Aston Villa host Brighton this weekend and Simon Mail thinks the hosts can continue their excellent start to the season...
"Dean Smith's side were outstanding in the victory at Arsenal and Aston Villa's belief will only have enhanced after this dominant display."
Aston Villa v Brighton
Live on BT Sport 1
Rampant Villa soaring after Arsenal win
Aston Villa were relieved to avoid relegation on the final day of last season but Dean Smith's side have allayed any fears of another struggle. It has been a remarkable transformation for Villa since the return from the first lockdown, with the team setting the early pace this season after winning their first four Premier League matches.
Villa's soaring confidence has been emphasised in two sensational results. A 7-2 drubbing of champions Liverpool did not flatter them with new signing Ollie Watkins scoring a hat-trick. Jack Grealish also scored twice and the England midfielder inspired Villa to a one-sided 3-0 win at Arsenal before the international break. Their fifth win from seven matches lifted them up to sixth in the table and within three points of leaders Leicester.
Potter needs magic touch to claim more wins
Brighton have played reasonably well this season but Graham Potter will be concerned by their meagre points return after the opening eight matches. Their only victory came at Newcastle in September and the team have only mustered six points to leave them two places above the relegation zone. Their performance at home to Manchester United summed up their season, with a dominant display not rewarded as a last-minute goal sent them to a 3-2 defeat.
Potter was brought in to introduce a more appealing style of football to Brighton, than under previous boss Chris Hughton, but he will know the priority needs to be putting more points on the board. Six league outings without a win will be a concern and their goalless draw at home to Burnley in the last game was another frustrating result for Brighton.
Aston Villa are 2.35/4 favourites for this weekend's match and the hosts are worth backing to continue their excellent start to the season. Smith's side were outstanding against Arsenal and their belief will only have enhanced after this dominant display. Villa defeated Brighton last year at home and are a much-improved team this season.
Brighton are 3.259/4 to come away with a second win of the campaign but this looks exceptionally short based on recent results and their record at Villa Park. The visitors have failed to claim a win since September and have not beaten Aston Villa since 1980. Brighton should arguably be bigger odds and there is no interest in siding with the Seagulls.
The draw is trading at 3.7511/4 and Brighton have been held in three of their last four games. Conversely, Aston Villa have yet to draw this season and their attacking outlook, which has seen them score 18 goals in seven games, points towards a winner. The most likely team are Villa and the hosts appeal at a more than fair price.
Grealish is in the form of his life and enhanced his soaring reputation after excelling for England on his first competitive start against Belgium last weekend. The attacking midfielder is the most important player in Aston Villa's team and has already scored four goals and provided five assists during the first couple of months of the season.
His record against Brighton is remarkable and encourages a bet on Grealish to score this weekend.
Grealish netted in all three matches against Brighton last season and the playmaker has scored in his last four appearances against the Seagulls.
In his exceptional current form, Grealish must be licking his lips at the prospect of facing Brighton and is fancied to keep his scoring streak going.
Betfair are offering a free £10 bet if you spend the same amount on a Premier League Same Game Multi. There are plenty of tempting options which can be used on this match with four of Villa's last five matches producing at least three goals. Doubling up Grealish to score and over 2.5 goals enhances the odds to an appealing 4.2.
Brighton have never won away against Aston Villa in all competitions, drawing three and losing nine of their 12 games. The Seagulls have lost all five of their visits to Villa Park in the top-flight.
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