The Villans and the Baggies square off in the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final as they aim to secure a return to the top flight
With a place at Wembley Stadium on the line and a shot at returning to their former place in the Premier League, the stakes are only getting higher for Aston Villa and West Brom.
The pair meet in the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final at Villa Park knowing that a win would go a long way to bolstering their respective chances of ending a top-flight exodus.
Villa had gone 11 games unbeaten before a loss to champions Norwich in the final regular game of the season, but will be the favourites following West Brom’s hefty defeat at the hands of Derby County last time out.
But who will come up trumps in arguably the biggest West Midlands derby this millennium? Will it be victory for the Villans? Or will the Baggies have them bested?
|Game||Aston Villa v West Brom|
|Date||Saturday, May 11|
|Time||12:30pm BST / 7:30am EST|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game will not be broadcast, but can be streamed via ESPN+.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be shown on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football and can be streamed through the Sky Go app.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Football||Sky Go|
Squads & Team News
|Position||Aston Villa players|
|Goalkeepers||Steer, Kalinic, Bunn|
|Defenders||Taylor, Chester, Hutton, Elphick, Hause, Revan, Mings, Tuanzebe|
|Midfielders||Whelan, McGinn, Lansbury, Grealish, Carroll, Hourihane, Jedinak, Davis, Bjarnason, El Mohamady, Adomah, Ramsey, Lyden|
|Forwards||Abraham, Green, Kodjia, El Ghazi|
Dean Smith’s side have been handed a major boost by the confirmation that Tammy Abraham will be fit to feature against the Baggies after recovering from a shoulder injury.
However, the manager will have to make a choice about whether he starts his leading goalscorer ahead of in-form Jonathan Kodjia.
Possible Aston Villa starting XI: Steer; El Mohamady, Tuanzebe, Mings, Taylor; Whelan; Adomah, McGinn; Grealish, Abraham, El Ghazi.
|Position||West Brom squad|
|Defenders||Gibbs, Dawson, Holgate, Hegazi, Bartley, Townsend, Mears, Fitzwater, Adarabioyo|
|Midfielders||Montero, Phillips, Johansen, Brunt, Morrison, Barry, Hoolahan, Murphy, Harper|
|Forwards||Gayle, Rodriguez, Sako, Leko|
Jimmy Shan will be hopeful that Jake Livermore can feature for the visitors but the former England international is a big doubt thanks to a foot problem.
Hal Robson-Kanu meanwhile will miss the play-off campaign in full following a red card and three-game ban for violent conduct.
Possible West Brom starting XI: Johnstone; Dawson, Bartley, Hegazi; Holgate, Harper, Johansen, Gibbs; Murphy, Gayle, Rodriguez.
Betting & Match Odds
Aston Villa are the even-money favourites to take the win from the first leg with bet365. West Brom are meanwhile available at 16/5 while a draw can be backed at 5/2.
Click here to see more offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.
After 46 rounds of pulsating football, only four sides remain in contention for the final place in the Premier League as the Championship enters its play-off phase.
For much of the year, West Bromwich Albion have been near the forefront of the race for the top six, firmly in the mix – despite sacking manager Darren Moore with only a few months to go until the end of the season.
Aston Villa meanwhile trailed the pack for much of the campaign, until former Brentford boss Dean Smith took the helm and led them to 10 wins on the trot, driving them firmly into contention.
Now the pair, both former stalwarts of the top flight, will have a chance to give themselves a shot at returning to the big time.
Smith, however, has played down his team’s tag as favourites, pointing out that despite their greater form in recent months, their rivals have been one step ahead of them throughout the campaign.
“I know there are several pundits out there saying that we will be the favourites, but West Brom have been above us all season,” the manager said in his pre-game presser.
“They are the ones who came down from the Premier League last season. They have got a squad of Premier League players.
“We have yet to beat them this season so for me I think they are the favourites and we are looking forward to spoiling their party.”
Baggies caretaker Jimmy Shan has, however, played down the significance of the game being a derby encounter for the pair, adding: “We could play anyone in the division and have the same edge, focus and determination.
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“I don’t think it will have any bearing to be honest with you.
“Anybody that qualifies for the play-offs is there for a reason, anybody we’d face would be competitive.
“We’re all professionals, we want to get back to the Premier League.”