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Aston Villa v Derby County: How the Championship play-off final was Made in Chelsea

Long-time Chelsea team-mates Frank Lampard and John Terry have crossed paths before

While the players and supporters of Aston Villa and Derby County go through the ringer during Monday's Championship play-off final, Chelsea's past and, quite possibly, future will be taking more than a passing interest.

There's a Made in Chelsea feel to the Bank Holiday Monday Wembley fare, with Frank Lampard and Jody Morris in the Rams dugout and John Terry an assistant coach to one of Villa's own, Dean Smith.

On the pitch, youngsters Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham could well have a decisive say, while the not-so-young Blues legend Ashley Cole is also likely to be thrust back into the limelight.

BBC Sport looks at how the management dynamic is working out, as well as some of the key protagonists.

Two's company...

Rookie boss Lampard's appointment at Derby almost a year to the day raised more than a few eyebrows. But the 40-year-old has already shown there is more to him than simply being 'a name'.

Having been schooled by the vastly experienced Marcelo Bielsa in three out of three meetings with Leeds United, Derby then turned on the style to win a pulsating play-off semi-final second leg and secure their Wembley trip.

Lampard's player recruitment, man management and tactical nous has been widely praised and years of painful play-off misses for the Rams could be forgotten come Monday.

But perhaps the shrewdest move of Lampard's short managerial career has been appointing Morris as his number two.

"It's Frank and Jody; it's an absolute team, which you see when you listen to them and see them together," former Chelsea and Scotland winger Pat Nevin told BBC Sport.

"Frank is the front man but you need the number two to be on equal footing with you.

"If people from the outside ask if Jody is a yes man then you just sort of laugh and say 'Really? Absolutely no chance'.

"Jody had a fantastic career but no one had a career like Frank so there could be a shadow there, but Jody is not bothered by that. His personality is huge. I worked with him for years at Chelsea and I have got to know the strength of his personality.

Former Chelsea under-18s coach Morris (right) made his Chelsea debut as a 17-year-old in 1996

"He will stand up for his own beliefs, but he will be incredibly respectful to Frank's beliefs as well.

"Frank's infamous niceness, which is absolutely his core personality, can be shoved too far and you will get the other side. Football is a really good mirror because you see the extremes of their personality.

"I have seen Frank lose it and react to people."

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who played with Terry, Lampard and Morris during a four-year stint with Chelsea from 2000, said at the time he didn't think Lampard would go into coaching.

"Obviously he has shown he can do that now," Hasselbaink told BBC Sport. "Back then he didn't have the same focus for it that you see with some players.

"But Frank and Jody were always very close and really good friends.

"Jody served his apprenticeship with the Chelsea Under-18s and had an incredible record there and Frank worked with them when he was doing his badges.

"The absolute trust is there and that is most important thing. The dynamics work."

But three's not a crowd

The dynamics seem spot on at both Pride Park and Villa Park - although the winning formula is slightly different.

Languishing 15th in the table when Dean Smith took over in October, the new boss brought in Terry as a coach alongside his tried-and-trusted deputy Richard O'Kelly, who Smith worked with at both Walsall and Brentford.

A slow start was followed by a club record 10 successive wins and an astonishing charge to the play-offs, before they went on to squeeze past West Bromwich Albion in the semi-finals.

Terry (right) was a player when Villa lost the 2018 play-off final against Fulham

Although Smith had never previously worked with Terry, one of his former team-mates and closest friends, Martin Ling, provided an unlikely link.

Ling, who played with Smith and then handed him his first coaching role at Orient, managed Terry's brother Paul.

"John would pop in for a coffee and I got to know him loosely," said Ling. "He was great and would chat to the younger lads. He is a class act.

"I spoke to Dean before he appointed John and John understands he is a learning coach and he does just want to learn. There is no side to John.

"I told him it was a total no-brainer. It has worked a treat and now they need to finish the job. But Richard O'Kelly should not be forgotten in all of this. He is an absolutely first-class coach."

'An extraordinary personality'

Pat Nevin said employing someone of Terry's stature as a number two did have an element of risk because he is a top-class manager in waiting.

"Your ears prick up slightly with that," explained Nevin. "Because if I had to pick anybody who I thought would be the best manager long term, I would say John Terry without taking a breath.

"You are bringing in somebody who has an extraordinary personality in the dressing room. I don't know if I have seen anybody better for the way he can motivate. And it's not just the shouting and bawling, it's every possible way.

"He has a fantastic knowledge and is incredibly hard working. People admire him and are awestruck by him, but also he puts people at ease.

"The time and effort he gives to people is extreme. He relaxes people and makes people comfortable and that is what has impressed me most.

John Terry will make top manager - Aston Villa's Smith

"I watched the way he worked with people at Chelsea, not doing it for show, but because that is what he does. He is like that.

"I am not painting him as angel because he has done things wrong. You think some of the criticism is deserved but most of it is probably not. The way that he is looked upon, the media have got it wrong. In 10 years he will be a fantastic manager.

"I have never seen someone better suited to be a manager."

But will Terry or Lampard, already recently linked with Chelsea, one day return to take the top job at Stamford Bridge?

"One of them will be manager of Chelsea one day, maybe two of them," said Nevin. "And it will be interesting to see who will be the first.

"That will be down to luck and getting the right job at the right time."

The next generation

Terry, Lampard, Morris and Derby's likely left-back for the day, Ashley Cole, have 1,878 Chelsea appearances and 294 goals between them from a combined 49 years of service with the club.

The next generation of Mount, Tomori and Abraham have played just four times for the Blues first team.

Nevin said those numbers could well rise, particularly if the Fifa transfer ban comes into force at Chelsea this summer.

"Mason Mount has been immense for Derby," added Nevin. "Frank asks him to do different things. You cannot just do the one thing as a midfielder; you need to adapt and he has shown brilliant adaptability.

"He creates and brings goals, but then at other times he can do the rough stuff. He is not the best tackler in the world but he is good enough. He has the all-round ability."

Tomori is likely to be directly up against 26-goal Abraham - a contest Nevin believes will be vital on Monday.

Will Tomori and Abraham, pictured here in a rare 2016 outing, ever go back to Chelsea?

"I have watched a lot of Chelsea youth development football and Tammy has always been the one that I thought could make the breakthrough," said Nevin.

"He has a really good chance to make it at Chelsea - just when it will be I don't know. I would like to see him back there next season but only if he is getting games. If not then he should stay at Aston Villa."

Before then, Monday looms into focus. Villa may have the edge having twice thumped Derby in the league this season but the Rams recovered from three defeats against Leeds to win the game that really mattered to reach Wembley.

"JT and Frank both have that credibility with the players to start with," said Hasselbaink. "They have been there and done it and when they talk young players and experienced players listen.

"They have achieved so much. They know how to cope with the stress. Play-off matches are huge and they can help the players deal with the stress in the big moments."

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Pictures: The boys board the plane to Baku

Having been awarded an allocation of just 6,000 tickets for the Europa League final, the match in Baku will certainly be a different experience.

Unai Emery has stressed that he would like to see more of our supporters at the game, but says his side will keep those who can only watch on TV in their minds for the match.

This is what he told the media:

on not many Arsenal fans being there…
I think our supporters want to come with us and enjoy with us in the stadium because there are not a lot of times you can play in a final in Europe. Every supporter wants to enjoy with the team in this country, but Baku is very far, and they will have to fly because there is not a possibility to drive there. It is expensive too. I prefer to be with them, to enjoy it with them, to have a big atmosphere with our supporters. I know Arsenal has a lot of fans around the world and I think in Baku there will be a lot of supporters from other countries closer to Baku and the stadium will be full with 70,000 people and supporters. But really our supporters in London, who are with us at Emirates Stadium and also in the Premier League, I prefer for them to be with us too in this final.

on how disappointed he is that the final is in Baku...
We can’t speak about that individually, how we feel. But I think it’s most important to think that we want to play the final against Chelsea and we want to show our possibility to win one title. Yes, it’s not possible with Mkhitaryan. It’s not possible with all our supporters, as we want. But the final is very important. It’s a shame that not all the supporters can travel to Baku, but they are going to be here at home, enjoying with us through the TV. We need to know that and play for them.

on whether the game should have been moved to Wembley…
Only this responsibility is with Uefa’s welfare people and we can’t do anything about that. We played the final in Juventus Stadium and the Super Cup final in Cardiff, and the Europa League final in Tbilisi, and I enjoyed it with a big atmosphere from both teams. Now we are going to enjoy it with less supporters from Arsenal and Chelsea, but I hope the stadium will be full with a lot of football supporters, maybe some supporters of Arsenal and Chelsea, and above all I want to play this match with a big atmosphere and with a big emotion in the stadium. We cannot play here in London.

Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source.

Arsene Wenger
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Aston Villa vs Derby combined XI

Jack Grealish, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham (left to right)

Jack Grealish, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham (left to right)

If the Championship play-off semi-finals taught us anything it's that form is crucial. Leeds and West Brom finished third and fourth respectively in the regular season, but it was Derby and Aston Villa - each of whom lost just one of their last 12 league fixtures - that prevailed.

Dean Smith's side needed penalties to book a place in back-to-back Wembley finals, while the Rams came from behind to upset Marcelo Bielsa's heavily-fancied side at Elland Road.

Both sets of players will be full of confidence given their impressive records since the start of March, but who would make the best combined XI from the two teams? We asked to run the numbers.

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Goalkeeper: Kelle Roos (Derby) - 6.69 (average rating this season)

It's fair to say both play-off finalists have had their goalkeeping issues this season, with neither ending the season with the man one would have expected as first choice. Dutchman Roos has got the nod over the experienced former Villan Scott Carson in recent months and the results certainly justify that decision.

The Rams lost just three of the 16 league matches the 26-year-old started over the season, conceding only 0.88 goals per game. Roos also boasts the accolade of having made the most saves in a single game in a must-win match at Bristol City (11).

Right-back: Jayden Bogle (Derby) - 6.91

Having only turned 18 a week before the season began, Bogle was a mainstay under Frank Lampard in his first season in senior football. The full-back started 39 league matches over the course of the regular campaign, improving markedly as it wore on.

A tally of eight assists was the most of any defender in the division, with seven of those coming since the start of February - no other Championship player managed more in that time. With the teenager leading the way for tackles per game at Derby too (2.5), if his side aren't promoted there's a real chance that Bogle will still have the chance to play in the top flight next season.

1:15 Sky Bet preview the Championship play-off final between Aston Villa and Derby at Wembley

Sky Bet preview the Championship play-off final between Aston Villa and Derby at Wembley

Centre-back: Fikayo Tomori (Derby) - 6.91

With Lampard using his ties with Chelsea to great effect this season, the arrival of Fikayo Tomori on loan has been as important as any other at Pride Park. The 21-year-old England youth international started 43 matches over the regular season to forge an ever-improving partnership with the experienced Richard Keogh.

The youngster is the more proactive of the duo, using his pace and strength to step in with an impressive 3.7 tackles and interceptions per game combined. His tally of 96 for the season with regards to the former was the most of any centre-back in the Championship.

Centre-back: Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) - 7.00

Aside from a night to forget away at Rotherham when he was sent off before half time, Mings has been a superb addition to the Villa backline and consistent performer at the heart of the defence. He has oozed confidence since his January arrival on loan from Bournemouth and solidified Dean Smith's side substantially.

Superb in the air in both boxes, the 26-year-old chipped in with two important goals in his 15 appearances prior to the play-offs, while his distribution from the back has also been valuable. Of outfielders to make at least 10 appearances over the season only Oliver Norwood averaged more accurate long balls per game (6.5).

Left-back: Neil Taylor (Aston Villa) - 6.64

With Scott Malone (6.81 rating) suspended, Taylor gets the spot at left-back by default but does deserve credit for reviving his Aston Villa career. When Alan Hutton was picked on his unfavoured left side ahead of the Welsh international it appeared as though the 30-year-old's first-team hopes were over. However, injury to the Scot has opened the door for Taylor and he has been very reliable since returning to the side.

Having been encouraged to get forward more under Smith the former Swansea man has offered a good outlet on the flank, chipping in with three assists. Villa lost just two of the last 23 matches in which Taylor featured in the regular season.

Central midfield: Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa) - 7.02

Perhaps the biggest decision Dean Smith has to make is which of his Irish midfield men starts at Wembley, with Hourihane competing for a place with the more conservative Glenn Whelan. There's no doubt whatsoever that the former would be the more attacking option, with his record in terms of goals and assists this season speaking for itself.

A stunning equaliser in the play-off semi-final with West Brom followed seven goals in the regular season, along with a further 11 assists. Perhaps crucially when it comes to Smith's important call, Hourihane scored three times against the Rams during the season and also ranks among the top 10 players in the league in terms of pass accuracy (87.3 per cent).

Central midfield: John McGinn (Aston Villa) - 7.26

Unquestionably one of the signings of the season in the Championship, it speaks volumes of the regard in which McGinn is held at the club that he picked up both the Players' and Fans' Player of the Season awards ahead of Jack Grealish. The Scotsman's tireless work ethic in the middle ground has been pivotal to Dean Smith's approach since taking the reigns, though the midfielder is far more than a mere workhorse.

With six goals and nine assists over the campaign, McGinn was effective in the final third and his style of play ensures that he is always in the thick of the action. That much is evidenced by the fact that he not only picked up 11 yellow cards during the season, but was the second-most fouled player in the division (111 times).

Central midfield: Mason Mount (Derby) - 6.96

While it wasn't always the easiest of seasons for Mount, who scored just once in 21 appearances for Derby between the end of September and end of March, his effect on the side was clear to see. The 20-year-old ended the regular season with four assists and eight goals and added another to the latter tally as Lampard's side completed a remarkable comeback at Leeds to book their place in the final.

His impact on results was huge over the campaign, with the Rams winning just three of the 11 matches that Mount missed and losing four - including both meetings with Villa ending in an aggregate scoreline of 7-0 to Smith's side. Mount's presence at Wembley will surely even the scales to a degree, with Derby scoring over double the number of goals per game with the 20-year-old (1.71) than without him (0.82).

Attacking midfield: Harry Wilson (Derby) - 7.03

Derby's top scorer in the league by a distance, netting 15 times in the regular season and once more from the spot in the semi-final win at Leeds, Wilson is the side's biggest match-winner. His goals and assists combined helped Derby to 13 additional points over the season and his ability to conjure something from nothing will make the Wales international a huge threat.

No player scored more goals from outside the box than the Liverpool loanee (7) during the campaign, and his ability to play anywhere in the attacking third was a real asset to Lampard.

Attacking midfield: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) - 7.46

Having earned the man-of-the-match award in last season's play-off final only to end up heartbroken, Villa's new captain and idol of every young fan of the club will be hoping to go one better. There's little doubt that the spotlight and in turn pressure will be on him to fire the club back into the top flight, and as such Grealish can expect the same treatment he received from Fulham last year and throughout the entirety of the 2018/19 campaign.

The 23-year-old has been fouled 47 times more than any other Championship player despite missing 15 matches through injury, but since returning from said setback he has been superb. Grealish made his comeback against Derby with a stunning goal in a 4-0 win that set Villa on a 10-match winning streak that made all of this possible and has 12 goals and assists combined (six apiece) in his last 18 appearances. His impact on results is unrivalled as a result, with the team earning just three of their 20 wins over the regular season in his absence.

Striker: Tammy Abraham (Aston Villa) - 7.32

While the likes of Jack Marriott and Martyn Waghorn have enjoyed decent spells over the season, in truth there is no contest for the spot up front. With 25 goals over the season and another from the penalty spot in the semi-finals, Abraham has scored more goals than Derby's three strikers combined (20).

That's despite missing the first month of the season having only arrived on loan from Chelsea on deadline day in the summer - the third Blues youngster in this XI - averaging more shots on target per game (1.6) than any other Championship player.

All the ways to watch the play-off finals...

All three play-off finals will be live on Sky Sports Football.

A Villa vs Derby

May 27, 2019, 2:00pm

Live on

Sky Sports subscribers can also stream games via the Sky Sports app or the Sky Go app.

Non-subscribers can watch through NOW TV. A Sky Sports day pass is available for £8.99, a week pass for £14.99 or a month pass for £33.99. NOW TV can be streamed through a computer or apps.

If you can't watch live then you can also follow the action with our live blogs on and the Sky Sports app, with in-game clips and highlights throughout the match.

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Leeds set to decide on Bielsa’s future

Last Updated: 25/05/19 8:50am

Leeds have an option to extend Marcelo Bielsa's contract by a further year

Leeds have an option to extend Marcelo Bielsa's contract by a further year

Leeds will make a decision on Marcelo Bielsa's future "in the next few days" with their option to extend his contract expiring next week, says owner Andrea Radrizzani.

Despite registering their highest Championship points total since dropping out of the Premier League, Leeds missed out on promotion after last week's play-off semi-final defeat to Derby.

Bielsa would not be drawn on his plans for next season after the second-leg defeat, but former Leeds striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink told Sky Sports News he expected the former Chile boss to leave Elland Road this summer.

Leeds fans are desperate for the Argentine to stay on and spearhead their efforts to return to the Premier League and Radrizzani says Bielsa's future will be clarified imminently.

"I can say we have a chance to keep him," Radrizzani told talkSPORT.

5:33 Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final second leg between Leeds and Derby

Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final second leg between Leeds and Derby

"We'll see. The next few days will be decisive and we will make an announcement.

"We'll see in the next few days. We have an option until the end of the month.

"We are talking to him and we have few things to clarify but after that we will make our decision public soon."

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Cole deserves to end on a high

Ashley Cole looks set to start in the Championship play-off final

Ashley Cole looks set to start in the Championship play-off final

Ashley Cole's long career could come to an end at Wembley in the Championship play-off final. The much-maligned former England full-back deserves to go out in style, writes Adam Bate.

There was a moment during stoppage time of Derby's dramatic win over Leeds when Jack Clarke forced his way inside the Derby penalty area and Elland Road held its collective breath in the belief that this most enthralling of play-off semi-finals might just have one final twist.

Clarke had one yard on his marker but his marker had 20 years on him. Just when the youngster appeared to have found enough space to produce a cross, in came an outstretched leg from the Derby full-back to deny him.

Ashley Cole doing what Ashley Cole does.

Scott Malone's suspension presents a problem for Frank Lampard but an opportunity for his old Chelsea and England team-mate. At the age of 38, Cole is set for an unlikely swansong at Wembley in football's richest game.

He has history at the ground, of course. This will be his 35th appearance there for club and country, more than all his team-mates combined. Four of his seven FA Cup wins, an individual record, came at this very stadium.

But it is not a venue that has always celebrated his talents. Cole's England debut came in Albania where he was cut by a lipstick case thrown from the crowd, but what will have hurt more are the boos endured in front of his own fans.

0:29 Derby's Curtis Davies tells The Debate that media coverage of Cole was unfair

Derby's Curtis Davies tells The Debate that media coverage of Cole was unfair

That reached its nadir in a 5-1 win over Kazakhstan in 2008 after a rare Cole error. Rio Ferdinand hoped that the England fans would be ashamed of their actions when they returned home but few thought it likely.

Sympathy was in short supply. One feature in The Spectator that week responded not with empathy but with ridicule, describing Cole as a "magnificently horrid fellow" and defending the fans who abused him.

He was not blameless given the indiscretions over the years, although this was long before the air-rifle incident of 2011. Delicately put, Cole polarised opinion, although the man himself might wonder just how many were at his end of the spectrum. "Everyone wanted me to fail," he claimed.

A Villa vs Derby

May 27, 2019, 2:00pm

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Looking back, it seems such a shame that Cole's career was played out against this backdrop. He was only the seventh man to win 100 England caps, yet there was little appetite for the sort of farewell awarded others.

Instead, his international career came to an end at half time in a friendly win over Denmark in 2014. Roy Hodgson later called to tell him that he would not be going to that summer's World Cup and he retired on the spot.

For four years, it seemed that would be the end of Cole in English football and while his own demeanour has softened - his media appearances this season have included a stint on Monday Night Football - the scars remain.

6:17 Cole selected a best XI of his former team-mates on Monday Night Football

Cole selected a best XI of his former team-mates on Monday Night Football

As recently as December, he referred to the "constant lies" told about him throughout his career. He was just 25 when that 'Cashley' nickname stuck and in some ways it has proven to be an insurmountable hurdle.

There seems to be a greater recognition now of the racial undercurrent that can dictate perceptions of wealthy young footballers in this country, but it would be understandable if that comes as little comfort to Cole.

In a sense, he had to endure the treatment meted out to Raheem Sterling without witnessing the sort of turnaround that has seen the Manchester City player recognised by players and journalists alike this season.

A similar reappraisal is long overdue for someone whom Gary Neville believes was the world-class player of the so-called golden generation. That is to say that he was by far the most likely to make any world XI.

As well as being perhaps England's greatest ever left-back and the holder of that remarkable FA Cup record, Cole was a key figure in Arsenal's greatest ever team and Chelsea's only Champions League-winning side too.

A potent attacking threat in his younger days, he later evolved into an accomplished defensive player too, capable of stunning clearances and fulfilling dogged marking duties. He was the complete modern full-back.

Cristiano Ronaldo has called Cole his toughest ever opponent

Cristiano Ronaldo has called Cole his toughest ever opponent

Champions League-winning coaches Carlo Ancelotti, Jose Mourinho and Fabio Capello all rated him as one of the best around, while Cristiano Ronaldo regards him to be the toughest opponent of his long career.

"He does not give you a second to breathe," Ronaldo once said. "He was such a tenacious player when he was at his peak, quick, tough in the tackle. You knew it would never be an easy game."

All of which makes this reappearance such an unexpected treat and if there is a sense that the public are enjoying it, what is most pleasing is that Cole appears to be revelling in his role of elder statesman too.

Cole returned to English football in January on a short-term deal at Derby

Cole returned to English football in January on a short-term deal at Derby

That was not always apparent when at the eye of the storm, but it is different now that he is a bit-part player at a second-tier club. "You are a joy to be around," he said of his team-mates after that win over Leeds.

"It's not really about me any more," he explained in a recent interview with the Telegraph. He spoke of coaching and passing on his knowledge to the next generation. It is encouraging that whatever happens at Wembley, Cole will not be lost to the English game as once had seemed inevitable.

Cole in action for Derby against Che Adams of Birmingham City

Cole in action for Derby against Che Adams of Birmingham City

Before all that, there is a job to do and he will want to do it well. In March, he was hauled off at half time against Aston Villa with his team already four goals down. Some Derby fans may well be a little anxious.

The concern is that Villa have pace out wide and that Cole will be targeted, but broadly speaking he has not been a weak link when he has featured. In fact, he was among the better players when he has started and, in particular, dealt well with the threat of Che Adams against Birmingham.

Cole will no doubt back himself to come up with the answers once more. "The bigger the game, the better he plays," Lampard once said of him. That theory will be put to the test one more time at Wembley on Monday.

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