Team news and stats ahead of Aston Villa vs Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
Aston Villa goalkeeper Tom Heaton has returned to daily training but is not ready for the visit of Brighton. The England international has been out since New Year’s Day with a knee injury but played 70 minutes in a behind-closed-doors friendly this week.
Kortney Hause is back in training after a groin problem but fellow defenders Bjorn Engels (thigh) and Fred Guilbert (side strain) are out.
Brighton are expected to recall captain Lewis Dunk after his three-match ban came to an end before the international break. Aaron Connolly (thigh) and Solly March (ankle) are back in contention but the game could come too soon for Leandro Trossard (adductor).
Davy Propper returned following an Achilles issue but has been ill in recent days so may miss out.
How to follow
Follow Aston Villa vs Brighton in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
Everybody now, in your best Danny Dyer voice. This one may get proper tasty.
Last year’s fixture between these two produced the most shots in any one Premier League match last season – 44 in total.
And, it’s easy to argue Villa arrive here with a more dangerous attacking look to them having headed off to the international break with a richly impressive away win at Arsenal to their name, predicted by members of this parish. Trumpet blown.
No team has created more chances per game (12.5) than them this season and I really like the balance Dean Smith has found. It’s exciting to watch and with Jack Grealish at the forefront, who knows how high they could fly this season? I’m keeping them firmly on side until my eyes tell me otherwise.
It’s even not beyond the realms that Villa might be in the title-race picture at Christmas with five winnable fixtures on the horizon against West Ham, Newcastle, Wolves, Burnley and West Brom to follow this one. I’ve seen worse 20/1 shots than for Villa to be top on Christmas Day.
Brighton can also be relied upon to produce excitement.
Only Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham have had more shots on goal than them this season. The data suggests their position of 16th in the Premier League significantly underrates their true colours but this isn’t a short-term case of supposed underachievement – it’s been going on for nearly all of Graham Potter’s tenure. Perhaps it’s a football philosophy that will always generate sparkling metrics but fall short on the points front.
I have more faith in Villa to take their chances in this one. An end-to-end home win for me.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 3-2 (20/1 with Sky Bet)
- Aston Villa are unbeaten in their last eight league meetings with Brighton (W4 D4), since a 0-1 defeat in December 1980.
- Brighton have never won away against Aston Villa in all competitions, drawing three and losing nine of their 12 games. Indeed, the Seagulls have lost all five of their visits to Villa Park in the top-flight.
- Aston Villa have won five of their seven Premier League games so far this season (L2), netting 18 goals in the process. It took the Villans 13 games to score as many Premier League goals last season, while they picked up their fifth win in their 19th game in 2019-20.
- Aston Villa have won three Premier League games by a margin of 3+ goals this season, as many as they had in their previous four campaigns in the competition combined (1 in 2013-14, 1 in 2014-15, 0 in 2015-16, 1 in 2019-20). They last won more by such a margin in a single top-flight season back in 2007-08 (6).
- Brighton are winless in their last six Premier League matches (D3 L3). However, 12 of the Seagulls’ last 15 Premier League points have been won in away games (80%).
Pitch to Post Preview podcast: Smith on Pep’s City contract and Arsenal’s issues
Alan Smith joins Peter Smith on this week’s Pitch to Post Preview Podcast to discuss Pep Guardiola’s new Man City contract, Tottenham’s title hopes and what’s going wrong at Arsenal.
Plus, Sky Sports News reporter Vinny O’Connor has the latest on Liverpool’s growing injury list ahead of their clash with Leicester, and his colleague Mark McAdam lifts the lid on Southampton’s strong start to the season.
Plus Sky Sports football journalist Ron Walker talks Leicester and West Ham, and makes his Pitch for what will happen in the Premier League this weekend.