Aston Villa head to Brighton on Saturday aiming to bounce back from their humiliating home defeat to Manchester City last weekend.
That 6-1 loss was the low point of a wretched few weeks for Villa, though Dean Smith’s side can take confidence from their recent victory at Burnley, using it as a blueprint to get something at the Amex.
Meanwhile, Brighton are just three points above Villa and the relegation zone, and the hosts will need to start winning more regularly if they are to comfortably stay up.
Read on for our preview, predictions, team news, key men, possible XIs and more.
When is Brighton vs Aston Villa and where can I watch live?
Competition: Premier League
Venue: Amex Stadium
Date: Saturday, 18 January 2020
Kick-off: 3:00 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): N/A
Last five meetings: Brighton vs Aston Villa
19 October 2019: Aston Villa 2-1 Brighton (Premier League)
25 September 2019: Brighton 1-3 Aston Villa (EFL Cup)
7 May 2017: Aston Villa 1-1 Brighton (Championship)
18 November 2016: Brighton 1-1 Aston Villa (Championship)
23 January 2010: Aston Villa 3-2 Brighton (FA Cup)
Aggregate Score: Brighton (LLDDL) 6-10 Aston Villa (WWDDW)
Ones to watch
Brighton: Neal Maupay
It would not be farfetched to say Maupay’s goals have been the difference between Brighton steering clear of the danger zone and being in the bottom three this term. The former Brentford striker is the Seagulls’ top scorer and must start notching even more regularly, especially at home, if Brighton are to remain in the Premier League.
Key stat: Maupay is the only Brighton player to register more than 10 shots shots on target (22) this season, scoring seven goals.
Aston Villa: Jack Grealish
Grealish has been one of the only shining lights in the Villa team in recent weeks. The captain will be hoping the defence does its job on Saturday so that he can do his, getting forward and fashioning opportunities for others while providing a goal threat himself.
Key stat: Grealish has created 53 chances in the Premier League this season, at least 26 more than any other Villa player.
Aaron Mooy has returned to training following a knee injury but Dan Burn, Leon Balogun and Jose Izquierdo remain sidelined.
Predicted XI: Ryan; Webster, Duffy, Dunk; Montoya, Propper, Stephens, Bernardo; Trossard, Mooy; Maupay.
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Wesley, Tom Heaton, John McGinn and Jed Steer are all long-term absentees, while Jonathan Kodija has not trained this week. Pepe Reina is in line to make his debut between the sticks. Matt Targett returned to training last week after a hamstring injury and could return to Smith’s starting XI.
Predicted XI: Reina; Elmohamady, Konsa, Mings, Hause, Targett; Douglas Luiz, Hourihane; El Ghazi, Trezeguet, Grealish.
Brighton have been massively unpredictable all season, so it will be interesting to see how they cope with a Villa side determined bounce back from a mauling. If Villa can stay tight, they might be able to leave the South Coast with a point.