Since this is not the UEFA Champions League final or the FA Cup final, some may assume this to be just another football game set to be played on the 26th of May (the same date as the UCL Final).
But it’s far from that. There’s too much at stake for the EFL Playoffs final to be just another football game.
How about a little history?
23 teams play their football in the English Championship, the second tier of club football in England.
Three of those 23 get to gain promotion to the English Premier League at the end of the season. For the two clubs that finish first and second, qualification is automatic.
For the last slot, 4 other clubs battle it out for promotion; the clubs that finished the regular season third, fourth, fifth and sixth.
For the past few days now, the play-offs has been on. Fulham defeated Derby County over two legs while Aston Villa got the better of Middlesbrough over both legs.
The stage is now set for final: Fulham vs. Middlesbrough.
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Fulham FC finished the regular season in third place (with 88 points) while Aston Villa finished fourth (with 83 points).
Although it’s a final which most times defies all odds and stats and history, we’ll compare the recent performances of both clubs all the same, thereby helping you to decide which of the two teams will win the final.
The final will be played at the Wembley Stadium (a neutral ground for both clubs). While Fulham lost just 8 games out of the 46 games they played throughout the season, Aston Villa lost 11, with nine of those losses coming away from home.
In the their last six games in all competitions, Fulham failed to score just once while the Villains failed to score in two of those six games. Four of the past six meetings between both sides has ended with over 2,5 goals, with both sides scoring in those 4 games.
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Players to watch out for…
With £170m at stake for the winner of this game – making it the most expensive football game in the world, – both teams will be counting on their key players to make all the difference for them and send them through to the PL.
For Fulham, it’s all about their 17-year-old sensation, Ryan Sessegnon. The teenage midfielder (who initially started the season as a defender) has scored 16 goals for the Championship side in the league this season. He’s their highest goal-scorer this season and all eyes will be on him to make his mark in the final.
For Aston Villa, it’s basically about their old guard; their crop of players who have had plenty of Premier League experience under their belt. Asides from Jonathan Kodija, the team has Jedinak, and also John Terry and Robert Snodgrass.
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With Steve Bruce at the helm of affairs, Aston Villa may just have more than enough for Fulham to handle.
Or maybe not.
What do you think? Which of these two teams do you think will be celebrating Premier League promotion at the end of the month of May?
Leave us a comment and share your thoughts with us.