The Villa Appetiser: Aston Villa v Brighton 2017
A disappointing defeat at Blackburn was a terrible way for our last away day of the season to pan out, but it’s sadly typical of Villa’s first season in the Championship.
When you can only force ONE corner in a game (as they also did home against the Blues), what chance do you have?
It’s a fairly meaningless match for Villa, who can now finish no higher than 11th, but it’s a chance for Brighton to clinch the title.
Bruce on Villa match
“It’s still a great game for us.
“Brighton will want to come and beat us to win the Championship. That’ll be the measure.
“You look back to the game down there and it’s arguably the best we’ve played – certainly away from home.
“It’s a good game for everybody.
“I want to say a big thank you to the supporters.
“They’re incredible and far more deserving than what we saw last week. For that many to travel to Blackburn for a nothing game, proved what this club is, we didn’t kick a ball for them.
“It’ll be nice to finish at home with something on the game – let’s go and see if we can sign off in a bit of style.”
Hughton on winning the title
“It’s hugely important, but of course it’s not the main ambition of this season, we’ve already achieved that [promotion].
“But from the moment we achieved our goal, very quickly after that, it was about winning the title.
“We’ve been in the top two for most of the season, it’s really been ourselves and Newcastle. We all felt that the team that finished closest to Newcastle would be the team that got promoted.
“We’ve got one last opportunity, but I do think there’ll be that tinge of disappointment if we’re not able to do it.”
and on Bruce
“He’s brought in some good players and it’s quite obvious that he’s starting to put his stamp on the group of players that he’s got.
“They had a really good start when he first came in, then a slight dip, but they’ve recently gone on a very good run, apart from last week’s result [1-0 loss at Blackburn].
“Steve’s [Bruce] a top manager. He knows how to get promotion from this division, and looking at next season, with the teams going down and the teams that will have a really good go, that’s probably why I’m even more delighted that we’ve managed to do it this season.
“If we thought the Championship was tough this season, I think it will be even tougher next year.”
23rd Jan 2010 Villa 3 Brighton 2
Goals from Delfouneso, Young and Delph helped Villa to the win while Tommy Elphick scored for Brighton in this FA Cup clash.
Villa – Last five matches at home: W 4, L 1
Brighton – Last five matches away: W 3, L 2
One to Watch
Anthony Knockaert – the ex-Leicester man has been directly involved in more league goals (23) than any other Championship midfielder this season (15 goals, 8 assists).
Villa have never lost at home to Brighton in any competition in 10 meetings
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Villa have had a disappointing season, but we have had some rotten luck with injuries.
The cruel twist of Kodjia’s injury after having his initial ban reduced was yet another unfortunate event for Villa, and it now turns out we won’t have Kodjia for the start of next season.
Among the other absentees will likely be Hutton and Jedinak; we never seem to pick up points without the Australian midfielder so a day of Brighton celebration looks to be on the cards.
Our away performance at Brighton earlier this season was one of our best and promised more than the general displays since then.
Bruce has been keen to talk transfers this week, and he’s clearly not happy with the squad. On the basis of last week’s performance, some of the players are also looking to next season…
To lose and see Brighton celebrating promotion as champions at Villa Park would be the final insult in a mediocre season.
“It’ll be nice to finish at home with something on the game – let’s go and see if we can sign off in a bit of style.” – BRUCE ON Sunday’S GAME
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
There’s a sense of ‘job done’ for the Villa players on the basis of recent defeats, even if the job is ‘realising we can’t make the play-offs and finishing mid-table’.
Brighton players on the other hand would be forgiven for taking their foot off the gas. Their aim of promotion has already been achieved; going up as Champions would be a nice bonus.
Hughton has insisted that this isn’t how the players are feeling, but recent defeats to Norwich and Bristol City are signs that perhaps the earlier driving motivation is no longer there. You can’t blame them.
The Brighton manager has done a terrific job since his arrival at the club, but has an unusual record against Villa.
His first match against us in 2010 was a 6-0 thrashing as Newcastle boss. Since then however, he has not won against us in six encounters in all competitions.
In addition to that, our home form has been fairly solid this season, and we’ve recorded six clean sheets (all in victories) out of our last seven games at Villa Park.
We’ve never lost at home to Brighton in any competition in 10 meetings, and the last time Brighton won against Villa was a 1-0 win at the Goldstone Ground in December 1980, a victory which came in the top-flight…
Only one of the teams on Sunday is heading there at the moment, but hopefully we can end the season on a reasonably positive note.
A free beer from Tony Xia could help!
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Yes, new podcast episode just in before the Brighton game!