The 2019 Championship Play-Off Final will be an all-Midlands blockbuster as Aston Villa and Derby County go head-to-head at Wembley Stadium on Monday, May 27.
INTRODUCTION TO CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY-OFF FINAL
The Championship Play-Off Final is the most lucrative game in football, with the winners securing a place in the Premier League next season.
First staged in 1987, the fixture is always a nail-biting affair, with the losers facing another campaign in England’s second tier.
Crystal Palace hold the record for the most appearances in the final with five, with Leicester City just behind with four.
The team finishing third in the league has succeeded in winning promotion 12 times, with fourth managing six promotions, fifth eight and sixth five.
Villa are out for redemption in the final having been beaten 1-0 by Fulham back in 2018, while Derby are aiming to repeat their previous success achieved against West Bromwich Albion 12 years ago.
ROUTE TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY-OFF FINAL
Villa finished fifth in the standings during the regular season, four points behind West Brom and two ahead of Derby.
They had to come from behind to beat the Baggies 2-1 in the first leg of their semi-final, but Craig Dawson’s header in the reverse fixture took the game to extra-time.
After a scoreless additional period the game went to a penalty shoot-out, where Villa goalkeeper Jed Steer made crucial saves from Mason Holgate and Ahmed Hegazi to send his side through.
Derby left it late to book their place in the play-offs, with a six-match unbeaten run at the end of the season helping them pip Middlesbrough to the final spot.
Leeds United looked well on course to beat Derby in the semi-finals after opening up a two-goal lead by the 24-minute in the second leg.
However, Jack Marriott came off the bench to inspire a remarkable turnaround that saw Derby seal a 4-3 aggregate victory.
KEY CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY-OFF FINAL STATISTICS
Villa dominated their two meetings with Derby during the regular season, winning 4-0 at home and 3-0 at Pride Park.
Derby’s victory over Leeds in the semi-finals saw them become the first team to turn around a first-leg home defeat in the play-offs.
Villa star Conor Hourihane was part of the Barnsley side who won the EFL Trophy and League One play-offs at the national stadium in 2016.
History is against Derby, with only five of the teams who have finished sixth in the Championship previously securing promotion to the Premier League.
Jack Grealish starred in a 2-1 win for Villa against Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley back in 2015.
It is estimated that the winners of this year’s final will earn around £170 million by clinching promotion to the Premier League.
CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY-OFF FINAL MATCH RULES
- 90 minutes.
- 30 minutes extra-time if necessary.
- Penalty shoot-out if scores still level.
- Seven named substitutes.
- Maximum of three substitutions, with a fourth allowed in extra-time.
CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY-OFF FINAL TEAM NEWS
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith is sweating on the fitness of on-loan defender Axel Tuanzebe, who picked up an injury against West Brom.
Jordan Lyden, Orjan Nyland and Thomas Carroll remain on the sidelines, but Smith has no other injury worries to contend with.
Derby striker Martyn Waghorn is doubtful after missing the Leeds game with an injury he picked up on the final day of the regular season.
Craig Bryson, Andy King, Marcus Olsson, Craig Forsyth and Curtis Davies are all ruled out, while Scott Moore misses the game through suspension.
HOW TO WATCH THE CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY-OFF FINAL
The match will be on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football from 2.00pm. You can watch the Championship Play-Off Final live online as well.