Crucial game in the fight to stay up as Brighton take on Aston Villa


Bright and Hove Albion take on Aston Villa at the Amex Stadium with both teams needing a result in the fight to stay up in the Premier League this season.

Last time out for the home side, the Seagulls were unfortunate to get a result against a revitalised Everton side under Carlo Ancelotti. Richarlison’s goal secured the three points for the Toffees and left Brighton empty handed.

On Sunday, Villa faced Manchester City at Villa Park and were blown away by the reigning Premier League champions. A 6-1 defeat to the Citizens meant the Birmingham based club are stuck in the relegation zone.

Team news

Brighton’s Aaron Mooy has recovered from the knee problem that caused him to miss last week’s defeat at Everton.

Shane Duffy, Adam Webster and Alireza Jahanbakhsh have overcome minor issues.

Former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina is poised to make his first Premier League appearance since May 2013 after joining Aston Villa on loan.

Matt Targett and Bjorn Engels should be fit to return but Jonathan Kodjia is in talks about a move elsewhere and will not be involved.

Brighton manager Graham Potter knows that his side will come up against a wounded Aston Villa at the Amex tomorrow and is expecting a reaction from Dean Smith’s men:

“They played the champions last weekend and that type of result can happen. They had some good results before that, so we know they’ll want to respond to last Sunday.

“We know we have to attack and defend well. They’ve moved to a back five recently and that can mean it’s sometimes tough to create chances. They have good players and when you lose the ball they can hurt you, that’s just the nature of the Premier League and so we have to be on our game to get a result.

“It’s been nice to have a full week of training after a busy Christmas period and we’ve had a lot of time for prepare for the game, so we feel good in that respect.”

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith previewed this weekend’s trip to Brighton & Hove Albion, hoping his side can bounce back from last week’s 6-1 humiliation:

“We did the debrief the following day and I spoke to the players about the fact that we got beat 6-1 at home by arguably one of best teams in Europe, but made five fouls all day, that was a big thing for me.

“They can beat anybody. I saw Brighton play Man City away, they played well and got beat 4-0, we didn’t play well and got beat 6-1 and we helped them in a number of their goals.

“The fact we didn’t engage and weren’t aggressive enough, that’s the message I was getting across to the players. In all fairness, the response in training has been very good. Like I said after the game, I’m not excusing the performance because it wasn’t good enough, but any team can get beaten 6-1 by Manchester City.

“It’s important we put it behind us and stick it in a concrete box and bury it 6ft underground.”


Brighton have gone nine league and cup games without beating Aston Villa since a 1-0 top-flight home win in December 1980 (D3, L6). Villa have already beaten Brighton twice this season: 3-1 in the League Cup at the Amex Stadium and 2-1 at Villa Park in the Premier League. This is their first top-flight meeting on the south coast since a goalless draw at the Goldstone Ground in March 1983.

Brighton and Hove Albion

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