Aston Villa are a very peculiar team. They were excellent in the opening games of the season, winning four games on the bounce, before conceding seven in two successive home defeats against Leeds and Southampton. Most recently, they outclassed Arsenal away from home with a superb 3-0 win, so it only stands to reason that they are going to lose this one.
In all seriousness though, Villa’s struggles at home compared to their flawless away record has been part of a wider Premier League trend that has seen more away victories than home wins after eight rounds of fixtures. Brighton have also fared better away from the Amex this season, picking up their only win of the campaign against Newcastle in September, and they could really do with adding a second away win on Saturday afternoon.
Graham Potter’s side have performed reasonably well this season, but are now in real danger of being dragged into a relegation battle having not won in their last six games. Their results bely their performances, however, and they have been desperately unlucky not to put more points on the board.
They have a great chance to do so off the back of a two-week break.
Aside from an opening day clean sheet against a Sheffield United side who were down to 10 men for 78 minutes, Aston Villa’s defensive record at home has been truly awful.
Dean Smith’s side have conceded nine goals in their last three league games at Villa Park, a staggering statistic given that they are yet to concede away from home in the league.
Brighton, meanwhile, have conceded a worrying 14 goals in their eight league games this season and have only managed clean sheets against an abject Burnley and a misfiring Newcastle. They have scored in every away game they have played this season and conceded in all but one of them.
It’s hard to see either side keeping a clean sheet on Saturday, making for a high-scoring affair.
With six league goals, Ollie Watkins has proved to be an outstanding summer signing. The former Brentford striker has settled quickly in the Premier League with his goals already looking enough to secure a more comfortable finish for Villa following their narrow escape last season.
Watkins has looked lethal around the six-yard box and should get chances on Saturday against a Brighton side that has coughed up far too many opportunities inside the box this season. He is a good bet to find the back of the net on Saturday, although he may end up on the losing side.
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while in-copy odds are correct at time of publication but subject to change
Aston Villa v Brighton tips
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