Aston Villa vs Brighton five key points: Rob Sanchez suspended, Leo Trossard false nine, Steven Gerrard bounce

Here's a look at the key talking for Brighton and Hove Albion and Aston Villa points going into Saturday's Premier League game at Villa Park

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 5:38 pm
Albion will be searching for their first win since September at Villa Park on Saturday

Seventh placed Brighton head to Aston Villa on Saturday looking for their first win in the league since mid-September.

Here's a look at five talking points going into the game at Villa Park which will see Steven Gerrard at the helm for the first time.

No Robert Sanchez

The Spaniard is serving a one-match suspension after being sent off against Newcastle for taking down Callum Wilson to deny him a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

The goalkeeper hasn't been in his greatest form of late but he will be missed and is an important cog in the way Brighton play out from the back.

Johan Cruyff's Total Football philosophy saw the goalkeeper as the first attacker and the striker as the first defender, which is very much the way Brighton play.

Sanchez is in the top five per cent of goalkeepers in the Premier League for touches per 90 minutes and the top four per cent for passes per 90, according to fbref.com

He's a vital part in the way Brighton build attacks and beat a high opposition press.

So it will be interesting to see if Jason Steele can replicate Sanchez's ability on the ball and be Brighton's first attacker.

Trossard up front

I really enjoyed Trossard's performance against Liverpool in that false nine role, dragging Virgil Van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate out of position and creating space in behind for midfield runners.

He's an intelligent footballer, keeps the ball in tight spaces, links the play up well and isn't afraid of having a shot - he seems the perfect fit for a false nine.

Brighton's midfield is dynamite and by using Trossard to unlock space for them in behind could be the answer to Brighton's lack of fire power in front of goal.

It also seems like the ideal formation to incorporate all of Brighton's midfielders into the same starting eleven.

Lamptey back

The reemergence of Tariq Lamptey is huge for Brighton, especially as Marc Cucurella is on the opposite flank.

These are two top, top young players who have the potential to grow into world class perfrmers in their positions.

One thing I found interesting when Lamptey featured last against Newcastle was that he was the highest Albion player in terms of average positions over the course of 90 minutes. He was the main attacking outlet and is Brighton's biggest weapon.

His pace is exceptional and so is his footballing ability. He should make lightwork of this struggling Aston Villa side.

I think Matt Targett and Matty Cash may be chasing shadows on Saturday.

Gerrard bounce

It's going to be a very different atmosphere at Villa Park compared to the last time these two met back in November of last year, when the country went into lockdown and fans couldn't enter stadiums.

There were no Albion fans to celebrate those two stunning goals from Danny Welbeck and then Solly March which secured all three points for Brighton.

Fast forward a year and Villa have sold Jack Grealish for £100million, invested it back into the squad but have found themselves in terrible form which has led to the sacking of former manager Dean Smith.

Steven Gerrard takes over from Smith and certainly has the ability to get fans off their seats.

Watching him play for Liverpool it was always do or die, and I think that will be instilled in his team's DNA wherever he goes.

When teams play with that never say die attitude it sends the crowd into a frenzy.

Brighton will need to take the sting out of the game, I reckon, in the first 20 minutes like they did against Palace this year.

Kill the atmosphere, kill any momentum, and do a professional job on Villa.

Brighton need to stop the drawing and get their mojo back

Albion's form has slightly dipped since their blistering start to the season.

They've started drawing a lot of games again, which was a common theme as last year.

Albion's draws never do feel like draws, though. There is nuance, definitely.

The draws to Newcastle, Arsenal and Norwich felt like points dropped but the draws to Liverpool and Palace felt like wins.

But if Brighton want to break into the top 10 or even Europe they need to start beating teams around them.

There's no better feeling than winning and Albion will be hoping to get back into that habit on Sunday.