Big night at Villa Park as quadruple-chasing Liverpool come to town having lost ground to City over the weekend. As always, I’d think we might take a lesson from Conte and set up to frustrate and counter. Jurgen wasn’t very happy about it, but it was effective, and I’m not sure why he thinks teams should open up for him.
Gerrard has apparently penciled in a 3-5-2, with Mings, Konsa, and Chambers, and Phil is on the bench. Probably about the last thing I expected. Will Buendia shine and give the brass something to think about? I know I’d like to see it.
You wouldn’t normally think Norwich at home is a big game, but with Deano returning to Villa Park for the first time in charge of another club, it is a big day. Never mind that Villa could help seal the Canaries’ relegation and put to rest any such concerns of their own.
Which is also an odd thing to be writing. Villa should be nowhere close to relegation worries, and maybe they’re not, overall. Yet…
If anyone were to ask what the most significant fixture of this season was, pretty sure a number of us would point to Villa’s collapse in the reverse fixture in October. So, in some ways, sitting a place and 10 points behind Wolves, who blew a 2-0 lead themselves against Leeds to lose 3-2 in their last outing, this match might be some kind of a measuring stick. Might mean nothing.
But with seven left to play and five clubs level or within three points of Villa, the goal of a top-half finish ought to lend some importance to the outcome.
Both Watkins and Ings will play, but with Coutinho in the front line, while Emi Buendia goes to the bench. Whether the two strikers are actually settling into the 10 slots or this portends a more flat 4-3-3, we’ll soon find out.