The Villa Match Report – Aston Villa 6 Brighton 1
In a Word
‘Constantly wanting more.’
The Carter Report
By Rob Carter
The media had described this clash as ‘The best of the rest’, with Villa & Brighton being seen as two potential disruptors to the established Premier League elite. Most anticipated an even clash between the European hopefuls.
Set against the backdrop of the disappointing experience against Everton in the Carabao Cup in midweek (on and off the pitch), the game had the feeling of what in boxing parlance is known as a ‘gut-check’; a chance to see how Villa would fare against one of the most exciting and dangerous sides in the league. A team that had been 100% on their travels, including a recent 3-1 win at Old Trafford.
The Holte End atmosphere was good, despite the early kick-off, which can often dampen spirits. Comfortable late September temperatures greeted the teams at kick-off, and the home side soon set about their visitors in true Unai Emery Style, giving them no room to breathe, and looking threatening on the break.
The shins of your correspondent were once again bruised on the seats of the Lower Holte End, as Ollie Watkins got on the end of an excellent Matty Cash cross to sweep Villa ahead. It wasn’t long before the shins sustained further damage amidst incredible scenes on the Holte, as the home side breezed into a 3-0 lead, courtesy of another Watkins strike, and an own goal from Pervis Estupinan.
The mood on the concourses at half-time was lively, no need for velvet ropes, lanyards and hostesses in L5, as a celebratory pint was procured in record time and consumed before the second half began.
Despite the inevitable early Brighton goal, the result never seemed in doubt, with the midfield continuing to strangle the game into submission (helped by a clever substitution by Emery, with Jacob Ramsey replacing the fading Zaniolo), augmented by a deflected Watkins strike to complete his hat-trick.
The celebrated Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi looked flummoxed on the sidelines as his side were torn apart by the rampaging Lions, eager for more goals.
Ramsey added a superb fifth, in off the post, before a parried Watkins effort fell to Douglas Luiz, who steered into the empty net amidst jubilant scenes. Reconstructive surgery on your correspondent’s shins may be needed.
Once again, the team had stepped up and increased their level when it mattered, with superb performances all over the pitch, most notably from Watkins, who Brighton must be sick of the sight of.
Upon leaving the ground, there was a palpable sense of jubilation, with happy Villans greeting each other on the concourses and outside the ground with beaming grins, and punches being thrown in the air.
The sense of anticipation ahead of perhaps the first meaningful European night at Villa Park this season, against Mostar on Thursday, will now build and build.
If the team can play with the same intensity against the Bosnian side, there is a real opportunity to get ourselves back in with a chance of winning the group. Attitude is everything.
Value rating: £41 (out of £41)