Football Features

Every player rated as El Ghazi helps Villa overcome Derby in Championship play-off final

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:04, 27 May 2019

Aston Villa are back in the Premier League thanks to a 2-1 win over Derby County at Wembley in the Championship play-off final.

Anwar El Ghazi opened the scoring just before half-time and Villa doubled their lead after an hour with John McGinn capitalising on a Kelle Roos mistake.

Derby pulled a goal back officially through substitute Martyn Waghorn, who appeared to get the slightest of touches on Jack Marriott’s shot.

But it would only prove to be a consolation, with Villa holding on for the priceless win.

So, how did the players rate?

Aston Villa

Jed Steer – 7 – Had almost nothing to do in the first half but stepped up to the occasion when his side were under pressure late on.

Ahmed Elmohamady – 7 – Looked to get forward a lot in the first half, testing the ageing legs of Ashley Cole. Put in an excellent cross for El Ghazi’s opening goal. And when Villa needed him to defend, he did his job.

Axel Tuanzebe – 7 – Strong defensively, though had little to do for most of the game. Did have the chance to give Aston Villa an early lead from a corner, but the ball got stuck under his feet before he could shoot. A good performance.

Tyrone Mings – 8 – The Bournemouth loanee was a rock at the back for Villa, helping to keep Derby’s front line very frustrated. Showed composure on the ball, and his performance only dropped with an injury which eventually caused him to come off.

Neil Taylor – 6 – Allowed Bogle to attack him quite a bit in both games, but was let off by poor decision-making from the Derby man.

John McGinn – 8 – Helped dominate the midfield game for Villa with good technical play. At the heart of Villa’s attacks from deep and was brave in the challenge on Roos to get the all-important second goal.

Conor Hourihane – 7 – Was the perfect defensive shield on Mount, not allowing the youngster any time to influence the game in the first half. Another really good game.

Jack Grealish – 7 – Tested Derby’s defence both from open play and with his deliveries from corners. A tough man to mark.

Albert Adomah – 6 – The quieter of the two Villa wingers, Adomah had a decent game.

Tammy Abraham – 5 – Really struggled to get into the game, through a combination of good man-marking and lack of service – showing his frustration about the latter. Had his first chance after half an hour, finally given space, but his shot was over.

Anwar El Ghazi – 9 – Simply wonderful down Villa’s left, making the most of poor defending from Bogle. Carved through Derby’s defence with penetrating runs and opened the scoring with a good diving header/shoulder effort just before half-time. Continued to push after half-time and fully deserved to be on the winning side.


Andre Green (for Adomah 73) – 5 – Did not have too much impact after coming on, with Villa sitting back.

Kortney Hause (for Ming 86) – N/A – A late sub.

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Derby County

Kelle Roos – 3 – Had a fairly quiet first half, and couldn’t do much about El Ghazi’s goal. But the second half was one to forget. First, he was lucky not to be caught out early in the second half, dwelling on the ball. But he was at fault for Villa’s second, fumbling a looping ball onto McGinn’s head.

Jayden Bogle – 5 – Got forward really well for Derby, causing problems for the Villa defence. But he was poor defensively, leaving gaps open at the back and allowing El Ghazi to get in front of him for the opening goal. Had Derby’s best chance of the second half, driving a shot into the side netting but should have attempted a pass with team-mates in better positions.

Richard Keogh – 7 – The better of the two Derby centre-backs, but was powerless to stop the two costly mistakes.

Fikayo Tomori – 6 – Endured a shaky start but came into the game as the first half went on. Marked Abraham closely, successfully keeping his fellow Chelsea loanee out of the game for large parts.

Ashley Cole – 5 – Was good experience to have alongside Tomori, but as the game went on, the 38-year-old struggled.

Tom Huddlestone – 6 – Derby’s best midfielder in the first half, doing well defensively and trying to push his side forward. Couldn’t continue this after half-time and was taken off with Derby needing goals.

Bradley Johnson – 5 – Passed well, but didn’t really move the ball on enough to trouble Villa.

Harry Wilson – 4 – Did not have the impact he would have hoped on the big stage, with nothing seeming to go his way.

Mason Mount – 6 – Did not start too well, but slowly grew into the game. When Derby needed a goal, it was Mount who was trying to create from a central position.

Tom Lawrence – 4 – Really didn’t do enough to trouble the Villa defence before being taken off as Derby looked for something different.

Mason Bennett – 3 – Barely had a touch of the ball and was missing the presence Derby needed up against good centre-backs.


Jack Marriott (for Huddlestone 63) – 6 – Caused real problems for the Villa defence, firing just wide with a swerving volley from inside the area. Then helped get a goal back with a calm finish despite all the pressure on him – though Waghorn got the glory.

Martyn Waghorn (for Bennett 69) – 6 – Was credited with Derby’s goal – though rather fortunate – but did help give his side a chance.

Florian Jozefzoon (for Lawrence 73) – 6 – His arrival brought something new to the Derby team and saw them get a goal back. Continued to push for the equaliser but couldn’t get it.