Six unbeaten: Graham Potter gives honest Brighton assessment after Aston Villa draw

Graham Potter was frustrated and pleased in equal measure after a dominant Brighton were denied by a brilliant performance by Aston keeper Emiliano Martinez

Saturday, 13th February 2021, 11:35 pm
Updated Saturday, 13th February 2021, 11:40 pm
Graham Potter's Brighton have gone unbeaten in six consecutive top-flight games for the first time since a run of eight ending in November 1981.

Martinez, who was linked with a summer move to Brighton before signing for Villa from Arsenal, made a number of crucial saves for the visitors, including an outstretched palm to deny Dan Burn’s header, to ensure Villa left with a clean sheet and a point.

Brighton dominated both possession and chances, having 24 shots on the Aston Villa goal – including nine on target – while Dean Smith’s men had just four attempts of which just one was on the home’s side goal.

Jack Grealish, who has seven goals to his name and had scored four goals in his past five appearances against Brighton, was unable to make a significant impact on the game as he was well shackled by Brighton's Joel Veltman.

The result leaves the Seagulls in 15th place and 11 points clear of Fulham, who occupy the third relegation spot, although they have two games in hand over Graham Potter’s men, while Villa moved up to eighth – three points behind fifth-placed Chelsea with a game in hand.

"It is frustrating but pleasing because the performance was very good and we did everything but score," said Potter. "We had shots, had attacks and reduced Villa's attacking players. We are disappointed with just the one point.

"Their goalkeeper made some really good saves and has been an important player for them.

"That is football but the overall performance - we had enough shots, attacks and goes at them to score, just not that last little luck you need."

Brighton had a chance to take the lead in the 10th minute when Alexis Mac Allister was found in space in the centre of the box, but his powerful header went narrowly over the crossbar.

Martinez was forced into his first save of the game in the 13th minute to deny Joel Veltman’s low drive from crossing the line.

Mac Allister had another chance from a free-kick just outside the area midway through the first half, but his curled effort again went over Martinez’s goal.

Just before half-time, Martinez made two last-ditch saves to deny first Leandro Trossard’s angled drive and then just managed to palm a Burn header behind, with the defender just inches away from his first club goal.

Brighton started the second half in almost identical fashion to the first with Mac Allister again testing Martinez with a shot and the goalkeeper was able to make the low save with his legs following a deflection.

With the home side still looking the more likely to break the deadlock, Trossard had two more chances, with his second fired into the side-netting in the 60th minute.

Martinez was called upon again with just under 10 minutes left in the match, stopping Danny Welbeck from turning home Adam Lallana’s cross at the near post to keep the scores level and ensure Villa left with a point.

Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings said: "Disappointed with the performance. We lacked intensity all night.

"Happy when not at it, we didn't lose. Keeper has made some great saves and the defenders made some great blocks.

"Brighton will be more disappointed than us. Matyinez is brilliant. The confidence he instils in us is brilliant. Very good to play in front of him.

"It was always about continuing to improve on last season. We are getting there, we are not the finished product. We still have a long way to go."