Our live match stream is up and running ahead of Saturday afternoon’s Premier League fixture Aston Villa v Brighton, kicking off at 3pm BST.
You can keep an eye on the commentary as it happens below, but first, we take a preview into the fixture, the lineups, predictions and much more.
In each side’s previous game, Aston Villa continued their fine form, beating Arsenal 3-0, Bukayo Saka’s own goal was added to by Ollie Watkins’ double at the Emirates; John McGinn strike disallowed via VAR in first minute; Aston Villa move up to sixth while Arsenal slip to 11th in the Premier League table.
Brighton however played out a 0-0 draw with Burnley. Danny Welbeck started lively on his first Seagulls start but lacked ruthlessness in front of goal; Burnley remain winless this season.
Villa boss Dean Smith said on the international break: “Jack’s at the top of his game and I’m really pleased for him and proud of him. I’m pleased for him more than anything because he’s worked extremely hard and he continues to do so.
“I think anybody at Aston Villa would have more of a biased opinion and say he’s been performing like that for a while.
“I actually didn’t watch England vs Ireland because one of our other players had a bigger game in the Euro play-offs, John McGinn against Serbia. I watched that game and saw them go to penalties.
“A big shoutout and congratulations to Steve Clarke and Scotland for getting through to the Euros.”
On Brighton, Smith said: “I’m expecting a really tough game because I’ve watched a lot of their games, looked at a lot of their stats and they’re in the top half for a lot of those stats. They haven’t got the wins they would have expected with those stats.
“They’re a modern-day football team in terms of playing through the thirds. They have some very good players and we’ll certainly have to be at our best.
“We need to go and get a result at Villa Park because our last two results there haven’t been good. We’re coming up against a really good footballing team.”
On team news, Smith added: “Tom Heaton has played some minutes now. He played against Burnley Under-23s and he played an in-house game that we had last week.
“He needs a few more minute but he’s training with the first team every day. Wesley Moraes is a bit behind but he’s starting to do some ball work and build up his strength.
“We’re trying to get him up to speed so that he can join in. Bjorn Engels has a thigh injury and he’s not trained with us yet, nor has Fred Guilbert who has a side strain. Kortney Hause should start back training today.”
Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish is arguably the best player in the Premier League at the moment, according to Albion boss Graham Potter.
“Villa have got some really talented and dangerous players and one of, if not the best, player in the league at the moment in Jack Grealish,” he said.
“He is a top player. It’s nice that he’s showing it in the Premier League and for England, although obviously we’re hoping he has an off day on Saturday against us.
“[Villa manager] Dean Smith and the club have done a fantastic job. You can see how hard it is in the Premier League when a club like Aston Villa with their size, history and culture had to fight to stay in it last season.
“I have been impressed with them. They have invested really well by identifying the areas where they felt they weren’t as strong. They have bought four or five starting XI players and have added where they can get a real benefit.”
“I have used both [types of marking] during my career and it depends on the players you have. That is ultimately what you have got to work out – what the right thing is for your players.
“I can see the benefits of both strategies, but I’m not giving too much away. We will try to play well, to carry on what we have been doing but also improving because results have not been what we want.
“But there are other players at Aston Villa that can play, have scored goals and have had top careers or are starting top careers. We need to cover all the bases, not just one.”
Aston Villa Premier League form: WWWLLW
Aston Villa form (all competitions): LWWLLW
Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League form: LLDDLD
Brighton & Hove Albion form (all competitions): LLDDLD
Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Luiz, McGinn; Trezeguet, Barkley, Grealish; Watkins
Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Sanchez; Webster, Dunk, Burn; Lamptey, White, Bissouma, March; Lallana, Trossard; Maupay
- 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%).
He said: “I really like the way Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley link up for Aston Villa and Ollie Watkins is doing well in his first season in the Premier League.
“When everything clicks, Villa look very good. They completely outplayed Arsenal at the start of this month and had that extraordinary win over Liverpool in October.
“But they have also lost at home to Leeds and Southampton in the past couple of weeks, so it is not easy to predict what they will do next.
“I am also not sure what to expect from Brighton. At the start of the season, in games against Chelsea, Newcastle and Manchester United, they looked very dangerous going forward.
“That hasn’t been the case recently against West Brom and Burnley, though. The Seagulls have drawn a lot of games in the past few weeks, and I think they could end up sharing the points again.”
Lawro’s prediction: 1-1
Right then, time to keep an eye out for live match stream on Aston Villa v Brighton from kick off at 3:00pm…