Saturday, May 25, 2024

Aston Villa 2-1 Derby County: El Ghazi, McGinn strikes enough to see Villans return to Premier League at Wembley

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Aston Villa sealed their Premier League return with a 2-1 victory against Derby County in an entertaining Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium on Monday afternoon.

Villa claimed the lead just before the break as Anwar El Ghazi opened the deadlock from Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross. A horrendous error from Derby goalkeeper Kelle Roos gifted John McGinn a second to put Villa firmly in the advantage. Frank Lampard’s men halved the deficit late on though as substitute Jack Marriott’s effort brushed Martyn Waghorn to find the back of the net but it was not enough as Villa bounced back from last year’s disappointment to earn promotion.

Early Villa chances

Dean Smith’s men started excellently and should probably have taken lead early on. The ball fell to Manchester United loanee Axel Tuanzebe only yards from goal but he could not make enough contact to power the ball home. Jack Grealish then seized on a loose ball from Kelle Roos and sent a powerful effort whistling over the crossbar.

The ever-dangerous Tammy Abraham then also had an opportunity as he faced up Richard Keogh and Fikayo Tomori but lifted his shot over the Derby goal.

Deadlock broken by El Ghazi

Despite the Rams growing into the game as the half wore on, it was Villa who seized what could have potentially been a priceless lead in the capital. Ahmed Elmohamady’s brilliant cross fell perfectly for El Ghazi and he stooped low to guide it into the bottom corner.

They then doubled their lead just before the break and the responsibility had to be shouldered by Derby stopper Roos. El Ghazi’s shot was deflected high into the Derby box, with the goalkeeper failing to collect. It fell straight onto McGinn and trundled into the back of the net to the delight of half of Wembley.

Derby earn a foothold

Following Villa’s second, Derby did attempt to push and haul themselves back into the game. First, Jayden Bogle lashed an effort into the side-netting before Mason Mount then guided an effort wide. Substitute Marriott almost again had an impact, following his heroics against Leeds, as he spun on the volley but sent the ball bouncing just wide. The chances kept coming for Frank Lampard’s men and Tomori was the next to send an effort marginally wide.

The pressure did eventually pay though as a lofted ball was picked up by Martyn Waghorn. A great tackle from Tyrone Mings saw the ball fall to Florian Jozefzoon. The winger crossed towards Bogle and he cushioned the ball back to Marriott, with the striker stroking the ball towards goal and it taking a slight touch off of Waghorn.

However, regardless of how much they pushed throughout the second-half, the Rams were not able to overturn the deficit, seeing Aston Villa bounce back to the Premier League for the first time since the 2015/16 season.

Final Thoughts

Despite Derby putting Smith’s men under considerable pressure throughout the second-half, it is probably Villa who deserve promotion. The Birmingham outfit put on a much more confident showing throughout the game, with Derby appearing to be slightly nervous under the Wembley arch. Having said that, both teams managed to create numerous chances, producing an entertaining playoff final. Villa will look forward to their Premier League return whilst the Rams will prepare for a 12th consecutive season in the second-tier.

Match Report

Aston Villa: Steer (6); Taylor (6), Tuanzebe (7), Mings (8) (Hause (N/A), 86′), Elmohamady (7); McGinn (8); Grealish (7), Hourihane (6); Adomah (7) (Green (6), 73′), El Ghazi (7), Abraham (6).

Derby County: Roos (5); Bogle (5), Keogh (6), Tomori (6), Cole (6); Mount (6), Johnson (6), Huddlestone (6) (Marriott (7), 63′); Wilson (6), Lawrence (6) (Josefzoon (7), 73′), Bennett (5) (Waghorn (7), 69′).

Goals: El Ghazi (44′), McGinn (59′), Waghorn (81′)

Referee: Paul Tierney

Yellow Cards: El Ghazi (28′), Bennett (47′), Hourihane (48′), Tomori (51′), Wilson (90+2′)

Red Cards: N/A


Daniel Orme

Daniel is a football journalism graduate from the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately six years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.



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