Promotion to the Premier League is worth around £200 million nowadays, so the stakes are extremely high when Aston Villa take on Derby at Wembley on Monday. Derby produced a magnificent second leg performance to surge past Leeds Utd and into the final, while Villa edged past West Brom in a tense clash. Both teams finished the season in strong form, but Aston Villa should have a psychological advantage heading into this game, as they destroyed Derby in both their meetings this season. They picked up a 3-0 win at Pride Park and then secured a 4-0 home victory. They have a great deal of talent going forwards and the likes of Jack Grealish, Tammy Abraham and Conor Hourihane could combine to see Villa win this game. They are 5/4 with Bet365 to pull it off.
The second Grand Slam of the year gets underway at Roland-Garros this week and many of the world’s leading players will be in action on Monday. Rafa Nadal is just 1/100 to beat Yannick Hanfmann, and he is 10/11 with Bet365 and various others to go on and win the tournament. He has 11 French Open titles to his name already and it is hard to imagine anyone stopping the king of clay from securing a 12th this year. The women’s game is a lot more exciting and unpredictable and we have seen upsets aplenty in every Grand Slam for the last couple of years. Expect big names to fall throughout this week. Former champion Jelena Ostapenko looks interesting at 13/5 with William Hill to beat Victoria Azarenka in the opening round.
London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea have made the 2,850-mile trip to Baku to face one another in the Europa League final on Wednesday night. Arsenal are without Armenian winger Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who felt he would not be safe due to political tension between his country and Azerbaijan. Yet the Gunners will still board a fearsome forward line, featuring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil. Both of these teams have dodgy defences, while Chelsea forward Eden Hazard will be the best player on the pitch. It could well be his last game for the Blues and he will be keen to shine. It finished 3-2 to Chelsea when these teams met at Stamford Bridge this season, and Arsenal then picked up a 2-0 win at The Emirates. Sportingbet has 3/4 on both teams to score and that looks tempting.
Hosts England get the World Cup underway when they take on South Africa in an eagerly anticipated clash on Thursday. Eoin Morgan’s men are 4/9 to win it and they deserve to be favourites, as they have been the number one ranked team in the world for more than a year and they boast a formidable batting line-up. They are now best priced at just 2/1 with Betway to win the tournament for the first time, while India are 3/1 and Australia are 4/1. The West Indies take on Pakistan on Friday, while New Zealand take on Sri Lanka and Afghanistan face Australia on Saturday, and South Africa are then back in action against Bangladesh on Sunday.
The biggest game of the season will feature two English clubs after Liverpool produced a stirring comeback to vanquish Barcelona in the semis and Tottenham battled back to overwhelm Ajax. Spurs have been boosted by the return from injury of talismanic forward Harry Kane, and Mauricio Pochettino’s side will be at full strength for this game. Liverpool will welcome Roberto Firmino back into the fold to play alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané in a terrifying attacking triumvirate. Anything can happen on the day, but Liverpool beat Spurs home and away in the Premier League this season and finished well ahead of them on points, so victory for Jurgen Klopp’s men in this game looks like an attractive bet at 19/20 with Unibet.