Aston Villa Win At Wembley to Seal Return to Premier League
Aston Villa sealed their return to the Premier League after overcoming Frank Lampard’s Derby County in the Championship play-off final. Goals from Anwar El Ghazi and John McGinn were enough to seal an Aston Villa win at Wembley. As a result, it ended their three year spell in the second tier of English football.
Aston Villa Championship Play-Off Final
Cagey First Half Affair
Both sides came into the game dubbed as the ‘richest game in football’ on the back of good form. However, neither side wanted to slip up in their most important game of the season, in what was a cagey first half affair.
It was Aston Villa who started the brighter of the two sides and could have been 1-0 up within five minutes. On-loan centre-back Axel Tuanzebe failed to latch cleanly onto a poor clearance from a corner and found his scuffed shot blocked.
Villa continued to look the brighter of the two sides in the opening 20 minutes. However, they failed to register pressure on the Derby goal. The Rams -playing in their first play-off final since 2014 – appeared happy to soak up the pressure in front of them and in the wide areas.
Derby found chances few and far between. However, they registered their’s and the games first shot on target after 36 minutes. On-loan Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount found his long-range effort held comfortably by Jed Steer in the Villa goal.
It was Aston Villa who struck on the brink of half-time. Albert Adomah received the ball on the right-hand side, before laying it off to Ahmed Elmohamady to cross into the box. The Egyptian succeeded beautifully, as he found the diving Anwar El Ghazi who headed past the helpless Kelle Roos.
Aston Villa See off Late Derby Pressure
Villa once more started the second half the brighter of the two sides and had a string of chances to make it 2-0. A Conor Hourihane free-kick almost found the leaping Tyrone Mings inside of the penalty area. However, Kelle Roos beat Mings to the ball and punched safely away.
On 58 minutes, Villa did make it 2-0. A deflected shot from the first goalscorer Anwar El Ghazi failed to be punched away by Kelle Roos, in what turned out to be a calamitous error by the Derby goalkeeper. John McGinn found himself in a fortunate position to pounce and headed in for 2-0.
The goal incurred two attacking changes from Derby manager Frank Lampard. Strikers Jack Marriott and Martyn Waghorn entered the fray, and both made an impact.
Derby had a chance to make it 2-1 on the 70th-minute mark. Right-back Jayden Bogle found himself inside the penalty area but blasted wide of the near post.
Substitute Jack Marriott eventually did strike to make it 2-1. A cross from Florian Jozefzoon was headed back down by Jayden Bogle towards Marriott, who expertly struck under-pressure into the bottom right corner. However, second replays show that it may have come off the laces of Martyn Waghorn.
Derby continued to press deep into the seven minutes of injury time. However, they failed to do so and Aston Villa completed their return to the Premier League.
The Aston Villa win would have pleased Villa manager Dean Smith, who is a well-known fan of the club.