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Nov 20, 2021 at 3pm UK
Aston VillaAston Villa
2-0
BrightonBrighton & Hove Albion
Watkins (84'), Mings (89')
Nakamba (59'), Konsa (90+3'), Cash (90+4')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Cucurella (49'), Webster (67'), Mac Allister (90+3')

Preview: Aston Villa vs. Brighton & Hove Albion - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Aston Villa vs. Brighton & Hove Albion - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Brighton & Hove Albion, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

The Steven Gerrard era will begin at Aston Villa on Saturday as the out-of-form hosts welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Villa Park.

Gerrard took over from Dean Smith at the helm during the international break, with Villa having lost their last five Premier League games.


Match preview

Many Aston Villa fans will have been disappointed to see Dean Smith sacked from his role earlier this month, with the lifelong fan of the club having enjoyed some memorable high points during his time in charge.

However, there will also be plenty of excitement surrounding the arrival of Gerrard, whose managerial CV already boasts a league title with Rangers, ending Celtic's nine-year domination in Scotland.

The Liverpool legend's return to the Premier League has naturally led to some speculating if and when he may move on to Anfield, but Gerrard has stressed that the Villa job is not simply a stepping stone for him, and he undoubtedly still has plenty to prove in his relatively short managerial career so far.

Victory on Saturday would be a perfect start, with only two of Aston Villa's previous 12 Premier League managers - John Gregory and Gerard Houllier - winning their first top-flight outing in charge of the club.

To join that short list, Gerrard must end Villa's worst run of Premier League form since 2015-16, with Smith having lost his final five games in charge.

The Midlands outfit have not picked up a single point since beating Manchester United at Old Trafford on September 25, conceding 13 goals in that time and dropping down to 16th place - just two points clear of the relegation zone.

Indeed, only the bottom two of Newcastle United and Norwich City have conceded more goals than Villa this season, while Norwich are the only team to have lost more than Villa's seven defeats from 11 games so far.

The gap to Saturday's opponents is seven points, although Brighton's relatively lofty league position of seventh belies a noticeable dip in form of late.

The Seagulls' last Premier League win was actually longer ago than Villa's; they have failed to win any of their six top-flight outings since overcoming Leicester City on September 19.

However, Graham Potter's side have still managed to pick up points in that time, losing just one of those six games - against Manchester City - and holding the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal to draws along the way.

A 1-1 stalemate with Newcastle before the international break was a more disappointing result, although they will still be more than content with their seventh-placed standing after 11 games, sitting level on points with Manchester United and just five points off the top four.

Chelsea and Liverpool are the only teams to have been beaten on fewer occasions than Brighton this term, while those two giants and Manchester City are also the only teams to have conceded fewer goals than the Seagulls so far.

Brighton are also one of three teams - alongside Chelsea and West Ham United - yet to be beaten away from home in the Premier League this season, so Saturday's trip will not faze them, particularly having secured their first ever away win over Villa on their last visit.

Goals from Danny Welbeck and Solly March sealed that 2-1 triumph almost exactly a year ago to the day, leaving Villa winless in the last three meetings between the two sides, and having not led at any stage in those games either.

However, last year's corresponding fixture was also the only time Brighton have tasted victory over Aston Villa in their last 12 attempts, and they will be need to be particularly wary this time around with the hosts hopeful of a new manager bounce.

Aston Villa Premier League form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League form:
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • D

Brighton & Hove Albion form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D

Team News

Gerrard will be hopeful of having Danny Ings available after the striker missed the last two matches before the international break due to coronavirus.

The new manager generally favoured a 4-3-3 formation during his time at Ibrox, and may line up in that system again for his first game at Villa Park, which could force either Ings or Ollie Watkins into a slightly wider position than usual.

Ezri Konsa is available again for the hosts after suspension, while Leon Bailey's injury scare during the international break has been downplayed, but major doubts remain over the fitness of Douglas Luiz and Marvelous Nakamba.

Morgan Sanson is an alternative option in the middle of the park, but he has been limited to just 42 minutes of EFL Cup action this season and has not started a Premier League game since April.

John McGinn could therefore be forced into a holding role, while the returning Konsa has also featured in that position before and could provide another option.

Bertrand Traore is nearing a return to action but this game is expected to come too soon for him, while Trezeguet is also still sidelined.

Brighton have notable absentees of their own too, with goalkeeper Robert Sanchez suspended, and Steven Alzate and Danny Welbeck - the latter of whom has a career-best five Premier League goals against Villa - out through injury.

Enock Mwepu has also been ruled out, but Potter is more hopeful over the fitness of Dan Burn, while Aaron Connolly has been passed fit.

Leandro Trossard will be hopeful of picking up where he left off before the international break as he bids to score in three successive Premier League games for the first time.

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Buendia, McGinn, Ramsey; Bailey, Ings, Watkins

Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Steele; Veltman, Dunk, Duffy, Cucurella; Bissouma, Lallana; Lamptey, Trossard, March; Maupay


We say: Aston Villa 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

Neither of these teams come into this match in particularly good form, although there is no doubt that Brighton have had the better season so far and, given Aston Villa's injuries, perhaps deserve to be regarded as favourites.

However, the arrival of a new boss so often brings with it an immediate boost and, coupled with the international break giving Aston Villa time to shake their five consecutive defeats out of their system, we are backing Gerrard to pick up a point in his first Premier League game as a manager.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data


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19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle151771730-1310
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City1511223292335
2Liverpool15104144123234
3Chelsea1510323592633
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham158342819927
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs148151617-125
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd157352524124
7Arsenal147251720-323
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves156361213-121
9Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton154831416-220
10Aston Villa156182124-319
11Leicester CityLeicester155462327-419
12Brentford154561921-217
13Crystal Palace153751921-216
14Leeds UnitedLeeds153751522-716
15Southampton153751421-716
16Everton144371724-715
17Watford1541102029-913
18Burnley141761421-710
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle151771730-1310
20Norwich CityNorwich15249831-2310
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