An out-of-form Brighton host Aston Villa in the Premier League this Saturday with the Villans hoping to climb out of the bottom three.
The Seagulls sit 14th in the table having won only once in their last seven league games. Graham Potter’s side will be looking over their shoulders as they are only three points ahead of their opponents ahead of Saturday’s clash.
Villa sit in the bottom three after losing 6-1 at home to Manchester City last time out. Watford’s win away at Bournemouth left Dean Smith’s side 18th and a point behind the Hornets, though victory at the Amex this weekend would see them move level on points with Brighton.
Where to Watch
|When Is It Kick-Off?||Saturday 18 January|
|What Time Is Kick-Off?||15:00 (GMT)|
|Where Is It Being Played?||Amex Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BBC Sport Final Score/BT Sport Score|
Brighton boss Potter will have a few injury problems to contend with ahead of the visit of Villa. José Izquierdo is out for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury while Dan Burn has fractured his collarbone and will be sidelined until March.
There will be fitness tests for both Leon Balogun and Aaron Mooy, while Pascal Gross is pushing for a recall to the starting XI having been left on the bench in the 1-0 defeat to Everton.
Meanwhile, there is a bit of a striker crisis at Villa. Wesley suffered a season ending knee injury while Jonathan Kodjia is doubtful with an illness. This may see winger Anwar El Ghazi deputise as the central striker for Villa, like he did during the 6-1 loss to Manchester City.
However, there is good news between the sticks for Dean Smith as loanee Pepe Reina is likely to start after joining on loan from Milan. Tom Heaton is also out for the rest of the season while John McGinn remains sidelined with a fractured ankle.
|Brighton||Ryan; Webster, Duffy, Dunk; Montoya, Propper, Alzate, Bernardo; Gross, Maupay, Trossard.|
|Aston Villa||Reina; Konsa, Mings, Hause; Guilbert, Nakamba, Hourihane, Taylor; Trezeguet, El Ghazi, Grealish.|
Head to Head Record
These two Premier League sides have faced each other just 23 times, with Villa getting the better of the south coast team 13 times. Brighton have only won three games, while seven of their clashes have ended all square.
In fact, the Villans haven’t lost to this weekend’s opponents since 1980, when Brighton won 1-0 in the old League Division One.
Villa are unbeaten in nine against Brighton, winning six of those nine in the meantime. Dean Smith’s side beat Brighton earlier in the season 2-1 thanks to a late winner from Matt Targett.
Brighton have only won one of their last seven, beating fellow strugglers Bournemouth 2-0 at the Amex. During this time they have also lost to a Championship team in the FA Cup, being beaten 1-0 by Sheffield Wednesday at home.
However, they have only lost three times at home in the league, making the Amex a tough place to go. They will be expecting an upturn in form as they go in search of their first win of 2020.
Both teams have been in poor form recently with Villa only winning two of their last nine, resulting in their drop into the bottom three. They were also knocked out of the FA Cup by Championship Fulham.
They’ve lost six of these nine games, including a damaging 3-0 away loss to Watford, who have since risen out of the bottom three. Other demoralising defeats 6-1 and 4-1 losses to Manchester City and Leicester respectively.
Here are both sides’ last five results.
|Everton 1-0 Brighton (11/1)||Aston Villa 1-6 Manchester City (12/1)|
|Brighton 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday (4/1)||Leicester 1-1 Aston Villa (8/1)|
|Brighton 1-1 Chelsea (1/1)||Fulham 2-1 Aston Villa (4/1)|
|Brighton 2-0 Bournemouth (28/12)||Burnley 1-2 Aston Villa (1/1)|
|Tottenham 2-1 Brighton (26/12)||Watford 3-0 Aston Villa (28/12)|
Both sides are in need of three points so this fixture could end up being a bit nervy. Brighton are nervously looking over their shoulder while Villa will be wanting to get out of the bottom three.
However, Villa’s striker problems will hit them hard. They looked toothless against City and very, very leaky at the back. Then again, Brighton aren’t quite the team that City are.
Having said that, Brighton have a great record at the Amex and should come away with the three points – but in a tight, nervy affair.