Derby County

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Championship Final preview: Aston Villa v. Derby County

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Nineteen spots in the 2019-20 Premier League season have been clinched, and Monday will see the final berth awarded to either Derby County or Aston Villa.

It’s the richest game in football, and two historic English clubs will see it as their way back to a rightful place in the top flight.

[ MORE: Everton adds Lossl ]

Aston Villa was a mainstay of the PL for the first 24 years of the league’s existence, but has spent three seasons in the Championship.

Derby County has spent seven years in the top flight across two separate spells, and twice won the top flight in the 1970s.

Separated by just two points on the table this season, fifth place Villa beat Derby decisively in both league matches.

Three different scorers marked their names in the 3-0 decision at Pride Park in November before Villa bettered the score line with a 4-0 triumph at home on March 2.

Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson has been the scoring star for Frank Lampard‘s Rams, bagging 15 goals. Fellow loanee Mason Mount of Chelsea has also been key with eight goals and five assists, while Jack Marriott and Martyn Waghorn have chipped in plenty.

Another Chelsea loanee, Tammy Abraham, is the clear threat for Villa, having potted 26 goals this season. Transfer market mainstay Jack Grealish has been in focus, too, for Dean Smith’s men. Smith is becoming just as big a star, having charged Villa up the table since taking over in October.

Monday morning’s match will change the fortunes and legacies of many players and both managers. And Lampard is already being tipped as a possible Chelsea boss.

Why Derby deserve Premier League promotion

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With the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium on May 27, the richest game in soccer will see one of Aston Villa or Derby County promoted to the Premier League.

[ MORE: Latest Championship news ]

Which club deserves a spot in the English top-flight, and the estimated minimum $120 million it will generate, more?

You can use metrics such as fanbase, stadiums, players, historical success and quality of coaches to try and sort this out, but the fact of the matter is, the playoffs are always a complete, and utterly brilliant, lottery.

The path Villa and Derby took to get to the final this season proves that.

We’ve already focused on why Villa deserve to return to the PL after a three-year absence, so now it is time to see why Derby should return after an 11-year absence…


The Rams are on a roll and Frank Lampard, in his first season as a manager, has led Derby to Wembley to play Aston Villa with the latter the favorites to win.

Like Villa, we are talking about a team which has some magical moments in its history. Derby were Champions of England under Brian Clough twice in the 1970s but since then success has been hard to come by. A five-season spell in the Premier League from 1996-2002 was followed by a miserable season in 2007-08 (the worst in PL history) and the Rams haven’t been back to the top-flight since.

Owner Mel Morris, a local businessman who is behind gaming apps such as Candy Crush, has led their crusade back towards the PL in recent seasons but Derby have come up short in the playoffs time and time again, with the Rams failing in the playoffs in three of their previous five campaigns.

Heading into the final weeks of this season Derby were in the chasing pack after a poor second half of the campaign. For most of the season it seemed like Frank Lampard’s youngsters were nailed on for a top six finish, but then they wobbled and it seemed like they may miss out on the playoffs altogether.

But a run of four wins in their last six to finish the season gave them extra momentum heading into the playoffs.

Then came that incredible night at Leeds.

1-0 down from the first leg, then 1-0 down on the night in the second leg, Derby had a mountain to climb with a 2-0 aggregate deficit at Elland Road as Leeds’ fans started the party… Then Derby scored three unanswered goals in a wild 13-minute spell to turn the game on its head before Jack Marriott added his second and Derby’s fourth of the game late on to stun Leeds and send them to Wembley.

With the backdrop of the spygate scandal — which saw Leeds and Bielsa punished earlier in the season for spying on Derby’s training sessions — and the fact Leeds were heavy favorites to get past Derby, this was a sweet moment for Lampard and his adoring squad and fans.

Derby don’t have a lot of cash to work with. They have relied this season on Lampard’s contacts as some of the best young talents at the Premier League level (Mason Mount and Harry Wilson) wanted to learn from him and that is why they arrived at Pride Park on loan. Lampard has translated his knowledge as a player who had an amazing career to several of his Derby players, and it is exciting to think what he can go on to do.

This Derby squad is made up of youngsters from the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool and veterans like Richard Keogh, Ashley Cole and Bradley Johnson who are desperate for one last chance to play in the Premier League.

Lampard has galvanized the entire club and the Chelsea legend regularly bounces in celebration with the Derby fans after games. Runs in both the FA Cup and League Cup saw them beat Manchester United and Southampton on penalty kicks, while they also pushed Chelsea close to show they are capable of competing with PL clubs regularly.

Derby are full of guts and their young stars Wilson and Mount have the ability to win games with one swipe of their foot.

Lampard is a loveable character and if Derby do beat Villa to clinch promotion, he can work his magic to secure some big names signings and they will be an intriguing squad who, like Villa, will play open, expansive soccer. If Derby don’t get promoted then Lampard is already being lined up for Premier League jobs, even at the club where he became a legend, Chelsea. If the Rams do go up we will get to see Lampard and this exciting attacking side put on a show.

That is why Derby deserve promotion to the Premier League.

Lampard: Derby ‘underdogs again, but we’re there’

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It’s a banner day for Derby County, who hopes there’s another to come for the Pride Park outfit.

Frank Lampard‘s Rams became the first club in Championship playoff history to lose the first leg at home and advance, topping Leeds United 4-2 on Wednesday for a 4-3 aggregate win and a date with Aston Villa in the final.

[ MORE: Match recap ]

And Derby owner Mel Morris has a lot of love for Lampard’s efforts following the Rams’ earning their first playoff final berth since 2014. From the BBC:

“What a night. If we were going to do it, that is the way to do it. I was more nervous when we had a goal lead than I was before the game when I was quite calm. But towards the end I was on the edge. This is Frank’s first season as manager and no one has done this before. What an achievement.”

As for the man himself, Lampard is buzzing and claimed the team was better over both legs of a glorious win. From Sky Sports:

“We were 1-0 down, I said to the lads everyone had written us off. It’s 1/8 for them to go through or something, everyone says they’ve beaten us three times, but we made a little tweak, and it worked brilliantly but you need bravery on the ball and the lads showed it.

“There’s work to do, this isn’t the end, we’re underdogs again and we’ll have a tough game against a brilliant Villa team, but we’re there.”

Derby and Aston Villa is a match-up of historic English clubs, and the subplots are plenty. It’s difficult to bet against either side given their seasons.

Lampard’s Derby County comes back to reach promotion playoff final

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With two red cards and six goals in one thriller, Derby County and Leeds United gave us a beauty in the second leg of their Football League Championship promotion playoffs semifinal second leg on Wednesday.

Frank Lampard‘s Derby emerged victorious with a 4-2 win in the leg, 4-3 on aggregate, as Leeds went crashing out of the playoffs.

It had to feel delightful times two for Lampard, who discovered Leeds was spying on his Rams before a match in January.

[ MORE: West Brom looking to Hughton? ]

Derby will meet Aston Villa at Wembley Stadium on May 27 in a match full of subplots, including Lampard matching wits with Aston Villa assistant and former Chelsea teammate John Terry.

Jack Marriott scored twice, with Chelsea loanee Mason Mount and Liverpool man Harry Wilson also scoring for the Rams.

Stuart Dallas scored a pair of goals for Leeds.

Gaetano Berardi was sent off with 12 minutes to play in the first 90 minutes, his side down 3-2 on the day.

Leeds entered the game with a 1-0 lead, and doubled its advantage through Dallas’ first goal of the match.

But Derby scored in the final minute of the first half and the first minute of the second, with Marriott and Mount getting on the score sheet. The former of the two goals also included very poor goalkeeping from one-time Real Madrid man Kiko Casilla.

Berardi saw his second yellow card in the 78th minute for a wayward, late slide tackle.

Liverpool man Harry Wilson nearly had it 4-2 with a chipped finish off the post before Marriott used a classy finish to deliver the score line. Derby’s Scott Malone then saw his second yellow as the match finished 10v10.

Leeds grab 1-0 win at Derby in promotion playoffs

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Leeds United spent the vast majority of the 2018-19 season occupying one of the top two places in the EFL Championship, only to fall out of the automatic promotion spots at the tail end of the season.

[ MORE: Top Premier League storylines for Championship Sunday ]

If this season’s promotion playoffs are just, they’ll be the third club — joining champions Norwich City and runners-up Sheffield United — in the Premier League come August. The problem with that line of thinking is as follows: the Championship’s promotion playoffs have historically been anything but just.

Saturday was a mightily strong start for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, though, as the third-place Whites secured a 1-0 victory away to Frank Lampard‘s sixth-place Derby County. While away goals are not used in the EFL’s playoffs, it’s still a firm advantage ahead of Wednesday’s semifinal second leg back at Elland Road.

[ MORE: Salford City promoted to the Football League ]

Kemar Roofe bagged the first leg’s only goal, in the 55th minute, set up by a stunner curler of a pass from former New York City FC (and Manchester City loanee) Jack Harrison.