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Aston Villa and Fulham will vie for a return to the Premier League when they face off in the lucrative Championship play-off final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
Football’s richest game will feature a classic clash of styles. Villa, who have spent the past two seasons in the second tier, are experienced and pragmatic.
Meanwhile, Fulham are a progressive side featuring ample young talent as they bid to end a four-year absence from the top flight.
The teams split their league matches, with Villa winning 2-1 in Birmingham in October, while Fulham won 2-0 at Craven Cottage in February.
Below you will find analysis and viewing details for a game worth at least £160 million to the winners, per BBC Sport.
Date: Saturday, May 26
Time: 5 p.m. BST, 12 p.m. ET
TV Info: Sky Sports Football, ESPN+
Villa’s resourcefulness and defensive solidity were typified by the way they ground out a 1-0 aggregate victory over Middlesbrough in the play-off semi-final.
Manager Steve Bruce, who earned promotions to the Premier League with Birmingham City and Hull City, trusts a squad littered with seasoned former Premier League talents.
Chief among them is central defender John Terry, who remains a combative and reliable talisman at the back.
Villa plan to offer the 37-year-old a new one-year contract, an offer he could snub in favour of a possible move to Major League Soccer or China regardless of whether his team is promoted, per James Nursey of the Daily Mirror.
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If this is Terry’s last game for Villa, the former Chelsea skipper’s experience in big matches will be a plus. The same is true of ex-Tottenham Hotspur full-back Alan Hutton, who helps the veteran keep things stable at the back.
However, Bruce could opt for a back five with Terry and James Chester, who played for the Villa boss at Hull, joined by former Blackburn Rovers man Christopher Samba.
Any plans the Villa boss has to adopt a 5-4-1 or 3-4-1-1 formation could be hampered by the fitness status of Ahmed Elmohamady. The Egypt international is another of Bruce’s familiar faces from Sunderland and Hull, but he is a doubt, even if his manager thinks he will be ready for Wembley, per Sky Sports.
At least Bruce will be able to count on Mile Jedinak in midfield. The one-time Crystal Palace linchpin scored the winner at Middlesbrough and is a strong presence in the middle.
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Robert Snodgrass, another Bruce favourite with the Tigers, offers some craft. So does Jack Grealish, who uses his guile in a withdrawn role behind impressive striker Lewis Grabban.
Yet it’s wide forward Albert Adomah who carries the greatest threat, after the Ghana international scored 15 times and provided five assists during the season.
Fulham’s attacking menace comes from Newcastle United loanee Aleksandar Mitrovic. The Serbia international is a bullish target man who links well with Fulham’s pace from midfield areas.
Most of that pace comes from precocious 18-year-old Ryan Sessegnon. This rising star helped himself to 16 goals and seven assists, mostly from the left flank, with his latest finish helping see off Derby County en route to the final.
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Sessegnon is rarely short of chances thanks to skipper Tom Cairney and Norwegian schemer Stefan Johansen. The latter scored eight times and provided nine assists this season.
Manager Slavisa Jokanovic has implemented an expansive style of play and encouraged his side to show no fear at Wembley, per Ron Walker of Sky Sports: “We must try to play, perform and show our quality, to show we are focused and concentrated to show we are a good team. We must play the game. We must not be scared.”
Fulham have the quality to put on a show in the biggest game of their season. However, Villa’s experience, both on the pitch and in the dugout, could see them edge a tense final.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-1 Fulham