Aston Villa will take on Brighton at the Amex Stadium in the Premier League with much of the talk this week being about a 37-year-old goalkeeper. Pepe Reina joined Villa on loan from A.C Milan on Monday and seems eager to impress.
The ‘keeper stated this week that he is prepared to give everything in preparation for our game against Brighton.
Reina said: “I can’t wait to be on the pitch and give everything for the team.”
Dean Smith has a decision to make following the 1-6 defeat to Manchester City last weekend. Many have disregarded the game and want to move on but I am expecting changes from the Villa boss starting with Ørjan Nyland being replaced by Reina.
A win for Villa would drag Brighton into the relegation fight as they would both be level on 24 points. Equally The Seagulls will see it as an opportunity to build a gap between them and the bottom three.
Just like Villa, Graham Potter’s men are better at home than they are on the road. Sixteen of their twenty-four points have come at the Amex in this season’s Premier League campaign. Villa will be hoping the Man City thumping was a one-off and that they can build on their last away win at Burnley.
TEAM NEWS & INJURY UPDATE
Many Aston Villa supporters are very disappointed that we will approach a third game without a fit striker. Both Wesley (ACL) and Keinan Davis (thigh) are injured while Jonathan Kodjia appears to be on his way out of the club.
Smith will have to make a decision on whether he sticks with Anwar El Ghazi upfront or if he gives a full debut to 18-year-old American, Indiana Vassilev.
Matt Targett (thigh) could make a return and replace Neil Taylor and left wing-back. Tom Heaton (ACL), Jed Steer (calf) and John McGinn (ankle) are still on the sidelines.
Brighton could be handed a boost heading into this big game with the return of four first-team players. Aaron Mooy (knee), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (unknown), Adam Webster (knock) and Shane Duffy (groin) could all be available for selection following injury layoffs.
Dan Burn (shoulder) and Jose Izquierdo (knee) are not expected to return to training until February.
HEAD TO HEAD STATISTICS
BRIGHTON KEY PLAYERS
It is no real surprise when I pinpoint Neal Maupay. Many Aston Villa supporters called for him to be signed in the summer even though, at the time, I wasn’t convinced. Since his £19.8million move from Brentford, he has proved me wrong, scoring seven goals so far this season.
He is one Dean Smith will know well from when they worked together at Brentford. Hopefully, our defence can keep him quiet tomorrow!
THOUGHTS ON BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION FC
I have no real likes or dislikes about Brighton. From the outside, their fans come across similar to those at Bournemouth – just enjoying the Premier League journey. I actually tipped them as one side to go down when they appointed Graham Potter but I think they will be Ok this season. There are certainly three sides worse off than The Seagulls in the Premier League this season, Villa being one – possibly?
(3-4-2-1) Reina; Konsa, Chester, Mings; Targett, Drinkwater, Nakamba, Guilbert; Trezeguet, Grealish; El Ghazi.
I think there has been too much talk this week about Reina for him not to start. James Chester has a very good chance of coming into the side following the result last weekend and let’s be honest, we all want the club captain to make a successful return, don’t we?
Danny Drinkwater will no doubt keep his place despite a poor debut as Smith has openly stated he needs match fitness and the only way to get that is by playing games. Douglas Luiz and Conor Hourihane seemed to really struggle last week so Marvelous Nakamba could come in to replace him.
The front three pretty much explains itself. We don’t really have many other options!
Kick-off: 3.00 pm.
Referee: Andrew Madley
Tickets: Sold out
Match Chat: Forum