Aston Villa take on Manchester City this evening in what is simply a match that Steven Gerrard can’t afford to lose, especially with his side’s woeful start to the campaign.
City have shown some chinks in their armour recently, conceding three goals against Newcastle United and two against Crystal Palace, however, their sheer grit and quality meant they didn’t lose either match.
Aston Villa’s last match against Arsenal in midweek saw the side come close to gaining a positive result, with only a Gabriel Martinelli strike 13 minutes from time denying a confidence-boosting result at the Emirates.
With Gerrard looking to shuffle his pack for the visit of Man City, here is how we at Football Fancast expect the Englishman to set up his team.
Emiliano Martinez will unsurprisingly keep his place in goal, while we predict that Gerrard could make a change at the heart of defence – with “outstanding” centre-back Ezri Konsa being dropped for new signing Jan Bednarek in a bid to improve the backline. Tyrone Mings will partner him, with Matty Cash and Lucas Digne operating on the right and left respectively.
The midfield also sees one change, with Jacob Ramsey – who has been poor so far this season, averaging a WhoScored rating of 6.48 – being dropped for Douglas Luiz, who has scored in his last two matches. He will be joined by John McGinn and Boubacar Kamara.
Philippe Coutinho – dubbed a “phenomenon” by Thiago – will take Emiliano Buendia’s place on the left wing in the third and final change from the starting XI at Arsenal – with Leon Bailey keeping his place on the right, aiming to provide excellent service to Ollie Watkins who will be deployed through the middle.
Gerrards men are the underdogs in the tie and although a win seems a bit too much to ask for considering City’s form this season, if the front three perform to the best of their ability, they could maybe grab a goal or two and then it could well be anyone’s game.