Forget Steven Gerrard, Phillipe Coutinho, and Liverpool. What result is best for Aston Villa in Matchweek 38?
The title race is coming right down to the wire after Manchester City’s slip-up at West Ham this past weekend. City and Liverpool are in a two-horse race for the illustrious Premier League title, and with the former having a one-point advantage, the latter will have to pray that Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa take points off Guardiola’s giants. The point spread in this match will be hefty, which could perhaps be in claret and blue’s favour.
The Etihad will host this fixture of great importance, and while everyone wants to push out the headline of Gerrard and Coutinho winning the league for Liverpool, we must consider the firepower of City and Villa’s best interests.
If you all can recall, this past summer, City splashed the cash on Villa’s hometown hero, Jack Grealish, for a club-record transfer fee. In his time at Villa, Grealish helped get them promoted to the Premier League and adjust to life in England’s top-flight division before taking the next big step in his career.
After his departure, Villa looked to attackers Danny Ings, Emiliano Buendia, and Leon Bailey as replacements; however, unfortunately, none of them has proven to be up to the standards of the 25-year-old Englishmen. This has been wildly apparent, as Villa is currently sat in fourteenth this season after an eleventh place finish last season.
Strangely enough, Grealish can help Villa one final time as if he can win the Premier League with Manchester City, Steven Gerrard and his side will reportedly receive a fifteen million pound bonus.
This Villa team is clearly not strong enough to set England’s top-flight alight at the moment, so I’m sure that extra fifteen million could go a long way.
It could also be rewarding to see one of the most accomplished young players in Villa’s history lift a Premier League trophy, as even though his exit was painful, he still did so much for this club.
The ultimate truth here is that Villa doesn’t exactly have anything riding on this game from a Premier League standings perspective; however, their formidable opponents do.
Manchester City Team News
After their Champions League Semi-Final exit, Manchester City can exert all their energy and firepower towards this final match week clash.
They will likely have Kyle Walker and John Stones available for this match returning from injury, and if fit, they would take the spots of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fernandinho, who have been filling in at the back as of late.
In midfield, I’m expecting the dependable trio of Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, and Bernardo Silva to provide the link from defence to an attack of Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, and Phil Foden.
All six of these players have been in scintillating form as of late, and they will be a lot to handle for Villa.
Aston Villa Team News
On the other hand, Aston Villa will be without Ezri Konsa and Leon Bailey again, with Callum Chambers and Carney Chukwuemeka possibly filling in those positions.
Staples in this side, Emiliano Martinez, Matty Cash, Tyrone Mings, Lucas Digne, John McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Jacob Ramsey, and Ollie Watkins, will all suit up one final time and look to end this Premier League season on a positive note. At the same time, Emiliano Buendia can also be expected to get the nod.
The Argentinian has been in decent form in recent weeks, with goals against Burnley on two separate occasions. He could pose some problems for City’s defence.
I’m sorry, Villa fans, but there are no scenarios where I can see Guardiola’s squad dropping points here. Since the gap between them and Liverpool at the top is only one point, City needs to win this game convincingly. I believe they will do precisely that and display the dominance that they have shown all year.
With Villa not having much to play for here, besides, at best, a tenth place finish, Manchester City should win this match without strain so much that Man City winning the Premier League odds to bet on winning this game isn’t worth a wager to gamble.
Villa’s manager and ex-Liverpool player, Gerrard, will want to help Liverpool win a Premier League title; however, I’m not sure the impact of a manager is ever enough against City.
Guardiola is en route to winning his fourth Premier League title in five years with this side, and not even the mighty Villa will stand in his way.
Manchester City 3-1 Aston Villa