Fulham’s Friday victory over Sunderland coupled with another three points from Cardiff City, ensured Aston Villa will be competing in the EFL Championship Play-Offs. It’s go time.
Aston Villa will compete in the EFL Championship play-off semi-finals later next month for a chance to return to the Premier League.
Absent from the top flight since 2015/2016, this season marked Villa’s second year in England’s second division. After 45 (soon to be 46) league matches, the claret and blues finish a decided fourth-place, behind Wolverhampton Wanderers, Fulham, and Cardiff City. In all, a great, yet unsatisfying season. Luckily for all involved, it is not yet over.
In all likelihood, Aston Villa will face Middlesbrough in the semi-finals, a two-legged affair, with Villa Park being the return venue. Here is a review of how the two clubs fared against each other this season:
September 12 / 0-0 Draw / Championship / Villa Park
Henri Lansbury and Adama Traore were sent off as both sides finished with ten men.
September 19 / 2-0 ‘Boro victory / Carabao Cup third round / Villa Park
Patrick Bamford recorded a nine-minute brace against a Villa reserve team.
December 30 / 1-0 Villa victory / Championship / Riverside Stadium
Yes, THAT Robert Snodgrass winner.
There remains a possibility Derby County could be the opponents instead, should Middlesbrough lose both of their remaining matches. Both teams provide distinct challenges for Aston Villa. Dates for the semi-finals are still to be announced, but they should begin about a week-and-a-half after the conclusion of the league season.
Next week Aston Villa travel to Millwall, a game in which Steve Bruce could utilize half a dozen teenagers with nothing to play for. 4th-place is secure.
Up the Villa.