Bookies have their say on Steven Gerrard’s chances of success at Aston Villa

Hero or Villan? All the odds ahead of Steven Gerrard's Premier League return in the claret and blue of Aston Villa.

Steven Gerrard has just confirmed what Aston Villa fans have been banging on about for years: Aston Villa are a big club.

Bigger than Rangers in any case, with the former Liverpool midfielder opting to swap a title push in Glasgow with a relegation scrap in England's second city.

But what do the bookies think about the move? Will the Villa job be a stepping stone to the Anfield role everyone believes Gerrard craves?

Or is the 41-year-old ill equipped to manage in the Premier League after just over three years in what is effectively a two-club division.

Planet Sport takes a look at possible scenarios along with the odds from Planet Sport Bet on them happening.

Aston Villa win their first match under Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard Rangers unveiling May18

Gerrard has a 100% win ratio for first games in charge, having guided Rangers to a 2-0 Europa League win on his managerial debut.

North Macedonian minnows Shkupi were their opponents and it proved to be a nervy opener for the managerial rookie, with the win only sealed in injury time. Rangers' first test in the league under Gerrard's stewardship was a trip to Aberdeen which ended in a 1-1 draw.

His first Premier League match in the dugout will see Villa welcome Brighton to Villa Park and it represents a very winnable fixture.

The Seagulls are winless in six and despite only losing one of those games, they have failed to beat Norwich and Newcastle in that sequence.

An optimistic Brighton fan will say that they have also held both Arsenal and Liverpool but with a pumped up Villa Park behind him, the Gerrard era should start with a victory.

Aston Villa finish top half

Dean Smith was sacked following a run of five successive defeats in which 13 goals were shipped but despite that, Villa are only five points off the top five.

Villa may have reinvested the Jack Grealish money in Emi Buendia, Danny Ings and Leon Bailey but there was always going to be a period of readjustment.

The Villans were heavily reliant on Grealish, with his ability to set the tempo just as important as his individual brilliance.

Buendia has struggled to fill the void which is not a surprise considering his success at Norwich was predominantly from the right wing.

However, if anyone knows how to get a midfield firing it is Gerrard.

Aston Villa finish inside the top six

Anyone who knows a Villa fan will also recognise these words "how many times have you won the European Cup?"

Even when they were in the Championship, Villa fans never tired of mentioning their moment of glory - now almost 40 years ago.

The supporters won't be satisfied with a top-half finish, they believe they should be challenging for Europe.

Is it too early to happen this season, though?

Well, the top six is only seven points away so it is not out of the question.

However, there is a more realistic aim if Gerrard wants to cap his first season in style…

Aston Villa win the FA Cup

Steven Gerrard Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain England training 2014

Gerrard is reportedly hoping to add four Liverpool players in January - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Divock Origi, Takumi Minamino and Nat Phillips.

With Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings up front he has got goals in his side - as long as he can get/keep Ings fit - and a side which on its day would be a match for anyone.

A decent haul of points between now and the FA Cup kicking off in January will allow Villa to prioritise the cup, something they were unable to do last year when COVID forced them to field their under-23 side against Liverpool.

What price they get drawn against Liverpool again?

Aston Villa are relegated

Aston Villa fans sad after relegation in 2016

Of course it could all go horribly wrong.

For all those who felt Dean Smith was harshly treated, the sad truth was that Villa have collected just 40 points from their last 36 Premier League games. Not relegation form, but not far off it.

Should Gerrard fail to pick up any points from games against Brighton and Crystal Palace, the pressure will start to mount and the fixtures get a lot tougher thereafter.

Manchester CityLeicester and Liverpool follow and Villa could very well find themselves mired in the drop zone.

With no previous experience of a relegation scrap, either as a player or a manager, Gerrard might wish he'd stuck it out at Rangers.

At least the worst that could have happened there was finishing second.

READ MORE ON PLANET SPORT: Steven Gerrard’s iconic moments for Liverpool, England and Rangers...

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