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Africans Abroad: Fikayo Tomori, Tammy Abraham show EPL talent at Wembley

Tue, 28 May 2019 03:57:00 GMT

The EFL Championship playoff final took centre stage this weekend, with Aston Villa defeating Derby County to secure a return to the English Premier League after three seasons away, while there were mixed fortunes for Africa's stars as Serie A and Ligue 1 were concluded. No Championship side has leaned as heavily on African talent this season as Villa, whose squad of bright young things and experienced heads defeated the Rams 2-1 at Wembley in Monday's final. There was a 'Made in Chelsea' feel about...

Aston Villa clinched Championship playoff glory by beating Derby, but now the hard work begins

Mon, 27 May 2019 08:24:09 GMT

Steve Nicol says that Dean Smith's ability to come in and stabilize Aston Villa's form is the main reason the club has earned Premier League promotion. Aston Villa are back in the Premier League after a three-year absence thanks to a 2-1 win over Frank Lampard's Derby County at Wembley Stadium. LONDON -- Aston Villa are back in the big time. Three seasons after being relegated from the Premier League, one of English football's aristocrats are back where many believe they belong after defeating Derby County in the EFL Championship playoff final, 2-1, to reclaim their place among the elite. Of course, the reality is that no club has a divine right to play and succeed at any level of the game, but some clubs really should be too big to fail and Villa -- seven times champions of England...

The Championship playoff final: Get ready for the richest game in sports

Fri, 24 May 2019 12:30:00 GMT

Derby County beat Leeds United 4-2 at Elland Road in a sensational match to reach the playoff final at Wembley where they'll meet Aston Villa. It is the most lucrative one-off fixture in the sporting world, with the financial windfall for the winning team a staggering £170 million ($215m) -- three times more than the combined value of winning the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup. The monetary jackpot vastly overshadows that which comes with winning the Super Bowl ($6.25m), NBA Finals ($3.3m) or World Series ($30.4m), but the flip side of the EFL Championship playoff is that the losers not only end up with nothing, they...

Championship playoff semifinal second legs: predictions and key battles

Mon, 13 May 2019 12:49:00 GMT

Derby County had a penalty decision overturned in their 1-0 defeat to Leeds in a feisty Championship first leg playoff at Pride Park. Aston Villa recovered from a goal down to beat West Brom and take a one-goal lead into Tuesday's Championship playoff second leg. Ninety minutes separate four Championship clubs from a playoff final at Wembley Stadium to battle for promotion to the Premier League and all the riches that come along with it. Here you'll find everything you need to know as Aston Villa seek to finish the job of knocking out West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, and Leeds United attempt to hold on to the narrowest of first-leg leads over Derby County as they meet at what will surely be a raucous Elland Road. (function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src='https://embed.playbuzz.com/sdk.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}(document,'script','playbuzz-sdk')); Leeds United vs. Derby County FIRST-LEG...

Championship playoffs: Predictions, key battles, stars to watch

Fri, 10 May 2019 12:00:00 GMT

Frank Lampard's Derby County secured a playoff semifinal against Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United with a 2-1 win over West Brom, pipping Middlesbrough to sixth place. Norwich lifted the Championship trophy following their victory at Aston Villa, a week after mathematically clinching promotion against Blackburn. Players and staff of Sheffield United celebrated clinching automatic promotion to the Premier League after Leeds United's draw with Aston Villa sealed their spot. Despite missing out on an automatic promotion spot, a place in the Premier League remains tantalisingly close for four Championship clubs via the playoffs. But only two teams can advance to the final, dubbed "the richest game in football," at Wembley on May 27 (live on ESPN+). (Oh, and unlike the Champions League, away goals don't matter here.) Will it be playoff heartbreak yet again for fallen giants Leeds when they face Derby? Who will win the Midlands battle between former European champions...

Who are Aston Villa? Dean Smith and John Terry mastermind return with Grealish the key

Mon, 29 Apr 2019 02:44:00 GMT

Aston Villa booked their place in the top flight for next season when they beat Derby County 2-1 on Monday in the Championship playoff final. Here we take a look at the club and what they will bring to the Premier League. Last time they were in the Premier League Previously a stalwart in the top flight, Aston Villa's relegation in 2016 was the culmination of years of neglect, under-investment and poor decision making. When things started to go wrong under Paul Lambert, the club turned to Tim Sherwood...

Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce being pelted with cabbage 'sums up society'

Wed, 3 Oct 2018 01:28:00 GMT

Aston Villa's underwhelming start to the season continued with a 3-3 draw against Preston on Tuesday night. Indeed, Villa were minutes away from an embarrassing home defeat until Yannick Bolasie spared their blushes with a 91st-minute equaliser -- and that was before Glenn Whelan spurned the chance to seize all three points by missing a 97th-minute penalty, with boos ringing around the stadium at full time. However, the Villa protests actually began before the match, with one particularly irate fan...

Transfer Rater: Jack Grealish to Tottenham, Tiemoue Bakayoko to AC Milan

Wed, 8 Aug 2018 02:29:00 GMT

The latest transfer rumours from around the world. Things change in the blink of an eye in football. The Football Whispers Index takes the latest transfer rumours and gives them a score out of five; the higher the score, the more realistic and reliable the Whisper. Here are today's top five emerging whispers. And keep an eye on Transfer Talk for all the latest gossip. Jack Grealish to Tottenham Hotspur Tottenham may finally make their first signing of the summer after making a £25m bid for Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish, according...

Why the Championship play-off final is the richest game in soccer

Tue, 29 May 2018 10:15:00 GMT

Can there be anything in football more magnificent than the goal from an overhead kick? When Gareth Bale scored exactly that goal on Saturday in a Champions League final, the acme of elite-club-football competition, it was literally breath-taking. The stage, the spectacle made it possibly the greatest goal ever scored. But for all the beauty of that goal and how it will undoubtedly be admired throughout the ages, it wasn't even the most important scored that day. That accolade rests with Tom...

Tom Cairney sends Fulham back to the Premier League after playoff win over Aston Villa

Sat, 26 May 2018 11:19:00 GMT

LONDON -- Three quick thoughts from Fulham's 1-0 win over Aston Villa in the Championship playoff final at Wembley, which sees the Cottagers return to the Premier League after four seasons in England's second division. 1. Cairney sends Fulham back to the big time Fulham are back in the Premier League after four years away, Tom Cairney's 23rd-minute winner edging them past Aston Villa in a tense and increasingly chaotic Championship playoff final. They won despite playing the last quarter...

John Terry's Chelsea dilemma if Aston Villa win Championship playoff

Fri, 25 May 2018 06:30:00 GMT

Controversy has, once again, found John Terry, as the veteran defender prepares for what could be his final match for Aston Villa in the Championship playoff final against Fulham on Saturday. Suggestions that the 37-year-old, out of contract this summer, could sign a 12-month extension at Villa with a clause that exempts him from facing former club Chelsea in the event that they win promotion to the top flight sparked widespread bemusement and derision. Sources have told ESPN FC that the Premier...

Scouting Spotlight: Jack Grealish, Enis Bardhi, Samu Castillejo

Wed, 16 May 2018 02:03:00 GMT

Jack Grealish has been tipped for big things. Scouting spotlight looks at Aston Villa's young star, Levante's playmaker of interest to Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, and Villarreal's version of Arjen Robben. Jack Grealish -- Aston Villa After breaking into the first team as a teenager, Grealish helped Aston Villa reach the 2015 FA Cup final with a fine performance against Liverpool in the semifinals. His development stagnated somewhat following the club's relegation to the Championship, but he has kicked on this year...

Jack Grealish's Aston Villa winner gets Prince William's royal seal of approval

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 02:43:00 GMT

The Duke of Cambridge, left, celebrates Jack Grealish's winner for Aston Villa vs. Cardiff. Aston Villa's secured a late win over Championship promotion rivals Cardiff on Tuesday and the victory had one very special onlooker. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and second in line to the British throne, just happens to be a "Villan" and was in attendance to see Grealish earn three points with a superb 85th-minute volley.  The goal was enough to gain a royal seal of approval, as well as that of Villa cult hero John Carew, at whose side William sat.  Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

Chelsea's Willian expresses gratitude to John Terry for signed shirt

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 04:34:00 GMT

If the memories of playing alongside John Terry for four seasons weren't enough for Willian, the Chelsea forward now has something else he can appreciate. Terry, the longtime Chelsea captain now playing for Aston Villa, was in attendance for his former team's draw against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. He signed a shirt for Willian, who expressed his gratitude for the gift by posting a heartfelt response on Instagram. In the last days I have had the honor of receiving this beautiful gift from my friend, the legend @johnterry.26. John, thank you very much for this gift and for the beautiful message. It has been a great pleasure to be a team mate of one of the greatest defenders in the world and, above all, an example of a professional football player. In those 4 years that we've been working together I've learned a lot from you and it's a real pride to be able to say that I played with you. All the happiness in the world in your career and in your life, my friend! Nos últimos dias tive a honra de receber esse belo presente do meu amigo, a lenda @johnterry.26 . . John, muito obrigado pelo presente e pela bonita mensagem. . Foi um enorme prazer poder ser companheiro de clube de um dos maiores zagueiros do mundo e acima de tudo um exemplo de profissional, um grande ídolo do futebol. . Nesses 4 anos que estivemos trabalhando juntos eu aprendi muita coisa com você e é um orgulho poder dizer que joguei ao seu lado. . Toda a felicidade do mundo em sua carreira e na sua vida. #johnterry #legend #myfriend #thankyou #gift #CFC #johnterry26 A post shared by Willian Borges Da Silva (@willianborges88) on Sep 19, 2017 at 8:01am PDT The Brazil international's admiration for Terry, who left the club in July...

Yorke, Drogba, Suarez: top non-European scorers in Premier League

Sun, 10 Sep 2017 02:00:00 GMT

Sergio Aguero might not be a guaranteed starter at Manchester City any more, but his goal against Liverpool on Saturday means he is guaranteed a place in the Premier League history books. The Argentine opened the scoring in the emphatic 5-0 win at the Etihad to take his tally in the English top flight to 124 and become the top scoring non-European player in the division's history. It has only taken Aguero 185 appearances across six-and-a-bit seasons to reach that number, and even if he were to...

Aston Villa tweet 'Where's Waldo?'-like image to announce Snodgrass signing

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 09:42:00 GMT

Having already used a fake Whatsapp conversation to herald John Terry's arrival this summer, Aston Villa have once again found an entertaining new way to announce a signing to their fans on social media. Indeed, the Championship club broke the news that Robert Snodgrass has been signed on a season-long loan from West Ham with a playful little "Where's Waldo?"-style animation. Welcome... =@= #PartOfThePride #AVFC pic.twitter.com/tULJluxnNB— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) August 25, 2017 Perhaps not the wackiest entry in the "intricate player unveilings" canon that seems to have gathered momentum over...

Transfer Rater: Ashley Young to Watford, Jack Wilshere to Aston Villa

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 03:25:00 GMT

The latest transfer rumours from around the world. Things change in the blink of an eye in football. The Football Whispers Index takes the latest transfer rumours and gives them a score out of five; the higher the score, the more realistic and reliable the whisper. Here are today's top five emerging whispers for the summer. And keep an eye on Transfer Talk for all the latest gossip. Stuart Dallas to Norwich City Norwich City are looking to raid Championship rivals Leeds United to sign Dallas. The winger's contract expires next summer and...

Draw vs. Hull underlines enormity of John Terry's challenge at Aston Villa

Sat, 5 Aug 2017 12:39:00 GMT

BIRMINGHAM, England -- On the first day of the rest of John Terry's footballing life, as Aston Villa's new captain, he received multiple reminders of how different life in the Championship will be to his 18 years as Chelsea's favourite son. "The aim is to try and help this club win the Championship," Terry wrote in his first Captain's Column of the season in the matchday programme. A five-time Premier League-winning captain accepts nothing less than total victory, so a 1-1 draw with Hull City...

John Terry leading Aston Villa's veteran revolution in Championship

Thu, 3 Aug 2017 02:30:00 GMT

BIRMINGHAM -- It will take some time to get used to seeing John Terry in a shirt other than Chelsea's, but he is an Aston Villa player now. In dropping down to a Championship club in severe need of rescuing from itself, the five-time Premier League-winning captain has accepted a very different mission. Once Antonio Conte made clear that Terry had no further part to play at Stamford Bridge, the 36-year-old, with 18 years as a first-team player behind him, wanted to prove he still had something to...

John Terry lifts first trophy as Aston Villa player, and it's... different

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 01:51:00 GMT

John Terry kicked off his Aston Villa career by adding yet another trophy to his already bulging collection of silverware. The former Chelsea captain made his bow for Villa in a preseason tournament out in Germany, seeing off competition from Duisburg and Hertha Berlin to win the "Cup of Traditions". And what a mighty cup it is too -- a small figurine clambering out of an oversized burst football in which he was presumably imprisoned, all atop a swirling plinth made from precious gold and silver...


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