With Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion preparing for Saturday’s Championship Play-Off Semi-Final first leg at Villa Park, the game has got the juices of fans and pundits flowing as a testy season extension only gains more spice owing to the local derby nature of the doubleheader.
With West Bromwich Albion pretty much spending the season in the top six following their relegation from the Premier League last year, Aston Villa required a fantastic record breaking winning run to get our hopes of the Play-Offs alive after a more mixed season – both on and off the pitch.
Writing in his regular EFL predictions piece for Sky Sports, former player and now pundit David Prutton had a clear favourite for the game, but he was expecting the two matches to be cracker’s given the way both sides prefer to attack.
“I think we can safely say this is going to be a cracker! Both of these sides have known they are going to be in the play-offs for a while – in fact for West Brom it seems like they have been fourth for most of the season – and it also seemed fairly certain for a while that they would be facing each other, so they have had plenty of time to prepare. Aston Villa are in the better form, despite dropping points in their tough two final games of the season. For both teams there is plenty of firepower in attack but I just think Dean Smith’s side are the more complete team. I reckon they will win and give the Baggies a bit of a mountain to climb in the second leg.”
It’s not unfair to say that’s how quite a few people see the upcoming clashes and the simple fact is, as long as we keep Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez quite, their midfield and defence offers nothing to worry about and there’s more than enough firepower and creativity in our squad to take two wins as long as we turn up and perform as we have done in recent months.