With just one month in the calendar year remaining, Manchester City and Aston Villa have been trending in nearly opposite directions.
The Etihad club have won seven of their last ten matches across all competitions, and were recently confirmed as Group A winners in the UEFA Champions League after an impressive 2-1 win against Paris Saint-Germain.
Aston Villa on the other hand, have suffered throughout their first 13 games of the ongoing Premier League season, and losing six of their last ten games has left the Midlands club in the bottom half of the table.
Yet, in recent weeks the light inside of the Birmingham outfit has begun to flicker following the sacking of Dean Smith, and the subsequent hiring of the former Rangers boss Steven Gerrard.
"He's a manager for the Premier League. I don't believe there's a manager in the Premier League who isn't good," exclaimed Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola in his press conference ahead of his first ever managerial tussle with the former Liverpool midfielder.
Guardiola continued on the subject of Steven Gerrard, "They can train good players, there are incredible managers in all aspects."
On the back of Gerrard's arrival at Villa Park, the Birmingham club have won two straight matches - against Crystal Palace and Brighton respectively.
Pep Guardiola believes those results prove that Manchester City's clash with Steven Gerrard's men will be tougher than some may think.
"I can imagine with a new manager, everybody steps forward to convince the manager. They have two good results against tough teams, we are traveling there (Villa Park). It will be the toughest game as possible," Guardiola said.
The trip to Villa Park kicks off a tough stretch of games for Manchester City as winter gets underway. After Wednesday's match, the reigning Premier League champions face a gruelling December with eight games in four weeks.
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