Brighton frustrated by Martinez in draw with Villa


Alexis Mac Allister heads over the bar in the first half
Alexis Mac Allister was one of several Brighton players to miss first-half chances

Brighton were left frustrated as they had to settle for a goalless home draw against Aston Villa despite creating a multitude of good chances.

Graham Potter’s side recorded more shots – 26 in total – than they have ever managed before in a single Premier League match.

Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez starred, denying Alexis Mac Allister, Dan Burn and Joel Veltman with fine saves.

Brighton also extend their unbeaten run to six matches in the league.

Villa sit eighth in the table, level on points with Tottenham and just four points off fourth-placed Liverpool having played two games fewer.

Brighton dominate but lack clinical finish

Emiliano Martinez denies Dan Burn in the first half
Emiliano Martinez’s save to deny Dan Burn in the first half was arguably the best chance of the match for Brighton

Brighton went into this match in top form, having beaten Liverpool at Anfield and drawn with Burnley at Turf Moor earlier this month.

They started on top at the Amex too – dominating possession and utilising space on the right as Veltman was able to test the Villa defence with several dangerous crosses.

Neal Maupay spurned a chance and Mac Allister came close with a header, before Villa eventually created a half-chance of their own when Douglas Luiz’s shot was deflected wide on 18 minutes.

The visitors did have a bright spell midway through the opening half but Brighton were the better team and Burn’s header would have given them a deserved lead were it not for the agility of Martinez to push it around the post with his fingertips.

Brighton had 12 shots in the first half, and only Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier (52) has been forced into more saves in away league games this season than Villa’s Martinez (47), who had to make nine here.

But as the game wore on, Brighton’s frustrations grew and Martinez became even harder to beat.

Mac Allister, Veltman and substitute Danny Welbeck all came close again while Leandro Trossard also fired wide but Brighton had to settle for a draw which leaves them in 15th place, though a comfortable 11 points clear of the relegation zone.

Martinez proves his worth again

Villa, while second best throughout this match having struggled to really get going, came away with another valuable point as they continue to put pressure on those above them fighting for European places.

Dean Smith’s side have kept more clean sheets on the road than any other side this season and only leaders Manchester City have conceded fewer away goals.

And while they did not pose much of a threat against Brighton, with the in-form Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins working tirelessly, they remained competitive.

Ross Barkley’s tame effort early in the second half was Villa’s only shot on target.

But with goalkeeper Martinez proving his worth once again – he has now kept seven clean sheets in away games in the Premier League this season – Villa were able to hold out for the point.

‘We were bang average’ – what they said

Brighton boss Graham Potter to BBC Sport: “It is frustrating but pleasing because the performance was very good and we did everything but score. We had shots, had attacks and reduced Villa’s attacking players. We are disappointed with just the one point.

“Their goalkeeper made some really good saves and has been an important player for them. That is football but the overall performance – we had enough shots, attacks and goes at them to score, just not that last little luck you need.”

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith to BBC Sport: “We were bang average. I have not seen us make so many enforced errors. We needed our goalkeeper – he had a good game.

“We showed a little resilience and our keeper played well but I can’t take much more from it. It was a fighting performance.

“He’s a fantastic goalkeeper, a great acquisition for Aston Villa, but in the other 12 clean sheets he’s kept this season he’s been protected really well.

“He was called into action too much today, and it was a one-man show at times, such was the sloppiness of our play.”

A first since 1981 – the best of the stats

  • Brighton have gone unbeaten in six consecutive top-flight games for the first time since a run of eight ending in November 1981.
  • The last seven league games in which Brighton have hosted Aston Villa have seen just eight goals scored in total, with neither side managing to score more than one goal in a game in this run (one win each, five draws).
  • Martinez has kept seven away clean sheets in the Premier League this season – the only Aston Villa goalkeeper to register more away shutouts in a single campaign in the competition was Brad Friedel in 2009-10 (8).
  • Despite only coming on in the 62nd minute, no player created more chances in the match than Brighton’s Adam Lallana (4).

What’s next?

Brighton welcome Crystal Palace to the Amex on Monday, 22 February (20:00 GMT), while Aston Villa host Leicester City a day earlier (14:00 GMT).

Player of the match

MartínezEmiliano Martínez

Brighton & Hove Albion

  1. Squad number11Player nameTrossard

  2. Squad number34Player nameVeltman

  3. Squad number10Player nameMac Allister

  4. Squad number5Player nameDunk

  5. Squad number8Player nameBissouma

  6. Squad number33Player nameBurn

  7. Squad number3Player nameWhite

  8. Squad number13Player nameGroß

  9. Squad number14Player nameLallana

  10. Squad number26Player nameSánchez

  11. Squad number17Player nameAlzate

  12. Squad number18Player nameWelbeck

  13. Squad number9Player nameMaupay

Aston Villa

  1. Squad number26Player nameMartínez

  2. Squad number5Player nameMings

  3. Squad number18Player nameTargett

  4. Squad number4Player nameKonsa

  5. Squad number2Player nameCash

  6. Squad number11Player nameWatkins

  7. Squad number7Player nameMcGinn

  8. Squad number6Player nameDouglas Luiz

  9. Squad number25Player nameSanson

  10. Squad number17Player nameTrézéguet

  11. Squad number27Player nameAhmed El Mohamady

  12. Squad number15Player nameTraoré

  13. Squad number20Player nameBarkley

  14. Squad number10Player nameGrealish

Line-ups

Brighton

Formation 4-1-3-2

  • 26Sánchez
  • 34Veltman
  • 3White
  • 5Dunk
  • 33Burn
  • 8Bissouma
  • 13Groß
  • 10Mac Allister
  • 17AlzateBooked at 20minsSubstituted forLallanaat 62′minutes
  • 11TrossardBooked at 77mins
  • 9MaupaySubstituted forWelbeckat 80′minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Karbownik
  • 7Connolly
  • 14Lallana
  • 15Moder
  • 18Welbeck
  • 22Tau
  • 24Pröpper
  • 29Zeqiri
  • 31Walton

Aston Villa

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 26Martínez
  • 2CashSubstituted forEl Mohamadyat 61′minutes
  • 4Konsa
  • 5Mings
  • 18Targett
  • 6Douglas LuizBooked at 70mins
  • 7McGinn
  • 15TraoréSubstituted forTrézéguetat 66′minutes
  • 20BarkleySubstituted forSansonat 76′minutesBooked at 89mins
  • 10GrealishBooked at 21mins
  • 11Watkins

Substitutes

  • 1Heaton
  • 17Trézéguet
  • 19Nakamba
  • 21El Ghazi
  • 22Engels
  • 25Sanson
  • 27El Mohamady
  • 39Davis
  • 41Ramsey

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