Aston Villa vs Brighton / Two bold teams with bold managers and lofty ambitions

It's difficult not to see similarities between the two as Aston Villa welcome Brighton to Villa Park in the Premier League tomorrow.

Thursday, 17th October 2019, 8:10 pm
An under-strength Brighton were beaten 3-0 by the Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup earlier this season

Albion are just one point and one place above Villa in the league standings in 14th after their first eight matches.

Both were tipped to struggle this season but both will have loftier ambitions after encouraging starts. Both have competed well in the early stages and both will feel they should have more points to show.

Also, and perhaps more importantly, neither manager has been afraid to go on the offensive as Dean Smith and Graham Potter impose their styles on to the Premier League.

"Yes they’re similar,"admitted Brighton head coach Graham Potter. "They want to attack, mostly 4-3-3. Jack Grealish gives them a bit of flexibility. Jack will pick it up between the lines and there’s good rotation between him and (Conor) Hourihane in midfield.

"They want to attack, they want to be positive, they’ve got a direct option with Wesley, the ball can go in the box quickly with him, so I’ve been impressed."

The main difference between the two teams however is the amount spent in the summer. Dean Smith's Villa outlaid around £140m to get their squad Premier League ready following promotion from the Championship. Brighton spent less than half that, as their major signings saw Neal Maupay, Adam Webster and Leandro Trossard join for a combined total of around £55m.

"They signed guys that were with them last year," said Potter. "So even though they’ve spent, they’ve spent on a couple of the loan players that were there in the Championship.

They’ve got (John) McGinn and Grealish in midfield, who I think are really good players, and they’ve added Wesley and a couple other options.

"They’ve got that competition but how they want to play has stayed pretty much the same and their ideas are pretty much the same."

Villa and Albion go into the match on the back of thumping victories. Villa walloped Norwich 5-1 at Carrow Road, while Potter's men enjoyed a memorable 3-0 triumph against Tottenham at the Amex. Any momentum gained was disrupted by the international break but both teams have certainly had their morale boosted.

"After the international break you’re never quite sure how things are going to go," said Potter. "I’m sure Dean will say the same. Aston Villa want to attack, create chances, they score goals so we need to be aware of that and we need to try to nullify that and at the same time, offer our own challenges as well."