Aston Villa made it 10 wins in the Premier League in a row at Villa Park for the first time in their history with a very comfortable 6-1 win over Brighton.
It was a game that was expected to be a bigger test than it was and I am sure the visitors will move on from this and go on to have a great season. Unai Emery tactically got it right on the day in what was arguably their finest performance of the campaign so far.
Brighton along with Villa and Newcastle are seen as the biggest threats to the so-called big 6 in the Premier League and all three have played each other now this season with the home team coming out comfortably on top. It just goes to show how important it is to make your home ground a fortress.
Emery named the same side that started in the 0-1 win over Chelsea last weekend in the Premier League’s early kick-off.
The game started as you would have expected with both sides comfortably passing the ball around while trying to draw each other out.
The visitors had the first real opportunity when Billy Gilmour picked out Pervis Estupiñán but the Ecuador International hit his shot straight at Emiliano Martínez in the Villa goal.
Villa then broke the deadlock after 14 minutes and blew Brighton away with a 12-minute goal blitz.
Matty Cash was able to cutback the ball for forward Ollie Watkins who was able to open the scoring from close range.
Moments later Moussa Diaby was able to jump on a misplaced pass by Joël Veltman who then played Watkins through and he scored his second of the afternoon with a clear finish at the near post.
The visitors were on the ropes and five minutes later the game was as good as over when Villa scored a third. Diaby’s shot, which was heading wide, took a deflection off Estupiñán and into the back of the net.
Roberto De Zerbi responded at half-time by making three changes. Estupiñán, Danny Welbeck and Evan Ferguson were replaced by João Pedro, Ansu Fati and Tariq Lamptey and it looked to pay off with the Seagulls on the front foot.
Substitute Fati pulled one back for the visitors after a lengthy VAR check.
Just as Brighton looked to push on, Villa caught them off guard with a fourth goal when John McGinn picked out Watkins and the striker’s deflected effort killed off any hopes of a comeback.
Jacob Ramsey then made it 5 after 85 minutes when he beat two Brighton players before slotting the ball past Jason Steele from the edge of the box.
Douglas Luiz completed the route deep into extra time when Watkins was denied his fourth and the ball fell to the Brazilian to calmly slot home and make it 6-1.
“I’m very happy. I think we feel a very good connection with our supporters every match – today we showed it. Defensively and offensively, we’re trying to keep it consistent over 90 minutes these three points for the table are very important.
“Of course, when you’re winning matches in a row you feel confidence, but you still have to win again and again. That’s what we’re trying to do.
“We needed to adapt to them, but when we had time to keep possession we did that as well. When we scored the second, third and fourth goals, we were feeling very comfortable.
“We beat Chelsea and lost here to Everton (in the Carabao Cup). We’re trying to feel more and more comfortable. The Premier League and Europe is very important for us.”
Villa will welcome European football back to Villa Park on Thursday night when they take on Bosnian side HŠK Zrinjski Mostar in the Europa Conference League.
Next up in the Premier League is a trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers next Sunday.