Analysis: How a combination of skill and luck helped Brighton and Hove Albion beat Aston Villa

Here's a look at how both skill and a bit of luck helped Brighton beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park on Saturday
Solly March fired Brighton to victory against VillaSolly March fired Brighton to victory against Villa
Solly March fired Brighton to victory against Villa

Brighton's victory against Premier League high-fliers Aston Villa this weekend was their first win since September, which came away in the 3-0 drubbing of Newcastle United.

There's been a lot of talk about how unlucky Graham Potter's men have been so far this season, with Brighton's poor results not matching the quality of their performances.

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Brighton have scored more Expected Goals than their opponents in six of their eight matches this season before the Villa game, but they only won one of those ties.

However, against Villa, the Expected goals scoreline was Villa 2.35 - 1.41 Brighton, which suggests Brighton were the lucky ones this weekend.

The victory against Villa could have easily been a loss on another day, but, in the same breath, the loss to Manchester United could have easily been a victory. The Premier League really is full of fine margins.

Let's take a look at some of the skill, and some of the luck, which was on show at Villa Park on Saturday.

Brighton's skill

Danny Welbeck

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Graham Potter hailed the striker's goal and also his overall performance. It really was a high-quality display. He did everything you want your number nine to do: he held the ball up well, brought others into play, pressed, played on the last man, looked a constant threat in behind, led the line effectively and scored that delightful dinked finish over Emi Martinez.

That goal was one hundred per cent skill. It was a goal of a striker who has been doing it all of his life, from down the park as a kid to Old Trafford as a teenager. If he can stay fit and produce these performances on a weekly basis then all of Brighton's pretty build-up play will have a meaning, a purpose, and will see them fly up the table.

Also, Brighton's ability on the ball to play out from the press and get in behind Villa's high line was impressive. It will be interesting to see how Welbeck fares against other high lines, those of Liverpool, Southampton, Chelsea and Arsenal, for example.

Tariq Lamptey

Telegraph journalist Paul Hayward summed up Lamptey's performance perfectly on Twitter. He said: "Tariq Lamptey is outstanding - again. He's not just swift. He jumps on errors, grabs the ball back, confuses defenders and picks good passes. A flying menace."

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What a coup; a player with a very high ceiling of potential. He made interception after interception high up the pitch. His pace is frightening, he gets to balls that he has no right to get to.

Although he didn't register a goal or an assist, he did create a number of opportunities for his side and was a constant threat, especially when Brighton were playing on the break or pressing high.

Other Premier League teams must be wishing they landed the former Chelsea man. I wonder how many gems are sat in the top six's youth set ups at the moment who may not make the bold decision, or have the opportunity, to leave in search of first team football like Lamptey has.

Solly March

March's finish against Villa was of sublime quality from a player currently in really consistent form. It felt like he put every ounce of concentration into getting his technique right on his weaker right foot to fire into the top corner. A goal fit to win any match.

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March had no right to shoot first time on his weaker foot and score from there. His shot xG value was 0.06, which means 94 per cent of the time he won't score that goal. Today was his day.

Against Manchester United he hit the post from close range when the score was level, Brighton went on to lose the game. This weekend, he scores a worldie and wins the game for his side. It's one of them. It all supposedly levels out in the end.

Brighton's luck

Villa's misfortune

The influential and in form Ross Barkley came off injured in the first few minutes for Villa, which was a massive blow for them and left Jack Grealish with one less creative player to team up with. John McGinn looked off the pace after travelling to Serbia and Israel over the international break where he helped Scotland qualify for Euro 2021.

Ollie Watkins wasn't on song either. Villa's top scorer this season was let down on a couple of occasions by his heavy touch in some promising positions. He bagged a brace against Arsenal before the international break to help Villa to a 3-0 win at The Emirates. He was also kept quiet by a solid Brighton defence at times.


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It was nearly one of the most Brighton ways to finish a game. After doing all the hard work for 92 minutes, it looked as if Solly March had conceded a penalty when Trezeguet went down following the slightest of touches. Fortunately, Michael Oliver went over to look at his monitor, which doesn't always happen, and waived away, quite rightly, Villa's penalty claims.

On another day, as I've already said a few times, things could have been much different.

Maty Ryan

The Australian made a couple of good saves, but they were ones which you would expect him to make. He did also make one very questionable save with his feet on the line to stop Tyrone Ming's accidental lob from going in. On another day, Ollie Watkins takes a gamble and challenges Ryan's dodgy clearance, and he probably scores.

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