Match Report: Aston Villa 2-1 Derby County
Aston Villa confirmed their return to the Premier League at the third attempt with a 2-1 win against Derby County in the EFL Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium on Monday.
The Villans had entered the match as heavy favourites and having beaten the East Midlands club by an aggregate score of 7-0 during the season.
Anwar El Ghazi bundled Dean Smith’s side into a 44th minute lead off his shoulder blade after Ahmed El Mohamady had time and space down the right wing to pick out the Moroccan.
Aside from Ashley Cole being out of position and Fikayo Tomori not closing down the cross, Derby goalkeeper Kelle Roos will be made the guilty party for staying on his line instead of cutting out the cross that made its way into the six-yard box.
Aston Villa settled the game on the hour mark, again with the aid of another Roos howler. This time the 26-year-old failed to stretch his arms out to collect a simple cross and allowed John McGinn to bundle the West Midlands club into a 2-0 lead.
Derby rarely threatened Jed Steer’s goal but did score a consolation 10 minutes from time when substitute Jack Marriott saw his effort deflect in off teammate Martyn Waghorn.
The victors of this game can expect a minimum £170 million windfall over the next three seasons as Aston Villa are back in the Premier League for the first time since the 2015-16 season.
As for Frank Lampard’s Derby County, they have now lost three Championship playoffs in their history – a joint-record with both Sheffield United and Reading.
It was almost a miracle how the Rams reached Wembley, but they will be playing second tier football again next season.