The Premier League has, and always will be, the main focal point of football in England. With elite teams that have world class players, it’s hard for the Premier League not to be. Although, the lower leagues in England don’t get the same about of love, they do get some, but not enough. In order to progress up the league ladder to the higher division, the team has to finish in positions one or two, which achieve automatic promotion. However, if the team finishes in positions three through six, they go into a playoff and whoever becomes victorious in the final, is the third team promoted. On Saturday, May 26, it was Tom Cairney’s Fulham facing off against Jack Grealish’s Aston Villa at Wembley Stadium.
Both Fulham and Aston Villa have had previous spells in the Premier League, with Fulham being a regular from 2001 to 2014. Aston Villa were also in the league from the start of the new Premier League in 1992, to 2016 when they were finally relegated. Fulham played a more possession-based style, using passes and weighted through balls to break down their opponents, while Villa played a more chaotic, counter-attack style to win games. Both teams went into the final on a high, and the game started to well with both teams trading chances until the 23rd minute. Ryan Sessegnon, a young left-midfielder passed a wonderfully weighted through ball between two Villa defenders to Tom Cairney, who finessed the ball into the bottom left hand corner to give Fulham the lead, which they would never give up.
As the game wore on, so did the Villa fan’s stress levels. Chance after kept coming, but the strong backline of Fulham stood firm, not allowing Villa to grab a goal and level the game. Early in the second half, Villa forward Jack Grealish made a bad tackle on Tom Cairney, coming from behind, but only earning a yellow card for the tackle. This completely angered the Fulham fans and many users on Twitter, all stating that Grealish deserved a red card. Later, in the 70th minute, Denis Odoi received a second yellow card in the game, getting a full red and sending Fulham down to ten men for the remainder of the half. However, this ultimately led to nothing as Fulham stood strong and won the final, 1-0. Now, the Cottagers are moving on to the Premier League, where they hope to survive the season with the big dogs, while Villa are set for another season in the miserable EFL Championship.