Aston Villa vs Derby combined XI: Sky Bet Championship play-off finalists compared
Watch the Sky Bet Championship play-off final between Aston Villa and Derby live on Sky Sports Football from 2pm on Monday; kick-off is at 3pm
By Martin Laurence, WhoScored.com
Last Updated: 27/05/19 8:43am
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 WhoScored.com to run the numbers.
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.
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.
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