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Game #5528

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Attendance: 30,551

Drew

Premier League

18th (-)

Brighton & Hove Albion

Last 5: ๐ŸŸฉ ๐ŸŸฅ ๐ŸŸจ ๐ŸŸฅ ๐ŸŸจ

AMEX Stadium

Villa rescue a draw at the AMEX thanks to a Jack Grealish special.

Brighton & Hove Albion

1-1

Aston Villa

Assist(s) | Douglas Luiz | 75' |

KEY MAN

Jack Grealish celebrates his stunning 75' equaliser, 18 January 2020

PREVIOUS MATCH

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MATCH TIMELINE

๐ŸŸข | 1โ€™ Debut, Pepe Reina
๐ŸŸจ | 14โ€™ Booking, Danny Drinkwater for a bad foul
๐Ÿฅ… | 38โ€™ Goal, 0-1, (Brighton & Hove Albion), Leandro Trossard
๐Ÿ•’ | HT Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Aston Villa
๐Ÿ” | 67โ€™ Sub off, Trรฉzรฉguet, Sub on, Indiana Vassilev
๐Ÿ” | 68โ€™ Sub off, Danny Drinkwater, Sub on, Douglas Luiz
โšฝ | 75โ€™ Goal, 1-1, Jack Grealish, Assist by Douglas Luiz
๐ŸŸจ | 81 Booking, Marvelous Nakamba for a bad foul
๐Ÿ” | 86โ€™ Sub off, Marvelous Nakamba, Sub on, Conor Hourihane
๐ŸŸจ | 90โ€™+5 Booking, Conor Hourihane for a bad foul
๐Ÿ•’ | FT Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Aston Villa

ON THIS DAY

Goalkeeper Pepe Reina makes his Villa debut aged 37 after joining on loan from AC Milan for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

Aston Villa

European Cup / Champions League: ๐Ÿ†
League Champions: ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ† ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ†
FA Cup Winners: ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ† ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ†
League Cup Winners: ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ†
Last Trophy: 1995-96

Brighton & Hove Albion

European Cup / Champions League: โŒ
League Champions: โŒ
FA Cup Winners: โŒ
League Cup Winners: โŒ
Last Trophy: โŒ

FIXTURE HISTORY

Brighton & Hove Albion

Previous 5 vs. Brighton: ๐ŸŸฉ ๐ŸŸจ ๐ŸŸจ ๐ŸŸฉ ๐ŸŸฉ

FIXTURE DETAILS

Season | 2019-20 |
Matchday | #29 |
League Game | #23 |
Manager Game | #67 |
Saturday, 18 January 2020

MATCH SUMMARY

Manager: Dean Smith | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | West Bromwich, 2018-2021
Referee:ย Andy Madley | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | Huddersfield, 2011-
Kick off: 3.00pm
HT Score: ๐ŸŸฅ 0-1
FT Score: ๐ŸŸจ 1-1
FT Result: ๐ŸŸจ Drew
Last 5: ๐ŸŸฉ ๐ŸŸฅ ๐ŸŸจ ๐ŸŸฅ ๐ŸŸจ

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee:ย Andy Madley | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | Huddersfield, 2011-
Previous 5: ๐ŸŸฉ ๐ŸŸฉ ๐ŸŸฅ ๐ŸŸฉ ๐ŸŸฉ
Last Match: ๐ŸŸฉ 5 Oct 19, Villa 5-1 Norwich (a)
Cards: ๐ŸŸจ ๐ŸŸจ ๐ŸŸจ ๐ŸŸจ ๐ŸŸจ ๐ŸŸจ
Assistants: Adrian Holmes, Simon Beck

CARDS

Villa

๐ŸŸจ ๐ŸŸจ ๐ŸŸจ

Brighton & Hove Albion

๐ŸŸจ ๐ŸŸจ ๐ŸŸจ

Andy Madley

TEAM NEWS

New loan signing Pepe Reina makes his debut following his return to English football earlier this week as ร˜rjan Nyland drops to the bench after conceding 6 on his Premier League debut in the last game.

Fellow debutant of the previous week who suffered an equally chastening first appearance, Danny Drinkwater, keeps his place.

Nyland, Neil Taylor, Douglas Luiz, Conor Hourihane are benched and Ahmed Elmohamady drops from the squad entirely in response to the heavy defeat to the reigning champions.

In their places Marvelous Nakamba, Trรฉzรฉguet and Frรฉdรฉric Guilbert are recalled and Matt Targett returns after injury.

For the third consecutive game Villa line up without a recognised centre forward.

TEAM STATS

Starting XI Average Age: | 26.44 |
Substitute Average Age: | 23.21 |
Oldest Player: GK Pepe Reina | ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ | 37.41 |
Youngest Player: CB Ezri Konsa | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | 22.25 |

MANAGER

MANAGER

Dean Smith | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ |

Graham Potter | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ |

Aston Villa

GK Pepe Reina | ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ | ๐ŸŸข |
RB Frรฉdรฉric Guilbert | ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท |
CB Ezri Konsa | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ |
CB Kortney Hause | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ |
CB Tyrone Mings | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ |
LB Matt Targett | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ |
M Danny Drinkwater | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | ๐ŸŸจ | ๐Ÿ” |
M Marvelous Nakamba | ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ผ | ๐ŸŸจ | ๐Ÿ” |
M Jack Grealish | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | โšฝ |
W Anwar El Ghazi | ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ |
W Trรฉzรฉguet | ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ | ๐Ÿ” |

Brighton & Hove Albion

GK Matthew Ryan | ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ |
CB Lewis Dunk | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | ๐ŸŸจ |
CB Adam Webster | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | ๐ŸŸจ |
CB Bernado | ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท |
M Dale Stephens | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ |
M Aaron Mooy | ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ | ๐Ÿ” |
M Davy Prรถpper | ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ |
M Steven Alzate | ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ด |
W Leandro Trossard | ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช | โšฝ | ๐Ÿ” |
CF Aaron Connolly | ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช | ๐Ÿ” |
CF Neal Maupay | ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท | ๐ŸŸจ |

SUBSTITUTES

๐Ÿ” W Indiana Vassilev | ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ | for W Trรฉzรฉguet | ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ | 67' |
๐Ÿ” M Douglas Luiz | ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท | ๐Ÿ”ฅ | for M Danny Drinkwater | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | 68' |
๐Ÿ” M Conor Hourihane | ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช | ๐ŸŸจ | for M Marvelous Nakamba | ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ผ | 86' |

SUBSTITUTES

๐Ÿ” | RB Martรญn Montoya | ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ | for CF Aaron Connolly | ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช | 68โ€™ |
๐Ÿ” | M Pascal GroรŸ | ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช | for M Aaron Mooy | ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ | 81โ€™ |
๐Ÿ” | CF Glenn Murray | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | for W Leandro Trossard | ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช | 81โ€™ |

UNUSED SUBSTITUTES

GK ร˜rjan Nyland | ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด |
CB James Chester | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ท๓ ฌ๓ ณ๓ ฟ |
LB Neil Taylor | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ท๓ ฌ๓ ณ๓ ฟ |
M Henri Lansbury | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ |

UNUSED SUBSTITUTES

GK David Button | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ |
CB Shane Duffy | ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช |
M Yves Bissouma | ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฑ |
W Alireza Jahanbakhsh | ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ท |

SQUAD STATS

1st XI Cost: ยฃ81.71m
Home Nation ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ท๓ ฌ๓ ณ๓ ฟ ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง : 6/11
Homegrown: 1/11
Subs Cost: ยฃ18.27m
Team Cost: ยฃ99.98m
Squad Cost: ยฃ114.11m
Home Nation ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ท๓ ฌ๓ ณ๓ ฟ ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง : 9/18
Homegrown: 1/18

MATCHDAY SQUAD

GK ร˜rjan Nyland | ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด | ยฃ2.70m |
GK Pepe Reina | ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ | Loan |

LB Matt Targett | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | ยฃ14.04m |
RB Frรฉdรฉric Guilbert | ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท | ยฃ4.50m |
LB Neil Taylor | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ท๓ ฌ๓ ณ๓ ฟ | Exchange |

CB Ezri Konsa | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | ยฃ11.97m |
CB Kortney Hause | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | ยฃ2.70m |
CB Tyrone Mings | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | ยฃ20.60m |
CB James Chester | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ท๓ ฌ๓ ณ๓ ฟ | ยฃ8.37m |

M Douglas Luiz | ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท | ยฃ15.12m |
M Marvelous Nakamba | ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ผ | ยฃ10.80m |
M Conor Hourihane | ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช | ยฃ3.15m |
M Henri Lansbury | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | ยฃ3.06m |
M Jack Grealish | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | Youth |
M Danny Drinkwater | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | Loan |

W Trรฉzรฉguet | ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ | ยฃ9.00m |
W Anwar El Ghazi | ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ | ยฃ8.10m |
W Indiana Vassilev | ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ | Free |

SQUAD STATS

1st XI Cost: ยฃ82.87m
Home Nation ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ท๓ ฌ๓ ณ๓ ฟ ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง : 3/11
Homegrown: 2/11
Subs Cost: ยฃ11.71m
Team Cost: ยฃ94.58m
Squad Cost: ยฃ134.36m
Home Nation ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ท๓ ฌ๓ ณ๓ ฟ ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง : 5/18
Homegrown: 2/18

MATCHDAY SQUAD

GK Matthew Ryan | ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ | ยฃ5.15m |
GK David Button | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | ยฃ3.86m |

RB Martรญn Montoya | ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ | ยฃ6.01m |

CB Adam Webster | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | ยฃ20.00m |
CB Bernado | ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท | ยฃ8.58m |
CB Shane Duffy | ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช | ยฃ4.50m |
CB Lewis Dunk | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | Youth |

M Yves Bissouma | ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฑ | ยฃ15.21m |
M Davy Prรถpper | ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ | ยฃ11.15m |
M Aaron Mooy | ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ | ยฃ2.83m |
M Pascal GroรŸ | ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช | ยฃ2.70m |
M Steven Alzate | ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ด | ยฃ0.09m |

W Alireza Jahanbakhsh | ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ท | ยฃ16.31m |
W Leandro Trossard | ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช | ยฃ13.35m |

CF Neal Maupay ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท | ยฃ20.00m |
CF Glenn Murray | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | ยฃ3.00m |
CF Aaron Connolly | ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช | Youth |

UNAVAILABLE

Injury | 5 |
CF Keinan Davis | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | Hamstring
GK Jed Steer | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | Hamstring
M John McGinn | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ | Ankle
GK Tom Heaton | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | Knee, ACL
CF Wesley | ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท | Knee, ACL

Out on Loan | 6 |
RB James Bree | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | Luton
M Jake Doyle-Hayes | ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช | Cheltenham
W Andrรฉ Green | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | Charlton
CF Rushian Hepburn-Murphy | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | Derby
CF Scott Hogan | ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช | Stoke
F Callum Oโ€™Hare | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ | Coventry

Not Selected | 6 |
GK Lovre Kaliniฤ‡ | ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท |
LB Neil Taylor | ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ท๓ ฌ๓ ณ๓ ฟ |
RB Ahmed Elmohamady | ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ |
CB Bjรถrn Engels | ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช |
W Jota | ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ |
CF Jonathan Kodjia | ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฎ |

UNAVAILABLE

Not Recorded

Player Abbreviations:

GK : Goalkeeper

LB, RB, FB : Left Back, Right Back, Full Back

CB, D : Centre Back, Defender

M, W : Midfielder. Winger

F, CF : Forward, Centre Forward

๐ŸŸข : Debut ๐Ÿ”ด : Final Game

Symbols:

โšฝ | Goal
๐Ÿ”ฅ | Assist
๐Ÿ” | Substitution

๐ŸŸจ | Booking

๐ŸŸฅ | Sending off

๐Ÿ†˜ | Poor refereeing performance

DEBUT APPEARANCES

GK Pepe Reina | ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ |

FINAL APPEARANCES

MATCH STATS

Possession F | 44%
Possession A | 56%
Shots F | 8
Shots A | 10
Shots on Target F | 3
Shots on Target A | 2
Corners F | 4
Corners A | 3
Fouls F | 13
Fouls A | 11

TABLE

2021-22 Matchweek 38.jpg

PROGRAMME

Quotation Marks.png

MATCHDAY QUOTES

*Villa boss Dean Smith*

โ€œI thought the game was a tale of two halves. We were a little bit too passive in our pressing and not good enough on the ball in the first half. But we played well second half and deserved that goal.

โ€œMan City are another level to a lot of the other teams in this league. These are the teams, Brighton, Watford on Tuesday, weโ€™ve got Bournemouth coming up as well, that will define our season.โ€

*BBC Sport*
*Saturday, 18 January 2020*

Dean Smith says debutant Pepe Reinaโ€™s โ€œcharismaโ€ rubbed off on his Aston Villa players after they fought back from 1-0 down to claim a point at Brighton.

The 37-year-old, who joined on loan from AC Milan earlier this week, made a superb late save to deny Neal Maupay and preserve a point for Villa, who had equalised through Jack Grealishโ€™s fine strike with 15 minutes left.

โ€œThe players know that they have a calm head behind them,โ€ Smith said of the former Liverpool goalkeeper. โ€œHis charisma is rubbing off on people because our back-three were superb in the second half.โ€

Brighton had taken the lead in the first half when Leandro Trossard hit a first-time shot into the corner after a fine run by Maupay.

The former Brentford striker was then involved in an angry confrontation with Ezri Konsa at the final whistle, in what was a fiery conclusion to a game that rarely sparked into life.

Aston Villa remain in the relegation zone despite the draw. Brighton stay 14th but are now three points clear of the bottom three.

Grealish and Reina shine for Villa

Villa boss Smith wanted a reaction from his players after their humbling 6-1 defeat by Manchester City last weekend, their worst result since 2016.

He made five changes to his side, including a debut in goal Reina, who could do little to stop Trossardโ€™s fine opener.

But with a ยฃ10m deal for Genk striker Mbwana Samatta yet to be completed, Villa started the match without a recognised centre-forward for the third game in a row.

Anwar El Ghazi was pushed furthest forward, but struggled to get much from Adam Webster and Lewis Dunk.

That placed most of the creative burden on Grealish, who once again looked the player most likely to change the game for the visitors.

The 24-year-old had a great chance to open the scoring in the first half but he drove the ball wide from the edge of the area after a breakaway from the halfway line.

But with the game drifting away from Villa in the second half, he showed a moment of genuine quality to control Douglas Luizโ€™s pass, shimmy away from the defender before firing beyond Mat Ryan for his ninth goal of the season.

โ€œItโ€™s a super ball and a super strike from Jack,โ€ said Smith. โ€œHeโ€™s in great goalscoring form; heโ€™s in great form full stop and it just shows the sort of player he is.

โ€œAt the moment everyone knows we are playing without a recognised striker and it is down to Grealish, Trezeguet and Anwar El Ghazi to come up trumps with goals and they are managing to do that.โ€

Brighton struggle in front of goal

Brighton enjoyed the better of possession and made most of the running in the first half, but they showed a lack of composure in the final third, highlighted by the fact they could only manage two shots on target all game.

They scored with their first attempt, with the lively Maupay central in the build-up.

The former Brentford striker went on a mazy run from just inside the Aston Villa half before teeing up Trossard, who fired an unstoppable drive across Reina into the bottom corner for his third goal of the season.

Maupay and Aaron Connolly formed a hard-working strike partnership and they hassled and harried the Villa defence all afternoon, but without really testing Reina until the closing stages.

That lack of cutting edge cost them, with Grealishโ€™s late equaliser meaning Brighton have now dropped 14 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season.

This game marked the start of a run of matches against sides around Brighton in the table, with Bournemouth, West Ham and Watford lying in wait in the next few weeks.

Graham Potter has been praised for the way he has developed Brightonโ€™s playing style, but he needs a greater attacking threat from his side in those matches if they are to pull themselves away from danger.

Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith, speaking to BBC Match of the Day:

โ€œI thought the game was a tale of two halves. We were a little bit too passive in our pressing and not good enough on the ball in the first half. But we played well second half and deserved that goal.

On responding to Manchester City defeat: โ€œMan City are another level to a lot of the other teams in this league. These are the teams, Brighton, Watford on Tuesday, weโ€™ve got Bournemouth coming up as well, that will define our season.โ€
---
*The Guardian*
*Saturday, 18 January 2020*

Jack Grealishโ€™s strike earns Aston Villa a priceless point at Brighton

After the deluge, a draw that gives Aston Villa hope that the tide is turning in their season. Dean Smithโ€™s side came into this game on the back of a 6-1 defeat by Manchester City and could have gone under again after Leandro Trossard fired Brighton into the lead. Instead they rallied and earned an equaliser thanks to a wonderful goal by Jack Grealish.

A typically excellent strike from their talisman was only one of the aspects of this game from which Villa could take encouragement, with others being their combativeness, a terrific late save from their new goalkeeper, Pepe Reina, and the fact that the draw was achieved without a recognised striker. That vacancy will soon be filled, as the Tanzanian forward Mbwana Samatta has passed a medical as the club puts the finishing touches to his ยฃ8.5m transfer from Genk. โ€œThe paperwork is being ticked off,โ€ said Smith.

Brighton, meanwhile, were left to reflect on another match in which they were superior in spells but failed to profit. They remain just three points ahead of Villa and at risk of replacing them in the relegation zone if they do not find a way of translating periods of promising play into regular rewards. โ€œYou canโ€™t just win by playing well, you have to be able to suffer,โ€ said Graham Potter.

Brighton had the advantage of being able to field a balanced lineup here. Villa, by contrast, had to start without a specialist striker for the third match in a row, with Anwar El Ghazi again asked to do his best impersonation of a natural striker. He is game but plainly no predator.

Villa have had problems at the other end, too, but Reina helped bring solidity to a backline that was blown apart by City last Sunday. The 37-year-old former Liverpool player was put straight into the starting lineup here for his first game since October, when he made his solitary outing for his parent club, Milan, and his first Premier League appearance since he kept a clean sheet for Liverpool, against Queens Park Rangers in May 2013.

For a while Reina may have fancied his chances of marking his Villa debut with a clean sheet. He had little to do in the opening minutes, other than dash off his line to punch the ball clear as Aaron Connolly tried to make the most of a cross from Trossard.

Smith had demanded more aggression from his team after being angered by their timidity against City, when Villa committed five fouls. They equalled that tally in the first half-hour here, with Danny Drinkwater earning a booking as early as the 14th minute for crunching into Neal Maupay.

Brighton still had the majority of possession but there was a regrettable lack of quality from both sides in an opening half-hour that brought to mind a tug-of-war between two earnest oafs of equal weight. Villa created the first really clear chance thanks to a hopeful pass forward from the back in the 37th minute. Grealish latched on to it and held off two defenders as he made his way into the box. But he then shot wide from 16 yards.

One minute later, as if to compound the pain of that miss, Trossard showed him how it should have been done. Maupay drove from midfield before reaching the edge of the D and slipping the ball to Trossard, who lashed the ball across Reina and into the far corner.

Villa have had the tendency to disintegrate after conceding this season but here they rebelled. But they did not look like equalising until Smith made a double substitution in the 67th minute. He introduced the 18-year-old American striker Indiana Vassilev for his first Premier League appearance and replaced Drinkwater with Douglas Luiz.

The switch soon paid off with the help of negligent defending. When Douglas Luiz angled a fine pass into the box from the right touchline, Grealish was somehow free to collect it. This time the finish was glorious, as he thrashed a left-footed shot past Mat Ryan from 16 yards. The goal gave Villa an adrenaline rush. But Brighton would have snatched a late winner through Maupay if not for a plunging one-handed save by Reina.