Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.
The stakes for Monday’s playoff final at Wembley are huge. Aston Villa and Derby start the Championship’s playoff final level pegging, with the pair finishing fifth and sixth respectively. They each have impressive histories and talented players, which has made the clash too close to call for some.
The prospect of promotion to the Premier League and the £200million bounty which comes with it could change the fortunes of a club. While Fulham laid the blueprint on how not to spend the winnings, both of these clubs have the potential to kick on. However, this isn’t just important for the two clubs, plenty of punters will be eying up one of the final games on the 2018/19 campaign. Ahead of the game, here are the best specials you can take advantage of.
There are a lot of big-name stars to keep an eye on in this clash. Given how tight the Championship playoff finals tend to be, we expect to see this one decided by a star turn from one player. There are more than a few in the frame to make the difference at Wembley, although many will have their eye on Jack Grealish. The midfielder is one we mentioned as a key player in our Key Battles for the Playoff Final article. He was man of the match in last season’s playoff final despite losing, but how will he fare here?
Grealish has been key for Villa in their run to the playoff final. He’s exerted a huge influence over recent games while improving his output going forward. Many have criticised Grealish for a lack of end product, but the young midfielder is clearly getting in the right areas. He’s had a shot on target in five of his last six matches, while he’s 8/13 with bet365 to repeat that on Monday.
Of course, the player specials can cover some pretty specific details. Not only do they track a player’s attacking output, but there’s also plenty more. That includes betting on cards, with Villa’s John McGinn a frontrunner for a booking this week. The Scottish midfielder has been impressive since moving to Villa Park, but his time at the club this season has made him familiar with England’s referees. McGinn has been booked 14 times already in the Championship – he’s 15/8 to be booked once again in Monday’s huge clash.
Corners and Cards
If you’re looking for a detailed breakdown of key statistics, our Stats Pack is for you. We’ve got stats on corners, cards and goals for this clash and the two major European finals. You can see our latest Stats Pack article right here.
For the Championship playoff final, we took a look through the years of this huge fixture. While we’ve seen plenty of different promotion contenders through the years, the stakes at this time of year remain the same. There are two sides – usually closely matched across the season – fighting for promotion. With a lot of pressure, a huge occasion and a lot of preparation time we tend to get cagey games. However, how does the pressure affect the corner and card output?
Across the last 10 playoff finals, we’ve seen an average of 4.5 cards per match. The number went as high as seven in last year’s clash, while we can see more aggravation between these two sides. The last nine meetings have also averaged over 11 corners per match. If we’ve got a tight game heading into the final stages, expect a flurry of corners from the side who are dominating possession or chasing the game.
This clash seems perfect for some corners and cards betting, so we like the look of a 7/1 shot with BetVictor. Over 3.5 corners in each half, over 1.5 cards in each half and a victory for Aston Villa seems like a well-priced option going into this clash.
50/1 Betfair #OddsOnThat
We’ve also priced up a four-leg OddsOnThat bet with Betfair ahead of the playoff final. This bet comes from the tips in our Aston Villa vs Derby Predictions and from the card statistics. We’ve sided with Villa in our match preview, which comes thanks to their 7-0 aggregate win over Derby this term. Also, we also think that man-for-man, the Villains have a stronger side to pick from on Monday.
Our goalscorer pick for the playoff final is Conor Hourihane, the midfielder who turned the tide in the semi-finals. His introduction in the first leg against West Brom changed Villa’s fortunes. He had a calming effect in midfield, while Hourihane scored a brilliant goal to make it 1-1 on the day. He comes into this clash with two impressive displays against Derby behind him. Hourihane scored in both meetings with the Rams this term, so he’s our scorer pick for this clash.
Finally, we’re wrapping up with two players to be carded. Both Bradley Johnson and John McGinn have been frequently booked this term. The pair are set to play a key role deep in the midfield this weekend. They’ll be tasked with shutting down the opposition’s creative talents, so we’re backing them both to be booked on Monday in this selection at 50/1 with Betfair.
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