Aston Villa will both be out to end two-game losing runs in the Premier League when they lock horns at the Amex Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Seagulls have had a week to recover from their 3-0 humbling at the hands of Burnley, while Steven Gerrard most recently oversaw a 1-0 home defeat to Watford.
Brighton & Hove Albion manager Graham Potter reacts on February 19, 2022© Reuters
A battle between Wout Weghorst and Dan Burn would have been one for the ages, but with Brighton allowing the 6ft 7in defender to head for Newcastle United, Burnley’s new talisman produced the goods alongside his teammates on the Amex turf.
Weghorst broke the deadlock with a powerful drive on February 19 before some strong hold-up play allowed him to find Josh Brownhill for Burnley’s second goal, and veteran attacker Aaron Lennon rounded off a storming Clarets performance in the second half.
Two consecutive defeats without a single goal has done Brighton’s bid for a top-half finish no favours, but the Seagulls have managed to maintain their ninth-placed ranking for the time being as a resurgent Southampton sit just one point behind.
The future of Graham Potter will continue to be called into question while Brighton seek to establish themselves as a top-10 Premier League side, but points at home have been difficult to come by, with Brighton winning just once in their last nine Amex outings.
Indeed, only four teams in Leeds United, Burnley, Watford and Norwich City have fared worse at home than resident draw specialists Brighton this season, but life at Villa under Steven Gerrard may not be as rosy as initially anticipated.
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard reacts on February 19, 2022© Reuters
Despite sending shockwaves with a mammoth January transfer window, Gerrard has not seen that translate into consistent performances on the pitch, with his side suffering back-to-back 1-0 defeats to relegation candidates in Newcastle United and Watford.
While the Lions struggled to break down a dogged Hornets defence, Watford’s main man Emmanuel Dennis powered home a bullet header from Ismaila Sarr’s cross in the 78th minute to leave the top half of the table more out of reach for their disappointed hosts.
With only one win from their last seven in the Premier League, Gerrard’s Villa head into the weekend down in 13th place – five points off 10th spot occupied by Southampton – and a seven point gap to the drop zone is far from comfortable either.
It is inconceivable to imagine the heavy-spending Lions being dragged into a relegation battle, but they have made a habit of winning one and then losing one away from home recently, which is a good omen based on their recent defeat at the home of Newcastle United.
While Brighton have played out stalemate after stalemate this season, Villa have not drawn away from home in the league since March 2021, and the Lions did ease to a 2-0 win over Potter’s men at Villa Park back in November.