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Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish could decide Brighton game in a wide role

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

Aston Villa will be looking for more success in the Premier League as the top-flight returns to action on Saturday afternoon.

Dean Smith’s men play host to Brighton and Hove Albion, a second game already this season against the south coast side, having defeated them in the Carabao Cup third round last month.

Last time out, Villa picked up their second win of the Premier League campaign in dominant fashion, smashing five past a helpless Norwich City at Carrow Road.

Villa on Tour features in a preview of Aston Villa v Brighton in the video below…

Brighton will be sure to field a much stronger line up having put out a predominantly youth-focused XI in their previous meeting, so who is likely to have an impact on the game?

On the Chalkboard

Well, captain Jack Grealish is seemingly thriving in a different role over the last two or so matches, so ultimately, he will be crucial to their success.

His opposite number is likely to be right wing-back Martin Montoya, who has played in seven of Brighton’s eight Premier League matches this term.

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The 28-year-old is pretty sound defensively, averaging 3.4 tackles, 1.3 interceptions, and 1.1 clearances per game, via WhoScored.

But Villa’s star man should prove to be a nuisance as he’s been given license to bomb down the wing and cut in to operate in the half-spaces behind Wesley in the attack.

He could well run the Spaniard ragged if he’s on his game.

In the last three games alone, the 24-year-old has managed to net his first goal of the season while also providing an assist against Arsenal.

Overall, Grealish is averaging 1.9 shots, 1.6 dribbles, and 2.4 key passes per game, which suggests that the Seagulls’ defender may have his work cut out, especially as he lets a man past him at least once per match.

The fact he fails to ever really make a block, closing down just one shot and two crosses should also play in the Villans’ favour.

Can Villa defeat Brighton this weekend?

Of course!

Of course!

I'm not so sure...

I'm not so sure...

The midfielder’s lack of crosses only highlights how much he likes to cut inside. Therefore, Montoya will need to be careful as this will mean Matt Targett will advance forward from left-back, as his manager has described in a recent interview.

Grealish could be the difference-maker in this fixture, and he has every chance to add to his goal involvements looking at the work his opposite number will be left to do.

Article title: Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish could decide Brighton game in a wide role

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