Aston Villa vs. Brighton
Venue: Villa Park
Kick off: 4PM
Two sides that have experienced contrasting starts to the 2020-21 Premier League campaign meet this afternoon as Aston Villa play host to Brighton & Hove Albion.
Villa beat Arsenal 3-0 last time out to move within three points of top spot with a game in hand to play, while Brighton have one win from eight and are in relegation danger.
Two months into the season and Villa have already defeated Liverpool 7-2 at home and Arsenal 3-0 away in what is shaping up to be a truly memorable campaign for the club.
The win at the Emirates Stadium two weeks ago came on the back of successive defeats – to Leeds United and Southampton – with many predicting the wheels had already fallen off.
If that latest famous victory in North London is anything to go by, however, then Dean Smith’s men may just be able to challenge for a European spot this season.
To put their form in some context, they have five wins from seven games and have scored 18 goals, whereas last season it took them 19 games to reach five wins and 13 games to score 18 times.
Villa’s form is in stark contrast to that of Brighton, who have earned praise for their style of play under Graham Potter but have struggled to find the results to match it.
The goalless draw with Burnley last time out sums things up nicely for the Seagulls, who bossed possession and had 19 shots without finding a way past Nick Pope.
Potter is not oblivious to the fact that results are ultimately the most important thing in this game, with Brighton hovering just three points above the dropzone.
Albion are now winless in their last six league outings, drawing three and losing three, but 12 of their last 15 top-flight points have been won in away matches.
That provides them with a bit of hope heading into this weekend’s trip to the West Midlands, though they have never managed to beat the Villans in 12 away attempts.
In fact, Brighton have lost all five of their top-flight meetings at Villa Park, including a 2-1 loss when the sides last met there in October 2019.
Aston Villa possible XI: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, Trezeguet, Barkley, Grealish, Watkins.
Brighton possible XI: Sanchez, Webster, Dunk, Burn, Lamptey, White, Bissouma, March, Lallana, Trossard, Maupay.