutral, we weren't going to be able to see Leeds take on Aston Villa especially after last weeks controversy with letting Villa score. This was a massive win for Derby who got into the playoffs by a point and on the final day. After the Spygate incident, this felt even better, especially after Leeds fans made a new song “stop crying, Frank Lampard”.
The Playoff final
Going into the final, Villa are the favourites on Bet365. To win and go to the Premier League next season they are priced at 8/13, whereas Derby are at 13/10. When the two sides met in the Championship this season, Villa won both games 3-0 and 4-0. But if Derby can play like they did against Leeds last night then it should be a very interesting game.