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What an electric start to the season it’s been for Dean Smith’s men who currently sit just three points of league leaders Leicester with a game in hand.
Many have been surprised by their strong start, but their good form stretches back into the end of last season, going W7-D2-L2 from their last 11 outings and despite a small hiccup recently, a 3-0 victory at the Emirates claimed their second scalp of the season.
It’s the same old story for Brighton this season as their performances haven’t been rewarded with results.
Their 13.1 shots per game ranks them 8th in the league, and while they put in good displays against Chelsea and Man United earlier in the season despite not picking up a single point, they had a combined 39 shots against weaker sides Burnley and Crystal Palace, scoring just one of them.
We wouldn’t expect them to have that many at Villa park against one of the most solid defences in the league of late, though that’s not to say they won’t get their chances.
Aston Villa To Beat Brighton
There’s a clear pattern in how Brighton perform defensively, keeping it tight against the weaker sides in the league and failing to contain the bigger teams.
Indeed, of their 14 goals conceded this season, 12 have come against Man United, Chelsea, Spurs and Everton, while they’ve conceded just twice in four games against Burnley, West Brom, Crystal Palace and Newcastle.
The issue for this match is where to categorise Aston Villa as although they are not traditionally thought of as one of the better clubs in the league, recent performances would suggest they are and we’re happy to steer clear of Brighton’s defensive capabilities in this clash.
No team has a higher clean sheet percentage than Villa this season, though as mentioned, Brighton’s shots per game plants a seed of doubt that that percentage will be improved this weekend.
If the English attacking trio of Jack Grealish, Ollie Watkins and Ross Barkley are on their game, there’ll be little the visitors can do to stop them and there’s nothing to suggest they won’t be.
The international break may have halted their momentum, but at the prices we’re happy to risk the chances of that and get behind the hosts in better form.