EFL Archive: Aston Villa’s return to the Premier League.
19 March 2020
The 2018/19 season concluded with Aston Villa v Derby County at Wembley Stadium, John Terry v Frank Lampard in the dugout. The prize? Premier League football in 2019/20.
Aston Villa 2-1 Derby County
Almost 86,000 people packed Wembley Stadium to witness the 2019 Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final. Aston Villa fans - the Duke of Cambridge included - watched on nervously as it looked like Derby County might complete an unlikely comeback. Seven minutes of added time seemed to go on forever, but in the end it was Villa who deservedly got the win and in doing so, ended a three absence from the Premier League.
It was Aston Villa who were quickest out the blocks at Wembley, Jack Grealish and John McGinn going close early on. But with chances few and far between for both sides in the first half, the teams looked to be going in level at the break, before El Ghazi headed home an Elmohamady cross to put Villa in front.
John McGinn added to El Ghazi’s first-half strike to make it 2-0 with 30 minutes to go, and Dean Smith’s side looked to be cruising to victory. Frank Lampard had other ideas however, introducing Jack Marriott to the game, whose effort late on beat Jed Steer to set up a frantic final ten minutes.
Seven minutes of added time felt like a lifetime for those in claret and blue, but the Villans held on for promotion, a win which capped off a remarkable three months for the club who, before a club-record ten-match winning run had looked out of the promotion race completely.
Aston Villa: Steer, Taylor, Tuanzebe, Elmohamady, Mings (Hause 86'), McGinn, Grealish, Hourihane, Abraham, Adomah (Green 73'), El Ghazi.
Subs not used: Kalinic, Whelan, Lansbury, Jedinak, Kodjia.
“If somebody had told me at the end of February I’d be standing here as a Premier League manager, I’d have said ‘you’re crackers’. But we made history by winning ten games on the spin.” - Dean Smith, Aston Villa manager.