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Derby vs Aston Villa: Premier League return for Villans in Wembley thriller

Derby vs Aston Villa Match Preview and Predictions

The most lucrative game of the season sees Midlands rivals Aston Villa and Derby County meet in the Championship play-off final with a return to the Premier League at stake.

[All odds correct at time of publication]

Aston Villa needed a penalty shoot-out against West Brom in the semi-final to book their place at Wembley after the scores finished 2-2 at the end of the two legs and extra time.

Frank Lampard's Derby lost 1-0 to Leeds in the first leg but remarkably won the return 4-2 at Elland Road where substitute Jack Marriott scored his second goal of the game five minutes from time to give his team a shot at the big time.

Match information

When is it? Monday 27th May

What time is kick-off? 15:00

Where is it being played? Wembley

Which channel is it on? Sky Sports Football/Main Event

Derby vs Aston Villa Betting Tips

Here are our predictions for the Championship play-off final between Derby and Aston Villa for which we also have a range of other markets available:

The lowdown

An estimated £170 million is at stake when Derby and Aston Villa meet at Wembley on Bank Holiday Monday.

The Rams were relegated from the Premier League in the 2001-2 season, but Villa are hoping to return to the top flight after just three years in the Championship.

Villa compete in their second successive Championship play-off final as the form team having won 10 of their last 12 games heading into the play-offs, although Derby had the better record over the last six matches of the regular campaign (W4 D2 L0).

Dean Smith's side also dominated the head to head this season, winning 3-0 at Pride Park thanks to three goals in the final 16 minutes which they followed with a 4-0 victory at Villa Park where all four goals were scored in the first half.

Smith watched last year's final defeat to Fulham while on holiday in the USA and believes Villa carry a much greater threat this season.

He told a BBC phone-in: "I watched it on my laptop in 11am in the hotel. It was always a tough one because Fulham had good momentum. We didn't perform in the first half. We knocked at the door and didn't quite get there

"But this is a different Aston Villa team. Look at our front three. (Anwar) El Ghazi is 24, (Andre) Green is 20, (Tammy) Abraham is 22. We have freshness, youth and energy."

Derby also have a youthful side with five of the players that started at Elland Road 22 or under, but their results against Villa this season mean we favour Smith's side to get the job done inside 90 minutes at 5/4.

First goalscorer tips

Tammy Abraham is the Championship's second highest scorer with 26 goals, five of which have come in the last seven games.

The on-loan Chelsea striker scored in both games against Derby this season, so 7/2 in the first goalscorer odds looks an obvious pick.

Play-off final previews

If you're interested in more tips on this weekend's play-off finals, check out our in-depth previews below:

Anytime goalscorer tips

Conor Hourihane also struck home and away against the Rams and looks good value at 4/1 in the anytime goalscorer odds.

Indeed, a third of Hourihane's nine goals have come against Derby this season and he should be in the starting line-up on Monday afternoon.

The Irish midfielder came on as a substitute in the first leg against West Brom and scored the equaliser, with his performance earning him a starting role at The Hawthorns.

Where the game will be won or lost

For neutrals and fans alike hoping for a goal-laden Championship play-off final, history is not on your side.

The last half-a-dozen have produced a combined six goals, although it is likely the 2018-19 version will break the mould.

Goals have played a major part in Villa's season with only Norwich and West Brom scoring more than their 82, although the 61 they conceded was the fourth highest of teams in the top half of the table.

The two teams also feature high in the both teams to score table at fourth and fifth and so the next of our Championship play-off final tips is for over 2.5 goals at evens which was the case in their two matches this season.

Nine of Derby's 12 matches against teams above them, including the play-off against Leeds, produced three goals or more, the same number as Villa's games against top-six sides, so goals should be on the agenda at Wembley.

We conclude our Championship play-off final betting tips with Draw HT/Villa FT at 9/2.

Only Sheffield United, Leeds and Bristol City have been drawing at the break more often than Villa this season, while Derby have the second best first-half record of any Championship side.

Derby's second-half performances have been average (12th for points taken), so we expect Villa to up the ante after the break.

Traders' Tips - View from the trading floor

Aston Villa have dominated Derby this season but both teams feature high in the both teams to score table, so Dean Smith's side to win with goals at both ends looks a natural pick.

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Warren Barner
@warren_barner in Football