Villa travel to the Amex Stadium for what looks set to be an intriguing encounter before the enforced World Cup break. Unai Emery will no doubt be looking to distil the positives from more recent displays and set Villa on the right path until the arrival of Liverpool on Boxing Day. A first away win of the season would be nice too.
Jekyll and HydeEmbed from Getty Images
Villa’s recent form and performances are difficult to read. Under then-caretaker manager Aaron Danks, Brentford (4-0) were comfortably blown away, before the same side was totally dominated against Newcastle (4-0) just days later.
The arrival of Unai Emery prompted another character reset, with a convincing 3-1 home victory over Manchester United banishing a generation-long hoodoo. The new boss will also have learned a great deal from his much-changed side’s defeat to United in the EFL Cup midweek, especially having led twice at Old Trafford only to succumb to a characteristic late collapse.
BEATING BRIGHTONEmbed from Getty Images
Brighton are the archetypal modern Premier League team. Underestimated, under the radar and often the envy of better-resourced traditional clubs for their incremental improvement.
Whilst no club is immune to the upheaval of losing players or managers, Brighton do appear to have successfully transitioned to the style of Roberto Di Zerbi after losing Graham Potter to Chelsea.
Di Zerbi had a tricky start, failing to win in his first 5 matches. However, having now addressed his side’s lack of goals, he’s looking to secure a third straight victory.
Villa had been similarly barren in front of goal until Steven Gerrard left the club, managing just 7 strikes all season. We’ve since struck 9 times in our last 4 outings.
The two managers also have a different focus at the moment. Di Zerbi arguably sees his side in the hunt for a first-ever European qualification, whilst Emery’s attention (for now at least) rests upon reviving the current campaign.
Emery will be heartened by the quality shown in the league victory over United, but remarked at the time that we stopped playing in the final 15 minutes. The same happened at United (EFL Cup), but will be compounded by concern at the performances of a number of fringe players which resulted in defeat (4-2).
The new Villa boss doesn’t appear to shy away from stating the glaring facts. This quick observation about his side’s deterioration in the latter part of games was soon followed by outlining our need to address our dreadful away form. We have to be optimistic that this will begin at Brighton.
KEY FACTS & STATS
- Expect familiar faces to return after the shake-up midweek for the Cup.
- Coutinho and Diego Carlos miss out through injury.
- Brighton have no new injury concerns ahead of the game.
- Jacob Ramsey needs to avoid a booking or will miss Liverpool on Boxing Day.
- Brighton have only managed to beat Villa once in the last 14.
- However they’ve lost just 1 in 10, that being to Tottenham.
- Villa haven’t won away yet this season (7 games).
- Emery managed 8 away victories in 25 whilst at Arsenal.
- Brighton knocked Arsenal out of the EFL cup midweek.
- Di Zerbi’s side also defeated Wolves last time out in the PL.