Aston Villa vs. Manchester City: Grealish Returns—Sort Of

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.

Carabao Cup: Will Chelsea–Villa Get Ugly?

Short answer, it might. Given the differences in squad depth and fitness, Villa will inevitably field a weaker side than the one that lost to Chelsea 0-3 just over a week ago. Smith has said all the right things about the quality available to both sides, and how they both want to win and progress. But it’s clear that Villa will have one hand tied behind their back.