Aston Villa: Gerrard must unleash Coutinho


Aston Villa are back in action for the final time this season as they travel to Manchester City in what could be a dramatic end to the 2021/22 Premier League campaign.

Villa’s previous outing on Thursday night saw them draw 1-1 against relegation-battling Burnley.

Having given away the penalty which put the visitors ahead, Emi Buendia then made up for his error by scoring the equaliser for Steven Gerrard’s side in their final game at Villa Park this season.

Now that the Villans have a rather tough challenge ahead of them this weekend to try and get a result against a City team aiming to secure their fourth league title in five years, the Midlands club will need to be at their best to have any chance of getting all three points.

On the chalkboard

One figure in Gerrard’s squad who didn’t start against Burnley but we feel should be in the team to take on Pep Guardiola’s side is Philippe Coutinho.

Since arriving in the Midlands from Barcelona in January, initially on loan before recently making the transfer permanent, the Brazilian has been a big attacking threat for the Villans.

With 18 Premier League appearances under his belt for Villa, the 29-year-old has scored four goals and provided three assists.

To further highlight how much of an attacking nuisance the former Liverpool star has been for opponents, he has the highest average for shots per league game (2.3) of anyone in Villa’s squad.

Should Coutinho start against City?

Yes

Yes

No

No

In addition, only Ollie Watkins (31) and Danny Ings (16) have racked up more shots on target for Gerrard’s team in the Premier League than the Brazil international.

Taking this into account, it’s safe to say that Coutinho – who has been dubbed “world-class” by his manager – has the ability to cause City and their defence a lot of problems on Sunday.

Having scored five goals in seven previous appearances against the Manchester club, the 29-year-old also has the chance to cause them nightmares once again and potentially stop them from lifting the Premier League title.

In terms of who could drop out of the team to make way for Coutinho this afternoon, Carney Chukwuemeka failed to make an impact against Burnley the other night, so he seems likely to be the one to make way for the much more experienced and deadly Brazilian.

In other news – “Villa would…”: Gregg Evans drops huge transfer claim, supporters will be buzzing



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