An outstanding performance from Emi Martinez secured a point for Dean Smith's Aston Villa side as Brighton & Hove Albion dominated the game from start to finish. The Seagulls started the match the much better team, with Alexis Mac Allister having the best chance of the first half as he missed a free header from just yards out. Further efforts from range for the home side tested Martinez in the Villa goal but there was still nothing on the scoreboard. Towards the end of the half Graham Potter's men continued to have control, while there were still no clear cut chances for the Villains.
The team in claret and blue started the second half better than the first with Ross Barkley testing Robert Sanchez just two minutes in. Despite this, the Brighton attacking onslaught continued with Martinez being called into several saves. Matty Cash went off with a hamstring injury in the 60th minute was replaced by Ahmed Elmohammady. Danny Welbeck and Adam Lallana were brought on by Potter to add some cutting edge. The game faded out with only a few chances towards the end. At the end of the day, Brighton will be disappointed to come away with just the one point whereas Villa will be relatively happy with the result after creating so few chances.
The Seagulls had 26 shots throughout the game, and Martinez was spectacular to keep their nine on target out. Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa were dominant and prevented the home side from having many clear cut chances. Villa have two losses in their last five, while Potter's men are unbeaten in the Premier League since mid-January.
Lack of Brighton cutting edge
With 26 shots and nine on target it must be said that Brighton should of scored at least one or two goals in the game. Neal Maupay, Leandro Trossard and Mac Allister had 15 shots between them, but Martinez was able to keep them all out. Expected goals had the home side at 2.59 which would have seen them easily win the contest if they had taken their vast wealth of chances.
Recent signings Percy Tau, Andi Zeqiri, and Welbeck all started on the bench alongside other attacking talent such as Aaron Connolly and Lallana. Earlier attacking substitutions could have improved the chances of a winning goal for the Seagulls as they looked to take all three points from the Amex Stadium, but nothing seemed to work.
Lack of midfield presence for Villa
John McGinn, Bertrand Traore, and Ross Barkley were mostly lost in the game, with Villa missing a cool head to put their foot on the ball and control the game. Pascal Gross, Yves Bissouma, and Joel Veltman all contributed to keeping the away side quiet.
An average WhoScored rating for the midfield five was 6.62, which just isn't good enough when trying to push up the league. As Smith said after the home game against West Ham, "Too many six out of tens." This applies to a performance yet again which will need to be looked at as an area to improve for the Villains. Morgan Sanson looked good when he came on, and he provide a calm head in a packed out midfield. If he was able to start a run of games, he could provide ground for Villa to build upon as they look to get back to their best.
A good defensive show from both sides
Both managers can be happy with their sides in terms of defensive output as both backlines kept a well-earned clean sheet. The Seagulls back five reduced any input from Jack Grealish who was often doubled up on by Ben White and Veltman. Ollie Watkins was left to fend for himself against Lewis Dunk, which was hard for the in form striker. Both Trezeguet and Traore found it difficult to get into the game, and as a result, chances were few and far between.
Similar things can be said about the away side's back four with the whole backline and goalkeeper doing everything in their power to keep the ball out of the net. Douglas Luiz came back into the starting 11 and provided superb cover to the already excellent defence.
Overall, both teams will be happy with their defending on the day, but each manager will be wishing their side created more clear cut chances throughout the contest.