Former Aston Villa attacker Paul Merson has been giving his thoughts this week on our upcoming Championship Play-Off battles and he has a clear favourite to be our opposition come the final when it comes to choosing between Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion.
Ahead of Sunday’s final round of regular season fixtures in the second tier, the table reads Leeds, West Brom, Villa and then Derby tied on points with Middlesborough.
For the Play-Off Semi-Finals, third face sixth and fourth face fifth and most seem to expect it to be Villa v Baggies for the double header.
Speaking to Sky Sports’ The Debate on Monday evening (10.55pm), Merson was obviously pleased with how we had turned our season around under head coach Dean Smith, but he felt the easier pathway through would be to meet our local neighbours in the Final given the firepower of Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle.
“As a Villa man, I rather play West Brom at Wembley in one game than two because West Brom have got firepower to hurt you over two games. Even though Villa are on such a good run that’s another thing that frightens me. It’s the best thing in the world if you can get up in the final and win. And it’s the worst if you don’t. And if you don’t, you look at Villa. Jack Grealish is not going to be there next year, you look at McGinn who has had a great season and Mings who looks head and shoulders above anyone else in that league. Fingers crossed for Villa.”
I think most accept that Leeds will be the tougher opponent in the Final given how weak the Baggies have proven themselves to be in defence this season, but Merse does have a point here. Especially when it comes to the future’s of the players he names, as that’s already a well stated concern for a lot of fans.
It’s Wembley though, what will be will be and form and momentum are on our side in all senses of the words.