Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Aston Villa 0
Albion were frustrated by Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez who made several brilliant saves from on-target Albion efforts. By contrast, Albion keeper Robert Sanchez hardly got his gloves dirty.
Although Albion climb back above Burnley into 14th place in the Premier League and are unbeaten in four matches, they should have been out of sight in the first half.
Alexis Mac Allister was technically the only Albion player to get the ball past Martinez but his effort was too high.
Joel Veltman was having his best Albion match so far, overlapping and getting in a number of good crosses. He also cut in and ran at the defence, firing of a shot that produced one of Martinez’s early saves.
Leandro Trossard had an effort from just outside the area that Martinez turned over. Veltman sent Neal Maupay scurrying away but the Villa keeper denied him from a tight angle.
The crucial moments of the match came just before half time. Dan Burn’s towering header was clawed around post by Martinez after Pascal Gross delivered a brilliant corner.
Soon after, great foot work and tricky play by Trossard saw Burn side-foot an effort which Martinez turned around the post again. That saw Villa through to half time and must have been a psychological boost for them.
Villa had a go back early in the second half when Jack Grealish was well marshalled by Lewis Dunk and Veltman.
Soon Albion were at it again. Maupay weaved into the penalty area but couldn’t find a way past.
Veltman found himself in space just outside the area and shifted on to his left foot but the keeper was equal to it.
Burn picked up a loose ball but his deflected shot was easily held by Martinez.
Albion weren’t getting frustrated although Danny Welbeck replaced Maupay.
Not long after, Welbeck saw two close-range efforts deflected wide and another smothered by Martinez.
Towards the end, Albion were awarded a free kick after Adam Lallana, also on as a substitute, was tripped by Tyrone Mings.
After much discussion, Trossard fired his shot at the wall. Trossard pounced on the rebound but his effort was off course and collected easily by Martinez.
Albion’s next Premier League match is on Monday (22 February) at home to free-falling Crystal Palace.
However, they may be just a little nervously watching as the bottom three all play over the next two days.
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