Aston Villa one game away from Premier League return


"If any team deserved to win the game tonight I think it was us".

Aston Villa held Middlesbrough to a goalless draw at Villa Park to go through 1-0 on aggregate.

On a night when Villa Park honoured Jlloyd Samuel, the former Villa defender, the stadium rocked and a pressure valve was released as Steve Bruce's side moved one step closer to a Premier League return. The neutrals' favourites are looking strong.Yet there's no point in Villa and Middlesbrough feeling glum when there's still so much to play for before this season's done and dusted.

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At the heart of that defence was former Chelsea and England centre back John Terry who joined the club a year ago on a free transfer and whose appointment as captain appears to have had a significant impact.

Boss Tony Pulis, who replaced Garry Monk in December, was upset Villa goalkeeper Sam Johnstone was not sent off by referee Mike Dean after he handled outside the area with three minutes left.

'We've given ourselves an advantage, we're playing against a very experienced team and a very experienced manager (Tony Pulis).

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Wenger was given gifts to mark the day and a guard of honour was once again formed for the Arsenal manager before kick off. Two planes flew over the stadium, carrying messages reading; "Merci Arsene, we will miss you too" and "One Arsene Wenger ".

The evening had started in sombre mood and with a minute's applause as a mark of respect to Jlloyd Samuel, the former Villa and Bolton Wanderers player who was killed in a auto crash earlier in the day.

"It's hard for me to say that but that's being brutally honest".

"It irks me a little bit but the teams who finished third and fourth are going to Wembley and that's justification of what they've done over the season".

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Fulham advanced after beating Derby 2-0 in their second leg on Monday, sealing a 2-1 win on aggregate. "There's still 90 minutes to play and anything can happen", he said.