The race for the final Premier League spot got underway today with the first leg of the semi-final ties. Villa Park plays host to Aston Villa against West Brom and it was the away side who struck first thanks to a Dwight Gayle goal.
The game's first goal came after a Glenn Whelan error in the middle of the field. The Irishman has enjoyed a promising season in the Championship but gifted Gayle the opening goal after a poor touch in his own half.
⚽️ Lethal from Dwight Gayle...
Whelan loses the ball in midfield and he is punished
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) May 11, 2019
Whelan's quest to return to the Premier League meant he was recently singled out for praise by Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy.
Whether he can continue that in the Premier League, would they keep him and he be first choice? He's mixed and matched this season, sometimes with Conor.
But he's a really proper player, a proper pro, he was great about the place. Whether he can keep on doing that, his body will tell him.
In the other semi-final, Leeds United take on Derby County with the first leg at the iPro Stadium.