Two teams that qualified for Europe last season are both flying high in the Premier League’s top six and they meet on Saturday. Here, we look ahead to the match with our Aston Villa vs Brighton & Hove Albion prediction and preview.
Aston Villa vs Brighton: The Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer sees Saturday’s game as a tough one to call. Aston Villa are slight favourites with a 37.7% chance of victory, compared to Brighton and Hove Albion’s 33.3%.
- Villa have won their last nine Premier League games at Villa Park and could become the ninth different team to win 10 or more consecutive home matches in the competition.
- Ollie Watkins scored his first goal of the Premier League season last week, and the Villa striker has netted on each of his last three appearances against Brighton.
Two teams hoping to upset the Premier League’s established order provide Saturday’s early entertainment as Aston Villa host Brighton and Hove Albion. With both sides sitting inside the top six ahead of Matchday 7, who will send out a statement regarding their European aspirations?
Villa have done an excellent job of making their home a fortress under Unai Emery. They’ve won 11 of 15 home league games since he took charge last November, with only Manchester City (14), Manchester United (13) and Liverpool (12) posting more home victories in that time.
Villa have won their last nine home league games, their best run since winning 13 in a row at Villa Park in 1983. Another victory on Saturday would make them the ninth different team to enjoy a 10-match home winning run in England’s top tier.
Their strong form has not been limited to Villa Park, however, with Ollie Watkins’ strike handing them a 1-0 win at Chelsea last Sunday. Villa have started a Premier League season with four wins from their first six games for the seventh time, but they have only gone on to make it five win from their first seven on two occasions – in 1998-99 and 2020-21.
Watkins will be keen to kick on after scoring his first league goal of 2023-24, and Brighton are one of the striker’s favourite opponents. He has scored in each of his last three Premier League games against them – only Sergio Agüero, Jamie Vardy and Phil Foden have scored in four successive matches against Brighton in the competition.
At the other end of the pitch, only Man Utd (14) have bettered Villa’s 11 Premier League clean sheets since Emery took over. With Brighton scoring a league-high 18 goals this season, the hosts will hope their in-form backline of Matty Cash, Pau Torres, Ezri Konsa and Lucas Digne can protect Emiliano Martínez’s goal.
Brighton enter Matchday 7 third in the league table, with Saturday’s early kick-off time giving Roberto De Zerbi‘s men the chance to join Manchester City on 18 points at the summit.
The Seagulls needed 12 games to reach five Premier League wins last term, but they have hit that tally in half the outings in 2023-24 (six). They last started a league season with six wins from seven matches as a Championship club in 2015-16.
De Zerbi’s team found themselves trailing Bournemouth last Sunday, but substitute Kaoru Mitoma scored a match-winning brace after Milos Kerkez put through his own net. Mitoma has now scored 10 Premier League goals in total, becoming just the second Japanese player to reach double figures in the competition after former Leicester City title-winner Shinji Okazaki (14).
Mahmoud Dahoud and Pervis Estupiñán teed up Mitoma’s goals, meaning only five players have bettered Estupiñán’s total of eight Premier League assists in 2023, three of which have come this season. Meanwhile, only Bruno Fernandes (74) has created more chances from open play than the Ecuadorian (47) in the competition this year.
Evan Ferguson was withdrawn due to illness last weekend and should be available on Saturday, but Julio Enciso is a long-term absentee. Billy Gilmour is expected to continue in midfield after injuries left James Milner and Pascal Groß unable to feature in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup defeat at Chelsea.
For Villa, Leon Bailey is a doubt after being forced off in the first half of their 2-1 defeat in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night. Emiliano Buendía, Tyrone Mings and Diego Carlos remain absent.
Aston Villa vs Brighton Head-to-Head
Aston Villa have become something of a bogey team for Brighton lately. They have only lost one of their last 14 league games against the Seagulls (eight wins, five draws), though that defeat came at Villa Park in November 2020.
Indeed, Villa have won their last four Premier League games against Brighton, scoring exactly two goals each time.
The teams’ last meeting was a memorable one for Villa fans, as Douglas Luiz and Watkins netted in a 2-1 win on the final day of last season.
That victory ensured Villa finished seventh in the Premier League, one point and one place behind Brighton, securing qualification for the Europa Conference League ahead of Tottenham.
Since enduring a three-game losing run in February, Aston Villa have won 14 of 21 Premier League games (three draws, four defeats).
That run began with a 2-0 win at Everton on February 25, and since then only Man City (55) and Liverpool (48) have bettered Villa’s tally of 45 points won in the Premier League.
Brighton have scored in 22 consecutive league games, netting 51 times in total. However, they have only kept six clean sheets in that time, none of which have come this season.
They could become just the sixth team to score and concede in their opening seven games of a Premier League season, with Bournemouth the last team to do so in 2019-20.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Aston Villa vs Brighton Prediction
Of every fixture taking place across Matchday 7, this is the most difficult one to call. The supercomputer gives Villa a 37.7% chance of victory, the lowest probability given to any of this weekend’s pre-match favourites.
Brighton were victorious in 33.3% of 10,000 match simulations conducted ahead of kick-off, with 29% finishing level.
In the supercomputer’s Premier League season predictions, both teams are viewed as candidates for European qualification. Brighton are given a 66.8% likelihood of a top-six finish, with Villa’s chances rated at 40.6%.