Can Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa hand his old team the title and play spoiler against Man City?

As one of the regular Aston Villa fans at CBS Sports, I felt it was my duty to watch Steven Gerrard’s men ahead of their last two games of the Premier League season. After all, much is being said that the Villans were not only able to lend a helping hand to their manager’s former club Liverpool in their title battle, but also make the Reds’ bitter rivals Everton worse in the relegation battle.

Villa will host Burnley in their final home game of the campaign on Thursday before they travel to Manchester City on Sunday to close out the 2021-2022 season and there’s no denying that positive results in one or both encounters could determine how this term plays out. However, is this likely?

How much the thought of Gerrard playing a part in a Premier League title in Liverpool, despite now being a manager, would fill a narrative gap left over from his playing days, the idea that it would be a motivating factor for the players of Villa is laughable. It’s not even particularly important to Gerrard himself. Villa’s manager is already on his former club’s radar as a potential future manager and need not come into favor given his legendary status at Anfield.

There is also plenty for Villa to play for on his own. At this point, six points could still lift the Birmingham team into the top half of the rankings, which would be a positive end to a mixed season that promised much but ultimately delivered little – certainly in terms of initial European qualifying ambitions. Then there’s the idea of ​​depriving former talisman Jack Grealish of immediate Premier League title success in Manchester, although it might put a smile on more than a few faces around Villa Park, that won’t be a serious motivator to be in these two. come. final facility. Crucial figures like Gerrard and new signings Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne did not arrive until after Villa’s previous talisman was already practicing in Manchester.

So the stories are nice, but it’s the more mundane that matter. Villa are two games without a win but still within reach of a positive finishing position, suggesting progress has been made despite the transition between Dean Smith and Gerrard mid-campaign. There is little doubt that the Villans can handle the team occupying berths in the bottom half of the table and there is evidence against Manchester United and Liverpool that the team can take on some of the bigger guns for a size. Delivering performances consistent with a team moving in the right direction, locking Coutinho in a permanent deal with a strong finish to the season, leaving the team optimistic for a possible chase for the European places next year is likely. what the team if they want to achieve two strong results.

However, it seems that getting those results is a bit above Villa station at the moment, so expecting six points from these two matches is probably quite imaginative. Four points might be more realistic and would still represent an impressive return which would be enough to level with Leicester City and Brighton and Hove Albion depending on their results from very tough games.

Villa have plenty to play for against Burnley and City, making them dangerous to face at this stage of the season with so much at stake. A 3-1 win over Burnley recently means the Clarets can approach Gerrard’s men better than they have at home, while Pep Guardiola’s men can score for fun against just about anyone in the league, even if their defense has some gaps on Gift.

With all due respect to Everton, the Toffees’ plight simply won’t hinder Gerrard or Villa and even a win over Burnley won’t automatically seal the survival of Frank Lampard’s men, although an away win at Villa Park would really be a thrilling final. yield day relegation battle. And winning against City, while certainly possible, is as much about City’s willingness to perform to the best of their ability as it is about anything that could inspire Gerrard’s accusations.

As much as imagining scenarios where Gerrard would do Jürgen Klopp’s men a huge favor or pull Everton deeper into the mire of the drop zone, the reality is the Villans have their own pride and progress to play for this week. This period has been far from perfect in Birmingham, but these last two races provide an opportunity to end the summer with a bloom that has progressed in difficult conditions.

Coincidentally, this can also have an indirect impact on what happens on both sides of the table. Obviously, with my Villa cap on, some of those stories surrounding the last two encounters certainly sound appealing.

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