PLAYOFF PREVIEW: West Brom v Aston Villa – Zero Hour Approaches.

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Contributed by Korben O’Brien | Join The Team

Villa make the short trip across the city to face West Brom in the 2nd leg of the Play Off semi final this evening.


Villa scored twice in 4 minutes for a dramatic win which gives us the upper hand over neighbours Albion in the Championship Playoff semi-final.

Dean Smith’s side seemed to be heading for defeat after trailing to a Dwight Gayle goal with just 15 minutes remaining.

But impact sub Conor Hourihane produced a superb equaliser before Tammy Abraham converted a penalty to claim this 26th goal of the season and send Villa into this Tuesday’s return match with a slender lead.

A bright opening by Villa saw Glenn Whelan put a third minute header not far over following Jack Grealish’s short corner and John McGinn’s cross, while Abraham was only just too high with a spectacular overhead kick from Ahmed Elmohamdy’s right wing cross.

Reason to believe

Villa’s first leg victory was down to one crucial element and that was self-belief.

Villa had though struggled to get into their usual rhythm for periods, failing to reproduce the flowing football which had carried them from the bottom half of the table to the Playoffs in the latter part of the campaign.

However, we simply refused to throw in the towel against a well-organised Baggies outfit who defended in depth.

We were ultimately rewarded by two goals which gives u a “half time advantage” in the quest for a place at Wembley.

Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish says the Play-off semi final comeback win over West Brom amplified his faith in the team as he now looks forward to a “hostile and tough” second leg at The Hawthorns.

Grealish is a big admirer of the heart and spirit within the squad as they came from a goal down to win 2-1.

It’s the decider on this Tuesday at The Hawthorns and Grealish has stated he will relish the occasion.

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Grealish said:

Every time I come onto the pitch, I look at the players around me and think we’re going to win.

Even if we go a goal down or a man down, I always think we’re going to win.

When you have quality like Conor Hourihane coming off the bench, it says something. His goal today speaks for itself today. Overall it was a good win.

Now its onto Tuesday. It’s like last time. We won at Middlesborough and then we came back here to Villa Park and we had another tough game.

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West Brom are a great side.

We know when we go to The Hawthorns on Tuesday, it’s going to be a hostile atmosphere and a tough game.

But I do always look at the players around me and feel we can win every game so hopefully we can do that and get ourselves back to Wembley.


Korben’s Prediction:

“My prediction for Tuesday’s game is that it is going to be another tough game but I think that Villa will go to The Hawthorns full of momentum 2-1 ahead and come away progressing to Wembley.”

Score Prediction: West Brom 0-2 Villa 2 – with Tammy Abraham and John McGinn to score for Villa. Prediction:

“It’s a tough game to predict, what with how much is riding on the outcome, local rivalry and enforced changes for the hosts.  Albion will presumably have to come at Villa, offering us the opportunity to use our counter attack to good effect.  However, Albion proved a stubborn and determined unit at Villa Park and may seek to exploit our high tempo, pressing style of play.  With that said, we have quality and form throughout the team – it’s games like this where top players truly earn their keep.”

Score Prediction: West Brom 0-1 Villa – with Tyrone Mings to get the goal for Villa.

Key Facts

  • Dwight Gayle misses out due to suspension after seeing red at Villa Park.
  • Villa haven’t lost a game with Jack Grealish in the team since October.
  • Villa are 2-1 ahead after the 1st leg.
  • Tammy Abraham has found the back of the net with four of his last five attempts on target in the championship including the Play Offs with each of those goals coming against different opposition ( Sheff Wed, Bristol City , Bolton and West Brom)
  • Aston Villa ended the 2018-19 season with a seven-game unbeaten run on the road ( W5 D2) with the last away defeat coming against Brentford in February.
  • Online Bookies have Villa at 13/8 for the away victory.