Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 4/5
Two sides who will be seeking a boost when they return from the international break, Brighton will make the trip to Villa Park on Saturday afternoon.
Starting with the hosts, marking their return to action this weekend with a new boss in their dugout, there is no doubt that Aston Villa will be desperate for an immediate boost on Saturday afternoon. Last seen heading into November’s international break with a 1-0 defeat against Southampton on the road, that result was enough to cost Dean Smith his job. Making the decision to bring Steven Gerrard to the club last week, the now-former Rangers manager appears to have a real job on his hands. Really failing to build off of September’s 1-0 win away at Old Trafford, Villa are currently in the midst of a dreadful five-match Premier League losing run. Managing to muster just 10 points since opening the 2021/22 campaign and firmly looking over their shoulder at the drop zone, Saturday’s hosts have also gained a reputation for their rather glaring issues at the back. Including a 4-1 drumming against West Ham last month, Gerrard’s new side hold the third-worst defensive tally in the division.
After serving his suspension, defender Ezri Konsa is available to make his return on Saturday afternoon.
While summer arrival Danny Ings is also expected to make his return this weekend, Bertrand Traore is still dealing with a knock.
As for the visitors, although Brighton might have opened the 2021/22 campaign enjoying a stellar run of form, the Seagulls have largely failed to build off of that momentum. Last seen earlier in the month throwing away the lead and having to settle for a 1-1 draw against a winless Newcastle, Graham Potter’s side are seeking their own boost. Despite still battling it out in the top-half of the table when they return this weekend, the former Swansea boss has seen his side fail to win any of their last eight matchups across all formats, a run that stems back to September 22nd. Almost gaining a recent reputation as a stalemate specialist, Brighton should at least be boosted by their most recent trip to Villa Park. Putting on a hugely impressive display when they last made the trip to the Midlands 12 months ago, Potter’s side secured a 2-1 victory. In fact, taking four points off of Saturday’s hosts last season, the Seagulls will be looking to ruin Gerrard’s big day.
Shown a straight red card against Newcastle last time out, number one keeper Robert Sánchez will be serving a suspension this weekend.
Likewise, still dealing with a hamstring injury, former England international Danny Welbeck will once again be missing at Villa Park.
Key Factors to Consider
- Including a 2-1 win when they made the trip to Villa Park 12 months ago, Brighton took four points off of Aston Villa last season.
- Saturday’s hosts mark their return this weekend in the midst of a five-match Premier League losing run.
- Likewise, Brighton have failed to win any of their last eight matchups across all formats, a run that stems back to September 22nd.
- Aston Villa have shipped 20 Premier League goals so far this season, the third-worst defensive tally in the division.
- Seven of the eight meetings between Saturday’s opponents have finished with both teams finding the net.
Taking charge of his first match at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon, Steven Gerrard will know that his new Aston Villa side are seeking a real boost. Heading into November’s international break enduring a woeful five-match Premier League losing run, the now-former Rangers boss also has a squad that have shown some real issues at the back. Already shipping 20 top-flight goals so far this season, Brighton will travel to Villa Park desperate to find their own boost. Hanging onto a 1-1 draw against a struggling Newcastle last time out, the Seagulls have failed to build off of their stellar start. Including getting hit for four by Manchester City, the south coast side have failed to win any of their last eight matchups across all formats. With seven of the eight meetings between this weekend’s opponents finishing with both teams finding the net, we’re backing a similar outcome here.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 4/5
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