Brighton 1-1 Villa: Grealish to the rescue

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Jack Grealish scores against Brighton

Aston Villa took a well-earned point away from Brighton with Jack Grealish starring once again.

Grealish notched his 15th goal contribution of the season on the south coast to level the scores after Leandro Trossard broke the deadlock.

Manchester City’s 6-1 win at Villa Park drew five changes from Dean Smith as Villa travelled to The Amex for the second time this season.

Including a debut for Pepe Reina, Marvelous Nakamba, Matt Targett, Frederic Guilbert and Trezeguet all came back into the fold.

First-half struggles

Despite the alterations in personnel, Villa struggled to get going in the first period with much of the ball staying with hosts Brighton. The Seagulls had little to show for their dominance before the 37th minute.

As Neal Maupay pounced on Kortney Hause’s mistake in the middle of the park, the Frenchman drove towards the heart of Villa’s defence before sliding Trossard in on goal. The Belgian took the ball in his stride and thumped across Reina’s far post to hand Brighton a first-half advantage.

In contrast to much of the first period, Villa started the second half in control of the ball and tempo of the play in which they enjoyed the lions share of, despite Villa having the fifth least average share of possession in games this season.

Impact

Vassilev was an impact sub against BrightonSmith brought on youngster Indiana Vassilev for his Premier League debut, and with only four touches in the game, he made an impact. Running in behind and playing on the shoulder of a sturdy Brighton backline was the movement Villa needed to carve out potential openings.

The American’s clever incisions were to thank for the space that Grealish found outside the box. With Douglas Luiz dispossessing Brighton in midfield, he found Villa’s captain in enough space to touch the ball onto his weaker left side, but not that you’d know it, as Grealish slammed the ball past Mathew Ryan.

Rather quiet on his league debut for Villa, Reina was called into action deep into the second half as he acrobatically palmed Maupay’s scissor kick wide of the post.

Smith will turn his immediate attention back to the transfer market, with a deal for Mbwana Samatta close before hosting Watford on Tuesday.

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