John Townley's Aston Villa player ratings after 1-0 defeat at Brighton

Aston Villa were defeated by a late Joao Pedro goal at the Amex
Aston Villa were defeated by a late Joao Pedro goal at the Amex -Credit:Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Brighton claimed their first home top-flight victory over Aston Villa for 44 years, beating Unai Emery’s side 1-0 at the Amex. Joao Pedro scored in the 88th minute to claim all three points for the Seagulls. Despite Villa’s first defeat in over a month, a top four finish remains in their hands ahead of Tottenham’s clash with Liverpool later this afternoon.

Brighton had lost their past five Premier League meetings with Villa by an aggregate score of 14-3, but claimed only their second victory in their last 10 Premier League games today. Indeed, Villa were searching for a six consecutive league win against a single opponent for the first time since doing so against local rivals Birmingham City between 2005-2010.

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Robin Olsen remained in goal for Villa following the 4-2 defeat to Olympiacos last time out as Emi Martinez is yet to overcome a hamstring injury suffered in last weekend’s draw with Chelsea. The Sweden international made two saves inside the first 10 minutes and then at the end of the half, preserved parity for Villa by saving Pascal Gross’ effort from close range.

Villa’s injury issues have piled up in recent weeks, with Morgan Rogers the latest to pick up an issue. He was replaced in the 26th minute by Matty Cash.

Roberto De Zerbi’s side failed to score in their last eight league matches in 2024 before this afternoon, more than any other team. But they had their fair share of chances to break the deadlock this afternoon. Olsen was once again called into action when Joao Pedro charged into the box, but under pressure from Pau Torres, the Brazilian was then denied by Villa’s keeper.

Gross then thought he had opened the scoring when he tapped in at the near post, but after a VAR review he was called offside. Down the other end, Villa were caught out by a tight offside call when John McGinn latched on to a loose ball inside the box before converting.

Brighton's dominance eventually told when Konsa got the wrong side of Simon Adingra in the box and committed a foul. After Olsen had saved Joao Pedro's effort from 12 yards, the Brazilian scored the rebound.

Player ratings

Robin Olsen

Olsen started successive games for Villa this afternoon with Martinez still injured. The Sweden international made two comfortable saves in the first 10 minutes of the game, before then denying Pascal Gross from close range in first half added time. Olsen was on hand once more to prevent Joao Pedro inside the box on the hour mark. He even saved a penalty, but couldn't quite keep the rebound out. 9*

Ezri Konsa

Konsa played at right-back today and had a task to keep Simon Adingra quiet, but he gave away a penalty late on. When Cash came on, Konsa combined well and picked the right times to go forward or stay back. 6

Diego Carlos

Carlos was one of two changes this afternoon as he came into the side for Cash as Konsa shuffled across. He was first to a number of balls which Brighton hurled into the box from wide areas and set-pieces. 7

Pau Torres

Torres returned to the starting XI after Clement Lenglet came into the starting side in midweek to face Olympiacos. It was an assured performance from Torres apart from a couple of lapses on the hour mark. After twice losing possession, he then rectified for his previous errors by getting to the ball before Welbeck at the back post after Adingra whipped the ball across the face of goal. 7

Lucas Digne

It was another solid showing from Digne, who has enjoyed a fantastic season. Put a few enticing crosses into the box. 7

Douglas Luiz

Luiz has struggled for form in recent weeks, but he looked more confident in parts of the game today, wriggling out of challenges and combining with his teammates against a Brighton side who applied an aggressive press. 6

John McGinn

The skipper continued in the double pivot ahead of Tim Iroegbunam while Youri Tielemans and Boubacar Kamara are both sidelined. He is culpable of doing too much at times when under pressure, but his low centre of gravity allows him to spin away from pressure and beat the press. A risky game, of course. 6

Leon Bailey

Bailey swapped over to the left wing after Rogers came off injured. Villa lost a degree of threat in their attack once that happened because Bailey has been on top form from the opposite side throughout the campaign. 6

Morgan Rogers

Rogers was forced off injured halfway through the first period. A blow for Villa after he had scored three goals and provided an assist in his last five league matches. N/A

Moussa Diaby

It was a very quiet first half for Diaby. He showed glimpses at the start of the second period, but couldn't make the same impact he did last Thursday when he scored and assisted against Olympiacos. He was replaced by Duran with around 20 minutes of the game remaining. 5

Ollie Watkins

Watkins is one goal away from becoming the first Villa player to bag 20 in a Premier League season, but he rarely had a sight of goal today. 6


Matty Cash (for Rogers, 27'): Cash operated on the right wing when he came on, in front of Konsa who continued at right-back. He impressed on the flank and even came close to a wonder goal when he fired an effort just wide of the top corner in the 56th minute. 6

Jhon Duran (for Diaby, 73'): N/A

Calum Chambers (for Konsa, 90'): N/A

Alex Moreno (for Digne, 90'): N/A

Not used: Gauci, Lenglet, Kesler-Hayden, Iroegbunam, Kellyman.


Brighton: Joao Pedro (88')

Villa: N/A

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