Aston Villa vs Brighton | Saturday 21st November October 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
Aston Villa host Brighton this Saturday afternoon with the chance to reach the summit of the Premier League in victory, should results go their way. Dean Smith’s men would have been in fine spirits going into the international break having put three goals past Arsenal to no reply, leaving them sitting pretty in sixth, with a game in-hand on all teams above them.
The visitors have been one of the biggest underperformers in the division, in terms of having a brilliant underlying process, placing them fifth in the Expected Goals (xG) table, stark contrast to their position just two spots above the relegation zone.
Villa are comfortable favourites given their recent form, but they must improve on their last two home performances if they are to take anything.
The hosts’ league matches so far this term have averaged a total of 3.86 goals, enterprising, but they have been prone to shipping a few in recent weeks, conceding two goals or more in their last three consecutive games at Villa Park.
Both teams have got on the scoresheet in the last six meetings between these two, which fits my angle for this fixture. The Seagulls are strong offensively, despite being winless in six, they have scored in every away match this season and in all but one of eight league games.
Three of Jack Grealish’s four goals this term have come after the 65th minute, and in a game that I expect to be tight going into the closing exchanges, we may see the now England national team regular, put his boyhood club on his shoulders once again.
He has scored four times against Brighton in his brief career to this date, and with the 25-year-old known to be capable of the spectacular and receiving chances equating to 0.34 xG per 90 minutes, there is value in getting on the Villa skipper with a portion of your stake.
Two shrewd summer additions have played a significant role in the Villans carrying on their momentum from the back end of last season into the start of this campaign: they are Ross Barkley and Ollie Watkins.
The former and Chelsea loanee has taken some of the creative weight off of Grealish, giving the opposition another threat from deeper areas to contend with, and proved his worth by earning three points at the King Power Stadium in, scoring the only goal of the game in second half additional time.
Watkins is looking like he has being applying his trade in English football’s top tier for a lot longer than seven matches, the 24-year-old already with a rich track record developed in the English Football League has six goals from seven starts including a hat-trick against reigning champions Liverpool and a brace last time out at the Emirates Stadium.
Seagulls captain Lewis Dunk returns to the often brittle backline this weekend following a three game suspension, and will need to be on it from the first minute to the last if the Seasiders are to contain the dynamic attacking contingent at Smith’s disposal.
Aston Villa vs Brighton – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams to Score (11/10 SportNation)
Aston Villa vs Brighton – Jack Grealish Last Goalscorer (8/1 Betfred)