Tomorrow, Aston Villa face Manchester City at Villa Park in the Premier League.
Aston Villa come into this game off the back of two consecutive wins. A dream start for new manager Steven Gerrard. He will be keen to keep his 100% Premier League managerial winning record going with a win here.
As for Man City, they come into it off the back of five consecutive wins in all competitions.
Manchester City, despite being one of the best sides in the world, are without some key players for tomorrow’s game. Kevin De Bruyne is out, as well as Aymeric Laporte and Ferran Torres. Jack Grealish and Phil Foden are set to be tested to see if they are fit to play.
As for Villa, Bertrand Traore, Trezeguet and Danny Ings are all out.
The big talking point coming into this one is Jack Grealish. Grealish left Villa in the summer for £100m as club captain. The club revolved around him. His face was on the stadium. The style of play was based around him. Everything went through him. A “boyhood fan’s” dream, right? Obviously not.
This will be the first time that Grealish returns to Villa Park, and although he may not be playing, he will probably still be in the stands receiving a bit of good reception, and a lot of bad reception.
Steven Gerrard said, “I think Jack [Grealish] deserves a warm welcome, this is his club and it will be when his career is over. This club have benefitted a lot from him and we wish him well, but not tomorrow night.”
Many fans have disagreed with Gerrard’s statement and have said they will be booing and jeering him. Others have said they will treat Grealish as any other player, and others have agreed with Gerrard and said they will give him a warm welcome.
Jack Grealish has said, “I knew some people would be unhappy when I left, and I can see why some were like that, but I gave my all for the club every single year I was there. If I score on Wednesday, I’m not going to be celebrating. At the end of the day I’m Jack Grealish from Solihull who loves the Villa. That will never change – I’ve had a season ticket since I was four and been a fan my whole life. I was a bit surprised by some of the backlash when I left. I’d never want a toxic relationship with anyone there. I owe everything to them and I wouldn’t be at City without Villa. It’s a club that is so close to my heart and I definitely hope to go back there. That’s always been in my mind. Ashley Young has done it and I want to do the same.”
Again, some people have disagreed with him, some people aren’t bothered and some people are in agreement with him.
As for the game, Gerrard has said that “We need this game, for the challenge and the test to see where we’re up to. I want my players to face it, front it and be bold, make it a really difficult ninety minutes for the opponents.”
Off the back of two wins, Villa will be confident. However, this is Man City, the current Premier League champions. The fans will be up for it and will be behind the boys as they will want to prove a point to Jack Grealish as to what he’s missing out on.
The likelihood is that there won’t be many changes from the team that beat Crystal Palace 2-1 on Saturday at Selhurst Park, and rightly so. Some players were incredible and have deserved a shirt for this game. Players like Nakamba, McGinn, Ashley Young, were simply unplayable. Tyrone Mings and Matt Targett after poor starts to the season look to have found their feet under Gerrard.
The game will be interesting, Villa are in form, but City’s squad, despite having a few injuries, is on another level. Villa haven’t beat City since 2013, and the set of players at Gerrard’s disposal is arguably the best the club have had since then and beyond, so the winning streak against City could be broke…
BY HARRY BATTERS