Brighton vs Aston Villa predictions: Villans taking shape under Emery
- Brighton failed to win their last home league game as favourite
- Aston Villa have improved under Unai Emery
- Recommended bet: Aston Villa to win or tie
An intriguing tactical battle between two newly-appointed managers could be on the cards when Roberto de Zerbi's Brighton host Unai Emery's Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon.
De Zerbi has only slightly tweaked the system that predecessor Graham Potter put in place, but the Italian has been getting enough of a tune out of the Seagulls to take them into the top six.
Albion's confidence will be sky high for this clash at the Amex Stadium after knocking league leaders Arsenal out of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday for their third straight win in all competitions.
Emery's second spell as a Premier League manager began with an impressive 3-1 home victory over Manchester United, but now the Spaniard sets about turning around Villa's woeful away form.
The Villans have taken only two points on their travels all season and went out of the League Cup at Old Trafford on Thursday night.
Brighton remain relatively injury free with only Jakub Moder absent at the moment because of a long-term knee issue.
The Seagulls sustained no fresh injury concerns in the midweek win over Arsenal where De Zerbi made a host of changes from the side that won at Wolves last weekend.
Danny Welbeck and Tariq Lamptey will likely drop out of the line-up, despite both players getting on the scoresheet in north London.
Leandro Trossard and Adam Lallana, who were substituted at Molineux last Saturday, are fully fit to retake their places in De Zerbi's starting XI, which will probably be very similar to the Wolves game.
Aston Villa's starting line-up will also largely revert to the one on duty last Sunday when Jacob Ramsey's energy and Leon Bailey's pace unnerved United.
Leander Dendoncker and Jan Bednarek, who were both cup-tied for the clash at Old Trafford in midweek, can return with the Belgian set to sit alongside Douglas Luiz in the middle of the park.
Boubacar Kamara will drop back to the bench alongside Bednarek and midweek starters John McGinn, Morgan Sanson, Danny Ings and Ashley Young.
Only Philippe Coutinho (thigh) and Diego Carlos (calf) are currently under treatment, leaving Emery with a large squad to pick from.
Back-to-back Premier League victories have given Brighton a chance to win three consecutive league games for the first time since October 2018 under Chris Hughton.
Both they and Villa have scored a league-high six Premier League goals in the opening 15 minutes of games this season.
The Villans won each of their Premier League fixtures against Brighton last season, scoring four goals and keeping clean sheets in both games.
Albion midfielder Alexis Mac Allister ranks third in the Premier League for winning back possession in the middle third of the pitch this season, surpassed only by defensive midfielders Declan Rice and Rodri.
Brighton have been brought nicely to the boil by De Zerbi in recent weeks and should relish this opportunity to consolidate a place in the top six ahead of the break for the World Cup.
The Italian has got them sitting a little deeper in midfield in a bid to draw opponents on to create opportunities in transition.
Scoring 10 goals in three games would suggest it is working, but Emery is tactically astute enough to have something up his sleeve this weekend.
Their gameplan appeared to be working at Old Trafford on Thursday until mistakes by back-up goalkeeper Robin Olsen were seized upon by United.