- Aston Villa kicked off the weekend’s Premier League action by defeating Brighton & Hove Albion 6-1.
- Ollie Watkins scored his second hat-trick of the season.
Aston Villa kicked off the weekend’s Premier League action by defeating Brighton & Hove Albion 6-1, continuing their remarkable run of 10 straight league victories at Villa Park.
Ollie Watkins scored his second hat-trick of the season when Gareth Southgate was at the stadium, making him the first Villa player to do so since Andy Gray in 1976–1977.
Although the visitors dominated possession, even a one-eyed seagull would have recognized that the hosts were deserving victors. Villa entered the game having won each of their previous four matches against the Seagulls.
How the game unfolded
There weren’t many opportunities in the first thirty minutes of the game until John McGinn slipped a nice ball down the right wing to Matty Cash, who found Watkins in the box, and the England forward tapped in for the game’s first goal.
Prior to today, Villa had triumphed in each of their previous four league games during which they had a lead, while Brighton has yet to record a shutout this year.
After gaining the lead, The Villans were the more aggressive team and went two up when Watkins cut into the box from a Moussa Diaby through pass and blasted past Jason Steele at his near post for his second of the game.
Last weekend, Watkins broke a 12-match league goalless streak. Villa has been trying to work out a contract extension with the 27-year-old, who will enter the last year of his present term at the conclusion of this season.
Villa’s image as a powerful team for Brighton was strengthened tonight when a scuffed attempt by Diaby that was heading way wide was blocked by Pervis Estupinan’s foot and passed a helpless Steele, giving the hosts a three-goal lead inside of the opening half-hour.
Roberto de Zerbi has had very few bad days since taking over as Seagulls manager, but this day was rapidly becoming forgettable when his team let up three goals in the space of only 12 minutes.
It would be fascinating to hear the Brighton manager’s post-game comments on the VAR reviews of the Lions’ second and third goals for offside and a potential foul in the build-up.
Villa put on a standout first-half effort, closing Brighton down quickly and executing fantastic transitions.
De Zerbi made three substitutions at halftime, just as he did brilliantly against Bournemouth the week prior. The consequences were evident right away as replacements Joao Pedro and Ansu Fati combined only five minutes after entering the game to restore parity for the visitors.
It’s safe to say that the Italian manager’s tactical decisions thus far this season have been excellent since Brighton has already scored six goals through replacements this season, the most of any club in the league.
In the final phases of the game, Villa were by much the superior team after Watkins scored his third goal of the day. Jacob Ramsey and Douglas Luiz added two late goals to lift Villa temporarily over the Seagulls into third place.
Midweek, both teams will switch their focus to Europe, with Villa hosting Zrinjski and The Seagulls traveling to France to face Olympique Marseille.