Aston Villa welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Villa Park in a huge Premier League clash at both ends of the table.
Depending on how Chelsea fare at Newcastle in the lunchtime kick-off, a win could send Villa up to second temporarily, whilst Brighton know that victory will move six points clear of relegation for at least a few hours.
Bertrand Traore is expected to return for Aston Villa after missing their victory over Arsenal just before the international break with a thigh injury.
Kortney Hause (groin) could also be fit alongside Tom Heaton (fitness) but Wesley (knee) remains absent and has been joined on the sidelines by Bjorn Engels (thigh) and Frederic Guilbert (muscle).
Brighton could welcome back a host of players including Lewis Dunk who has completed a three match ban after his sending off at Crystal Palace last month.
Solly March, Christian Walton (both ankle), Aaron Connolly (hamstring) and Leandro Trossard (adductor) could also return if they can prove their fitness ahead of the match.
Davy Propper is a doubt with a stomach illness whilst Alexis Mac Allister is unlikely to feature after reportedly testing positive for Coronavirus, as Florian Andone and Jose Izquierdo (both knee) remain absent
- Aston Villa bare unbeaten in their last ten meetings against Brighton in all competitions (W6, D4).
- Brighton have never won at Villa Park in 12 trips across all competitions (D3, L9).
- There were nine yellow cards in two meetings between Villa and Brighton last season, with the Seagulls picking up four of their five yellow cards at Villa Park including a double booking for Aaron Mooy.
- No Villa player has made more substitute appearances this season than Bertrand Traore with four of his five league appearances coming from the bench.
- Solly March is the only Brighton player to have scored a headed league goal this season.
Villa were simply superb at Arsenal a fortnight ago from neat creative passing play amongst teammates to utilising a high tempo which exposed Arsenal’s flailing man-marking skills, so should come into this game confident of beating a Brighton team who have never won at Villa Park.
Brighton meanwhile were just as impressive despite enduring a goalless draw against Burnley after wasting many chances, which isn’t good enough for a team who continue their now traditional flirtation with the relegation zone and need to produce a clinical reaction here.
Goals therefore surely are a certainty between these two teams if both teams can pick up from their last performances but I reckon that Villa will just have the edge here.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-1 Brighton
Result: Aston Villa 1-2 Brighton