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The English Championship playoff takes place this Monday, May 27th 2019.
It features Aston Villa vs Derby with the winner moving on to the English Premier Division.
An absolutely massive game and it has been a fun road to get to here.
Aston Villa finished the league in 5th place on 76 points, while Derby were behind them in 6th place in 74 points.
The playoffs have been absolutely epic. Aston Villa had that close one with West Brom – who got a man sent off in both games – but were able to win on penalties.
While the results were tight, Villa were the dominant team in both games creating a ton of chances.
Derby lost 1-0 to Leeds however had that epic 4-2 win over Leeds to go through on aggregate 4-3.
Villa go into this one as the favourites, and confident. Both times these teams played this year, Villa won and managed to shut them out.
However you do think Frank Lampard has something special at Derby and it’s going to be interesting.
Looking back at the WBA games for Villa – while stats wise they dominated, I really wasn’t super impressed with them on the pitch. They almost had that “just have to show up” attitude going and sometimes you get the feeling people are shooting etc just to pad the stats, rather then trying to take some risks and get something going.
Of course WBA had to play a tight game against them and not risk anything too much either. Villa are a hard team to go toe to toe with. WBA did well for themselves.
It was great to see Derby go through. That was one of those games where I didn’t really have a horse in the race, but just seeing how animated Frank Lampard was, I ended up jumping on the Derby train and was cheering them by the end of it.
Derby will be missing Scott Malone and so Ashley Cole may be relied on which will be interesting. Have to wonder what he can bring to the table or if Villa are able to exploit Cole. He’s still an impactful player but he just doesn’t have the legs for it anymore.
I’m really curious what tactics Lampard will use too. They have switched it up with 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 this year. And how are they going to handle Jack Grealish?
Villa have been very dominant in midfield this season and thats what they will no doubt focus on for this game.
The one thing Villa need to remember is last year and the mistakes they made there – the big one being not starting with enough intensity. Like they wanted Fulham to tire out. If they make the same mistake against Derby it could be game over for them.
Villa are the better team on paper however thereès somtehing about this Derby team I like. They really have that never give up attitude going on, and I feel like Frank Lampard is creating something special here.
It’s a very, very tight game but I’m going to back the underdog.
(Odds on this page are correct as of 2019/05/26 9:24:12 AM EST but are subject to change)