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

As one of Aston Villa’s resident fans on CBS Sports, I felt it was my duty to watch Steven Gerrard’s men ahead of their final two Premier League games of the season. After all, much is being made of the fact that the Villans could not only help their manager’s former club Liverpool in their title fight, but also make matters worse for the Reds’ bitter rivals the Everton, in the fight for relegation.

Villa host Burnley on Thursday in their final home game of the campaign before traveling to Manchester City on Sunday to wrap up the 2021-22 campaign and there’s no denying that positive results in one or both games could determine how it plays out. this period. However, is this likely to happen?

As much as the idea of ​​Gerrard playing a role in a Liverpool Premier League title, despite the fact that he is now a manager, would fill a narrative gap left over from his playing days, the idea that he would be a factor in Motivation for the Villa players is laughable. It is not even particularly important to Gerrard himself. The Villa manager is already on his former club’s radar as a possible future managerial appointment and need not seek additional favors given his legendary status at Anfield.

There is also enough for Villa to play on their own merits. Six points, at present, can still lift the Birmingham side into the top half of the top-flight table, which would be a positive end to a mixed season that promised much but ultimately delivered little, certainly in terms of ambitions. initials of European classification. Then there’s the idea of ​​depriving former talisman Jack Grealish of immediate Premier League title success in Manchester, though as much as it may bring a smile to more than a few faces at Villa Park, that won’t be a serious motivating factor for these two. final accessories. Crucial figures like Gerrard and new acquisitions Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne did not arrive until Villa’s former talisman was already plying his trade in Manchester.

So the stories are nice, but the more mundane is what will matter. Villa have gone two games without a win but are still within reach of a positive finishing position, which would indicate progress made despite the transition between Dean Smith and Gerrard midway through the campaign. There is little doubt that the Villans can handle the team sitting in the bottom half of the table and there has been evidence against Manchester United and Liverpool that the team can go toe to toe with some of the biggest weapons for a measure to deliver. Consistent performances with a team moving in the right direction, after securing Coutinho on a permanent deal with a strong end to the season leaving the team optimistic ahead of a possible quest for European spots next year is likely what will drive the team if they want to achieve two good results.

However, getting those results seems to be slightly above Villa’s position at the moment, so expecting six points from these two games is probably quite fanciful. Four points is perhaps more realistic and would still represent an impressive performance and that would be enough to draw with Leicester City and Brighton and Hove Albion depending on their results in very difficult games.

Villa have a lot to play for against Burnley and City, making them dangerous at this stage of the season with so much on the line. A recent 3-1 win over Burnley means the Clarets will know how to approach Gerrard’s men better than at home, while Pep Guardiola’s men can score for fun against almost any player in the league, even if their defense has some holes in present.

With all due respect to Everton, the Toffees’ plight simply won’t bother Gerrard or Villa in the least and even a win over Burnley doesn’t automatically seal the survival of Frank Lampard’s men, although an away win at Villa Park would really set up an exciting final. Relegation battle day. And winning against City, while certainly possible, depends as much on City being prepared to perform to the best of their ability as on anything Gerrard can inspire his charges to do.

As much as dreaming up scenarios that would see Gerrard do Jurgen Klopp’s men a huge favor or push Everton deeper into the mire of the drop zone, the reality is that the Villans have their own pride and progress to play for this week. This term has been far from perfect in Birmingham, but these final two games offer the opportunity to close out the summer on a high note after making progress in difficult circumstances.

As it happens, doing so could also have an indirect impact on what happens at both ends of the table. Obviously though, with my Villa cap on, some of those narratives surrounding the final two encounters sound appealing.

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