Villa come from behind to win at Brighton | Emery: We are moving up

Unai Emery made it back-to-back wins as Aston Villa manager in the Premier League as a Danny Ings double helped them to a 2-1 win at Brighton.

In-form Brighton grabbed the perfect start when Alexis Mac Allister’s press robbed Douglas Luiz of possession inside the first 90 seconds before sweeping home the opener.

However, Villa shook off their shaky start and equalised when Ings netted from the penalty spot after Lewis Dunk had fouled John McGinn.

Ings scored his second goal of the game after the break, squeezing in from close range after Luiz got revenge on Mac Allister by pressing him to set up the chance for the Villa striker.

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Jamie Carragher was left stunned as VAR failed to award Brighton a penalty for Lucas Digne’s challenge on Solly March

Brighton huffed and puffed in search of a leveller but arguably the best opportunity came via a penalty appeal for a foul on Solly March by Lucas Digne but VAR, despite reviewing, decided against awarding the spot-kick.

The win was Villa’s first away success in the Premier League this season as the switch of manager in the dugout has got their season moving in the right direction ahead of the World Cup.

Emery said: “The players were feeling like they were bottom of the Premier League and two big victories have given us confidence to achieve the next position, looking up. I think the confidence is coming for each player – that’s what results give you.

“I am so proud of our players. We competed very well today. We didn’t play brilliant, but we played like we needed when they scored so quickly.

“Our reaction was amazing and I’m so proud of them.”

Player ratings

Brighton: Sanchez (6), Gross (6), Colwill (7), Dunk (5), Estupinan (6), Caicedo (6), Mac Allister (6), March (6), Lallana (6), Welbeck (6), Trossard (6)

Subs: Enciso (5), Lamptey (7), Undav (6), Veltman (6)

Aston Villa: Martinez (7), Cash (7), Konsa (7), Mings (7), Digne (7), Luiz (7), Kamara (7), Ramsey (7), McGinn (7), Buendia (7), Ings (8)

Subs: Bailey (6), Young (7), Archer (7), Dendoncker (6)

Player of the match: Danny Ings

How Villa broke their away duck…

Danny Ings celebrates putting Villa 2-1 up
Image: Danny Ings scored twice as Aston Villa recorded their first away win of the season

Brighton and Aston Villa had both scored a Premier League-high six goals in the opening 15 minutes of games this season, so an early goal was no surprise when it arrived. From an Aston Villa perspective, though, it was entirely preventable as Luiz was caught napping in possession by Mac Allister and that sent him through on goal. The Argentine, who is heading to Qatar, slotted past his international team-mate Emi Martinez.

Team news

  • Roberto De Zerbi made two changes from the side that beat Wolves. Karou Mitoma, who is in the Japan World Cup squad, was missing through illness. He was replaced by Danny Welbeck in attack. Also, Adam Webster was replaced by on loan Chelsea man Levi Colwill, who made his first ever Premier League start.
  • Unai Emery made three changes from their last Premier League encounter with Manchester United as Boubacar Kamara, John McGinn and Danny Ings were handed starts. Out go Leander Dendoncker, Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins, who was suffering with illness.

There was no panic from the away team despite the early goal and they were level on 20 minutes. Emi Buendia threaded a quality ball through for John McGinn and Dunk was a fraction too late with his covering tackle which was enough to send the Scot tumbling for a penalty. Ings stepped up and netted his 100th career league goal.

Villa remained comfortable at containing Brighton’s flat attacking play, restricting them to just two shots in the first half. That is the fewest they have had in the first half of a home match in the past two seasons.

With Ings and Buendia, Villa certainly carried more attacking threat than the hosts and they found their way in front on 54 minutes. A looping Buendia header which rocketed back off the post was not heeded as a warning by Brighton and Villa pressed in the next attack with Luiz robbing Mac Allister before sending Ings into the box. He dummied his way past Dunk before his low strike from close range deflected past Robert Sanchez.

 Alexis Mac Allister celebrates his early goal for Brighton against Villa
Image: Alexis Mac Allister celebrates his early goal for Brighton against Villa

Villa retreated after taking the lead and stifled Brighton’s attempted attacks with some shrewd game management and tactical fouling that saw seven yellow cards dished out by referee Chris Kavanagh to Villa’s players. Brighton had little answer to Villa’s strong defensive play, though.

March had a decent shout for a penalty waved away when Digne kicked through the back of him but the VAR Jarred Gillett waved away the appeal despite taking a minute to look at the decision.

Brighton’s best moment fell to Levi Colwill as the game ticked down but his attempted header from 10 yards flew off target. Villa comfortably got the job done so the new manager can head into the break knowing he has made a big impact.

Should Brighton have had a penalty?

Sky Sports’ co-commentator Jamie Carragher:

“I can’t believe they haven’t given that as a penalty. He’s just kicked right through the back of his calf.

“I don’t see how that’s not a penalty?!

“It’s nothing to do with the referee, it’s down to VAR. Jarred Gillett is on VAR. I can’t believe he hasn’t asked the referee to go and have a look at it.”

What the managers said…

Aston Villa boss Emery speaking to Sky Sports: “I think we were compact, we had to play together. We had to play being strong, in our structure defensively and offensively.

“We didn’t play with the control of our possession because they push it a lot. They press very good. But we had other things in our capacity to play.

“The players compete very well and we had chances. It is very important to win away. It’s the first match we win away and I think we can be happy.

“But the most important is how we compete – how we take the responsibility and be demanding on ourselves. Be disciplined in the match, and I think that is the [right] way.”

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Unai Emery was proud of his side’s reaction to a poor start against Brighton and conceded it was a relief for Aston Villa to have won their first away game before the World Cup break

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi said: “Before coming to the Premier League I always vote for fair play, but I didn’t see much today and this is the work of the referee.

“We played well. A good game. It wasn’t a top game for us.

“We didn’t deserve to lose this game, for this I’m sorry as I wanted to close the first part of the season on 24 points. But my players gave 100 per cent in terms of attitude and energy.”

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Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi felt his side’s performance should have been enough not to lose to Aston Villa

Opta stats: Ings only getting better

  • Ings has scored four goals in four Premier League games since Steven Gerrard departed Aston Villa, having scored five in 31 under Gerrard.
  • Brighton have lost four of their eight Premier League matches under Roberto De Zerbi (W2 D2), while the Seagulls lost just two of their previous 15 top-flight games under predecessor Graham Potter.
  • Brighton have scored a division-high seven Premier League goals in the opening 15 minutes of games this season.
  • Dunk has conceded a penalty in three of his last four appearances in the Premier League, having not given away a penalty in any of his first 182 games in the competition beforehand.

What’s next?

Brighton visit Southampton on Boxing Day at 3pm after the World Cup break, while Aston Villa host Liverpool on the same day at 5.30pm.


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