Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Aston Villa vs Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday; kick-off 3pm.
Steven Gerrard takes charge of his first game as Aston Villa boss and does not expect Douglas Luiz to return in time.
The Brazilian has been out since the end of October due to a hamstring injury, while Gerrard will also be without fellow midfielders Morgan Sanson (illness) and Trezeguet (knee).
Central defender Ezri Konsa is back in contention after serving a one-game ban as Villa bid to halt a five-game losing run.
Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez is suspended following his late red card against Newcastle.
Jason Steele, who plays in the cup competitions for the Seagulls, will therefore be handed his Premier League debut.
Enock Mwepu is out with a muscle strain, but Aaron Connolly is fit following a heel injury.
How to follow
Follow Aston Villa vs Brighton in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel from 5.15pm on Saturday.
Last time out…
Jones Knows prediction
For a punter like myself that bases much of their analysis on strong data trends to come to conclusions, the change of a manager mid-season is always problematic for finding an angle. Unless you have a strong view or an exclusive insight into how the new manager is going to get his message across, it’s hard to rate just how a team will fare over their first few games.
My opinion on Steven Gerrard goes no further than what everybody else knows: he’s an inspirational figure who turned Rangers into champions. Quite how that form-line transfers to the Premier League is difficult to quantify. My gut tells me he’s likely to get a reaction this weekend and make Villa hard to beat but Gerrard will face a tough tactical battle up against Graham Potter. Defences are likely to be on top.
No side have drawn more games 0-0 (19) since Brighton won promotion back in 2017, including the last meeting between these two, and this game could meander down that path.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-0
- Since winning their first Premier League game against Brighton in October 2019, Aston Villa are winless in three against the Seagulls (D2 L1) and haven’t led for a single minute in any of those games.
- In all competitions, Brighton have only won one of their last 12 matches against Aston Villa (D5 L6), a 2-1 away win last season in the Premier League, their first ever away win over Villa.
- Aston Villa have lost each of their last five Premier League games, their longest losing run since a streak of 11 in the 2015-16 campaign. Overall, it’s Aston Villa’s sixth run of at least five consecutive defeats in the Premier League, with only four sides having more (Bolton, Crystal Palace, Fulham and Southampton – all 7).
- Brighton are winless in six Premier League games, though five of these have ended level (L1). Away from home, the Seagulls are one of three teams still unbeaten in the Premier League this term (W2 D3), along with Chelsea and West Ham United.
- Aston Villa have had more goalless draws than any other side in Premier League history (104). Meanwhile, no side has had a higher share of their Premier League games finish 0-0 than Brighton (12% – 19/163).
- Steven Gerrard will be the 13th different permanent manager to take charge of Aston Villa in the Premier League. Only two of the previous 12 have won their first such game for the club (D6 L4), with John Gregory beating Liverpool (Feb 1998) and Gérard Houllier beating Wolves (Sep 2010).
Premier League Preview – Souness on ‘angry’ Liverpool’s point to prove vs Arsenal | Delph’s impressive return |Kane’s confidence boost
Peter Smith is joined by Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness, and football writers Oliver Yew and Ben Grounds to look ahead to the Premier League weekend.
PART 1 | How will Liverpool respond after their first defeat of the season? Graeme Souness explains why they’ll be ‘full throttle’ against an Arsenal side who, he feels, are still a long way off, despite their recent unbeaten run
PART 2 | Oliver Yew and Ben Grounds look at the contrasting impacts of Jack Grealish and Gabriel Jesus this season, and discuss Fabien Delph’s surprise return to form with Everton, ahead of his side’s trip to a club he won two Premier League titles with.
PART 3 | Harry Kane scored seven goals in two games during the international break but will that translate to the Premier League? We talk Tottenham ahead of Antonio Conte’s first home league game in charge, and explain the reasons behind Leeds’ slow start.
Read more here SkySports | News