It’s the most lucrative game in football, with a reported £170 million going to the club that wins promotion and it features two teams who are no strangers to the Premier League, as Aston Villa take on Derby County.
Villa were here a year ago and for the second season running their entire season comes down to this winner-takes-all Wembley showdown. With manager Frank Lampard in his debut season as a manager, Derby have punched above their weight to make the final, having defeated heavy favorites Leeds to get here.
There is also the added intrigue of Lampard versus his former Chelsea teammate John Terry, who is the Aston Villa assistant manager. Both men at some point will no doubt return to Stamford Bridge, quite possibly together, as the rumours are already afloat that current Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is leaving at the end of this season. A victory for Lampard in the final could well propel him back to his old club sooner rather than later.
This is not the Terry vs Lampard show however, this is about two teams that play good football and both qualified in thrilling circumstances.
Villa finished fifth in the league, having propelled themselves into the top six with a club record run of 10 consecutive league victories during March and April. This resulted in them playing local rivals West Brom in the semi-final where they came from behind to win 2-1 in the first leg.
West Brom pulled it back to 1-0 in the second leg, but lost captain Chris Brunt in the 80th minute as Villa took the game to penalties, eventually winning 4-3.
Although previous form is usually irrelevant in these winner-takes-all matches, Villa will be big favorites, having won twice against Derby in the league this season by an aggregate score of 7-0.
They were victorious back in November, winning 3-0 at Pride Park just a month after Dean Smith took over the Villa job, while the game at Villa Park in March was even more comprehensive as the hosts won 4-0.
Much of the focus on the pitch for Villa will be on Jack Grealish. On his day he is a sublime footballer who wouldn’t look out of place in most Premier League teams. Grealish has chipped in with six goals and eight assists this season, two of those coming in the semi-final against West Brom.
If anyone has the ability to unlock a defence, it is Grealish. Villa also have on loan Chelsea player Tammy Abraham up front, who has scored 26 goals in all competitions this season.
Derby have a couple of young Chelsea players on loan themselves. Mason Mount has been the standout player for them this season, scoring 11 times while contributing six assists. Regardless of the result on Monday, the feeling is Mount has played his last game for Derby.
Harry Wilson is another player on loan, this time from Liverpool, and has also had an excellent season, netting 18 goals and providing 6 assists. He’s been heavily linked with a £25 million transfer in the summer, and he’ll be looking to impress in his first game at Wembley.
GIVEMEBET have two great offers on the game:
Villa to win 1-0, or 2-0, or 2-1 and Tammy Abraham to score is 4/1
Derby to win 1-0, or 2-0, or 2-1 and Jack Marriot to score is 10/1
All odds accurate at the time of publishing and are subject to fluctuation. T&C’s apply. 18+. www.begambleaware.org