Pep Guardiola and his players understand that their fate is entirely in their own hands. If they keep their end of the agreement, there will be another title celebration at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
There is, however, a tantalising undercurrent as City seek success against Villa at the same time as their relentless pursuers Liverpool strive to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield before hoping for the best.
In this scenario, the principal character is one of Liverpool’s most prominent figures, who, albeit from afar as Aston Villa’s manager, has the potential to help bring the one big trophy that escaped him over a wonderful career back to Anfield.
As on so many occasions before in his career, plenty of Liverpool fans will regard Steven Gerrard as their best hope of winning a Premier League title.
On Sunday, Gerrard’s main professional objective will be to obtain the result at City that will cap off a tumultuous season of change and early reconstruction at Villa Park.
The former Liverpool captain would not be human if his thoughts did not occasionally go to the potential impact of Villa winning, with his beloved boyhood team then beating Wolves to complete a potentially historic quadruple.
Among Gerrard’s spectacular achievements at Liverpool, which include winning the Champions League, Uefa Cup, FA Cup, and League Cup, is the agonising moment in late April 2014 when his iconic Anfield mistake allowed Demba Ba to score, leading to a 2-0 win for Jose Mourinho’s team.
It was the cause for Brendan Rodgers’ team losing a late lead, allowing Manchester City to take advantage.
This might be a moment of redemption for Gerrard’s worst disappointment.
Title climax Man City
It’s one of those small twists that seem to accompany every last-day title finish for Manchester City, but it’s also one that this experienced, high-quality bunch of players has proven capable of handling.
In 2012, a last-minute Sergio Aguero strike helped Manchester City defeat Manchester United on goal difference and reclaim the Premier League title for the first time in 44 years.
In 2014, it took a decisive final-day win against West Ham United for Manuel Pellegrini’s team to inflict another title agony on Gerrard and Liverpool.
In 2019, City needed to win their final game against Brighton to hold Liverpool at bay in an exciting title race in which Jurgen Klopp’s team only lost one league game all season – at Etihad Stadium. They won 4-1 despite falling behind early on due to a Glenn Murray goal.
City will be cautiously optimistic that they can complete the job and earn one major prize in a season in which they have had to pull themselves together following another catastrophic Champions League downfall, losing a semi-final to Real Madrid in the 90th minute of the second leg at the Bernabeu.
City are firm favourites, and deservedly so, but Premier League stories can be unpredictable, and Gerrard’s presence has created an intriguing narrative and potential headline grabber.