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Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Aston Villa - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Brighton & Hove Albion and Aston Villa, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Aston Villa will be looking to continue their push towards the European positions in the Premier League table when they travel to the Amex on Saturday afternoon to take on Brighton & Hove Albion.

The visitors are currently ninth in the division, four points behind sixth-placed West Ham United with two games in hand over the Hammers, while Brighton's recent form has allowed them to move away from danger and into 15th position, now 10 points clear of the relegation zone.


Match preview

Brighton & Hove Albion's Steven Alzate celebrates scoring against Liverpool in the Premier League on February 3, 2021© Reuters

Brighton saw their FA Cup journey for the 2020-21 campaign come to an end on Wednesday evening as they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Leicester City, with Kelechi Iheanacho scoring the winner in the 94th minute of the contest at the King Power Stadium.

Graham Potter's side have been on an excellent run in the Premier League, though, winning three of their last five and remaining unbeaten in the process to move clear of the relegation zone.

The Seagulls are currently 15th in the table, 10 points clear of 18th-placed Fulham, and it is difficult to imagine them being pulled into trouble once again, particularly considering their performances in recent weeks.

Brighton were held to a 1-1 draw at Burnley last weekend but have beaten Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in three of their last five top-flight fixtures and will therefore enter Saturday's clash full of confidence despite Villa's quality.

Potter's team have been better on their travels this season, though, with 16 of their 25 points coming away from the Amex, while they have won just one Premier League game on home soil in 2020-21.

Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring for Aston Villa against Arsenal in the Premier League on February 6, 2021© Reuters

Villa, meanwhile, were not in FA Cup action during the week, meaning that their last match was last weekend's 1-0 win over Arsenal, where Ollie Watkins scored the only goal of the contest early on.

Dean Smith's side have struggled for consistency in recent weeks, losing three and winning three of their last six league matches, but a brilliant campaign to date has seen them collect 35 points from 21 matches to occupy ninth position in the table.

Villa also have two games in hand over the likes of West Ham, Chelsea and Liverpool, placing them in a strong position to potentially claim European football; the gap to fourth-placed Liverpool is actually only five points with two games in hand, which is an indication of how impressive they have been this term.

Only Manchester City (15), Manchester United (13) and Leicester (13) have won more Premier League games than Smith's team (11) this term, and they have been strong on their travels, picking up 19 points from 11 matches.

There have only actually been three previous Premier League meetings between these two sides, and Brighton recorded a 2-1 victory when the pair locked horns at Villa Park back in November.

Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League form: LWDWWD
Brighton & Hove Albion form (all competitions): WDWWDL

Aston Villa Premier League form: LWLWLW


Team News

Brighton and Hove Albion defender Tariq Lamptey pictured on September 20, 2020© Reuters

Brighton will again be without the services of Florin Andone, Tariq Lamptey, Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Solly March on Saturday, but Adam Webster and Davy Propper could be involved following recent injuries.

Potter will make wholesale changes to the team that started against Leicester in the FA Cup, with the likes of Yves Bissouma, Alexis Mac Allister, Neal Maupay and Joel Veltman set to return.

Aaron Connolly was handed a start against Burnley last weekend but Leandro Trossard should be in the XI for this match, while January arrival Moises Caicedo could make the bench for the Seagulls.

As for Villa, Wesley and Kortney Hause remain unavailable for selection, but the visitors are otherwise in excellent shape heading into Saturday's contest.

There are not expected to be many surprises in the away side's starting XI this weekend, with Jack Grealish, Ross Barkley and Bertrand Traore again likely to operate behind Watkins, who scored his 10th Premier League goal of the campaign against the Gunners last weekend.

There could be an alteration in the middle of the park, though, with Douglas Luiz set to replace Marvelous Nakamba, meaning that January arrival Morgan Sanson should start on the bench once again.

Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Sanchez; White, Dunk, Webster; Veltman, Gross, Bissouma, Burn; Mac Allister, Maupay, Trossard

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Luiz, McGinn; Traore, Barkley, Grealish; Watkins


SM words green background

We say: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-2 Aston Villa

Brighton's recent form must be respected, and it would not be a surprise to see Potter's side pick up another positive result this weekend. The Seagulls have been disappointing at home, though, and we fancy a talented Villa to secure a vital three points in their pursuit of a European position.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data



Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


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Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter pictured in February, 2021
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Monday's key events


ATHLETICS
· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

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FOOTBALL
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· Australia, who edged past Team GB's in a seven-goal quarter-final thriller, take on Sweden in the second semi-final (12pm)

CYCLING
· The track cycling schedule gets underway, with Team GB holding a particular interest in the team pursuit qualifying. Laura Kenny is part of the women's team (7.54am), while the men's team includes Ed Clancy (9.02am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
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