EPL

Unai Emery savours ‘special’ Villa Park atmosphere in rout of Brighton

By Sports Desk September 30, 2023

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery feels there is a special atmosphere brewing at Villa Park after his side romped to a remarkable 6-1 win against Brighton.

A hat-trick from Ollie Watkins and further strikes from Jacob Ramsey and Douglas Luiz, as well as Pervis Estupinan’s own goal, helped Emery’s side secure a 10th successive league win at home.

Despite Brighton’s Ansu Fati briefly reducing the deficit to 3-1 at the start of the second half, Villa were at their clinical best to leapfrog the Seagulls in the table and extend their winning streak at home.

Emery said: “We have to feel something special at Villa Park and try to create a positive energy between us and the supporters and try to work on the pitch to connect with them.

“We want to compete the same at home and away, we will need time to build the team to be consistent but at home we feel strong with our supporters and the energy the supporters are transmitting to us, we need to keep being consistent at home.

“Ollie Watkins is committed to the club, he is very happy here and we are very happy with him, he works hard every day and tries to learn every day. He did very good work scoring goals and working defensively to help the team.

“We have to be very demanding and try to improve every day, each match is going to demand different things, we have to be ready and be strong in our work to be successful.”

Villa blew Brighton away with three quickfire goals in the first half as Watkins scored the opener on 14 minutes with a close-range finish before netting again on 21 minutes with a low effort past Jason Steele at his near post.

Estupinan’s own goal on 26 minutes put Villa in command before Albion responded when half-time substitute Fati scored his first goal for the club five minutes into the second half.

However, Watkins completed his hat-trick on 65 minutes with a deflected effort before Ramsey curled home on 85 minutes and Luiz rounded off the scoring seven minutes into injury time to inflict a heavy defeat on the Seagulls.

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi said: “Everything [went wrong], we played very bad.

“It’s not a problem of our physical condition, first and foremost when we lose this type of game it’s my responsibility. If you lose 6-1, the biggest responsibility is of the coach.

“We are not ready to compete and to play every three days, I’m trying to manage in different ways to keep the physical energy [up].

“The physical energy is not enough, in football you have to be ready to give your all and your best in the head in the mentality. We can’t lose every tackle, every duel and every second ball otherwise you lose the game in this way.

“But I believe in my players because I have big confidence in the people inside of my dressing room, we are suffering a lot for this defeat but this can happen sometimes if you are not ready and you have to adapt quickly.

“We have to learn. We are suffering, it’s a very bad day but maybe one of the most important days – we want to reach this level.”

Related items

  • New York City FC v San Jose Earthquakes: Cushing urges home fans to 'make a noise' New York City FC v San Jose Earthquakes: Cushing urges home fans to 'make a noise'

    Nick Cushing is looking forward to New York City FC's next home game against San Jose Earthquakes on Friday and asks the fans to "build an atmosphere".

    NYCFC are on a four-match winning run and beat derby rivals New York Red Bulls 2-1 in their most recent outing at Citi Field.

    That run means they sit in third in the Eastern Conference and are eight points behind leaders Inter Miami.

    NYCFC have the opportunity to close the gap to second place with Cincinnati not in action this weekend, and Cushing is hopeful the fans can give the team an added boost as they try to maintain their recent winning streak.

    "I love playing in front of our fans," Cushing said.

    "I love playing at home. It is the last game before we get a bye week and an international break, and it's Friday night under the lights.

    "The Red Bull game was amazing because of the atmosphere, the crowd, the amount of fans we got in, and the way that we played.

    "We just want to make sure that we deliver a performance every game that makes people want to come to the stadium. A performance that makes people excited and makes them want to make a noise and build an atmosphere.

    "We encourage fans to be super noisy for us because it helps us. We want to keep adding wins. I'm excited, and I want to make sure that we start the game in a way that makes us really work together – ourselves and the fans – and then go and get another win."

    San Jose, meanwhile, sit second from bottom of the Western Conference, eight points off a playoff spot.

    They have not won any of their last three outings, though their last win did come on the road when they beat Colorado Rapids 3-2 on May 12.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    NYCFC – Tayvon Gray

    Gray has recorded the assist on the winning goal in each of NYCFC's last two matches.

    It is the first time in his career that he has recorded an assist in consecutive MLS matches as he had recorded just one assist in his previous 33 games dating back to September 2022.

    San Jose Earthquakes – Cristian Espinoza

    Espinoza recorded his eighth assist of the season in San Jose's draw with Austin on Saturday, setting up a goal for Jeremy Ebobisse.

    Ebobisse is the seventh different player Espinoza has recorded an assist for this season – the only player he has set up twice is Amahl Pellegrino.

    MATCH PREDICTION: NEW YORK CITY FC WIN

    New York City have won five of their six all-time meetings with the Earthquakes (D1), including the last four in a row. NYCFC has scored multiple goals in all five wins, including scoring 10 times in their home matches against the 'Quakes (all wins).

    Indeed, NYCFC have won seven of their last eight matches (L1), including the last four in a row, and could equal the longest regular-season winning streak in club history (five straight in 2019).

    Meanwhile, San Jose have won only two of their last 48 regular-season road matches against Eastern Conference opposition (D11 L35) dating back to May 2012. The Earthquakes have managed to draw each of their last three road matches against Eastern teams, including a 1-1 draw at Nashville in April.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    NYCFC – 59.5%

    Draw – 21.2%

    San Jose Earthquakes – 19.3%

  • Cavani retires from international football ahead of Copa America Cavani retires from international football ahead of Copa America

    Edinson Cavani has announced his retirement from international football, meaning he will not represent Uruguay at the Copa America.

    The 37-year-old is Uruguay’s second-most capped player with 136 appearances, and their second-highest scorer (58) behind only Luis Suarez.

    Cavani made his debut in a friendly draw with Colombia in February 2008 and was part of the team that won the 2011 Copa America title.

    However, the striker has not made an appearance for his national team since the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, when they were knocked out in the group stages.

    In a post on social media, Cavani said: "My beloved Celeste, I just want to thank you for every lesson you gave me under your process.

    "I won't take long. Today my words are few but profound. Thanks to every single person who was a part of this road over the years. I was and always will be blessed to have worn this jersey representing what I love most in this world, my country.

    "They were without doubt so many wonderful years. I have a thousand things to say, tell and remember, but I want to dedicate today to this new stage of my career and give everything I've got to where I'm supposed to be now.

    "I have decided to step aside but with my heart still beating, as it was when it was my turn to take to the pitch wearing this beautiful jersey. Sending a strong embrace to all of my fans."

    Uruguay will begin their Copa America campaign against Panama on June 23.

  • Yorke hails 'remarkable job' by Emery at Villa Yorke hails 'remarkable job' by Emery at Villa

    Former Aston Villa striker Dwight Yorke believes Unai Emery has done a "remarkable job" and hopes they can maintain the new level they have reached.

    Emery joined Villa in November 2022 when the club was in a relegation fight, and led them to a seventh-place finish, securing qualification to the Europa Conference League.

    In his first full season in charge, the Spaniard oversaw another impressive campaign as the Villans finished fourth in the Premier League, ensuring Champions League football for the first time since 1982-83.

    Villa also reached the semi-final of the Europa Conference League after seeing off Ajax and Lille in the knockout stages, but were knocked out by eventual champions, Olympiacos.

    On Monday, Villa confirmed that Emery had signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2029.

    Yorke, who spent nine years at Villa between 1989 and 1998, says the club have finally found the right balance.

    "They've got good backers, good owners, invest heavily in their team and that shows what they want, but they've got also you need a correct manager and I think Unai Emery has come into that category," Yorke told Stats Perform.

    "Villa is a tremendous football club. Emery has done a remarkable job to get Villa in the Champions League, a bit like Newcastle last season in many respects.

    "Now the expectation is can he now really show what kind of manager he is? Now the [board] and the chairman will back him, bringing new players, bringing players to enhance that team, and they are going to try and maintain that [status as a top club].

    "If he does that next year and qualifies for the Champions League again, plus probably win a cup, I think he then shows what really a true fantastic manager he is for Villa.

    "To achieve their goal this season, I think the chairman, the fans, everybody will be thrilled that Villa is in the Champions League next year."

    Despite their strong season, Yorke admits that Villa will need to think about adding to their squad to cope with the demands of playing in the Champions League.

    "You have got to say to the owners, listen I need another three, four, five players to come in because now you're playing with the big boys, you're going from Champions League to the Premier League to the Champions League with the big boys," he added.

    "You need a squad to be going into these games. The players will find it totally different because they're not used to that.

    "They have got get used to that very quickly, but you've got an experienced manager in that type of way of playing [in Europe as well as domestically]. It will be new for Villa.

    "It will be interesting to see how they handle that type of story going forward, how they handle the Champions League.

    "It takes a really unique manager to then get a team advancing out of that group, then into the latter stage from the round of 16.

    "[If Emery does that], now you're showing your true colours, but I think they've got to add maybe three or four new players to the squad that will help them to make sure that they can maintain [a challenge] on both fronts."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.