Roberto De Zerbi makes huge selection call on £25m summer signing ahead of Aston Villa
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The summer exits of Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister depleted Brighton considerably in that area. Despite that, the third placed Seagulls have started with five wins from their first six Premier League matches.
De Zerbi does though have a problem for Villa as experienced campaigners Pascal Gross and James Milner – who have helped cushion the blow of losing Caicedo and Mac Allister – are both likely to miss out with 'muscular issues'.
Poland international Jakub Moder remains a long-term casualty, while £25m summer signing from Lille Carlos Baleba struggled on his full debut at Chelsea in midweek. Ex-Chelsea man Billy Gilmour and Mo Dahoud look the most likely to perform the double pivot role in the heart of the midfield at Villa Park with Baleba unlikely to feature, especially from the start.
“The Premier League is stronger and tougher and the new players have to adapt in the difficulties of the game,” said De Zerbi when asked about Baleba’s display at Chelsea. "He is [born in] 2004 and it was the first game at this level at Stamford Bridge and I am pleased for his performance. Clearly he has to improve and progress. Maybe now he is not so ready to play in first XI.
"We lost Pascal Gross and [James] Milner and so in that position we only have three midfielders but the players and coach have to adapt in this moment. We play a lot of games, I don't want to make an excuse but the young players they must progress.”