We know City will boss possession. We know Villa will have to be disciplined on and off the ball. We know that unless City have a poor game, Villa will have to be at their best, whatever that is at this moment, to give a good account. Even if City are poor, Villa probably have to be at their best to get a result.
In situations like this, it has to be a big plus that Gerrard’s been at the same level and knows what it takes. That should give the squad confidence in the game plan and they’ll know the expectations will be high. Gerrard will rate the performance based on effort, decisions, and executing the plan more so than the result.
Steven Gerrard takes charge of his first away match with Villa, looking to follow up on last week’s 2-0 victory over visiting Brighton to open his tenure. A win today would make Gerrard the second Villa manger to win his first two games, John Gregory being the first.
We’ll soon see what Smith’s sacking and the Gerrard effect will have on the players. There’s not been a lot of time to take new things on board or evaluate players, so one assumes this will be a work in progress.
We’ve all gone out and heard about a narrow 4-3-3. Forcing attacking play wide. Wide forwards tucked in and driving the channels, fullbacks overlapping for width. Wide midfielders tasked with pressing fullbacks, and a back line that supports attacking play. A ‘solid’ defense. Now, apart from the nominal distribution of players, I’m not seeing a huge difference in philosophy from the way Smith wanted Villa play. Perhaps the biggest difference will be that Gerrard can put a rocket up them and has no loyalties.