Matchweek 36
All times shown are your local time
Sun 5 May 2024
Kick Off:
American Express Stadium, Falmer
Att: 31,596
Ref: Robert Jones




Aston Villa missed the chance to close in on a UEFA Champions League place after they were beaten 1-0 at Brighton.

Joao Pedro’s late header settled Sunday's contest at Amex Stadium, the striker nodding in three minutes from time after Robin Olsen saved his initial penalty.

Villa could have taken a huge step towards sealing a place in Europe’s top club competition with a victory, however Unai Emery’s side remain fourth and seven points above Tottenham Hotspur, who have one game in hand, while Brighton climb to 11th.

How the match unfolded


The Seagulls carried the greater threat during a first half of few opportunities, with Simon Adingra stinging Olsen’s palms from distance.

Villa, who lost Morgan Rogers to injury midway through the first half, also had Olsen to thank twice in first-half stoppage time. First, he kept out Adingra’s tame volley from a Pedro cross before also thwarting Pascal Gross from close range.

The hosts continued to look the more likely to break the deadlock after the interval. Olsen denied Pedro, while Julio Enciso fired narrowly over from distance.

Brighton thought they had taken the lead inside the final quarter when Gross turned in Igor’s cross from inside the six-yard box, but the goal was disallowed after a VAR review adjudged Gross to be offside.

The visitors also had the ball in the net at the other end, though the offside flag denied John McGinn, who tucked away after the ball ricocheted kindly for him in the six-yard box.

However, it was Brighton who got the breakthrough in the 87th minute. After being awarded a penalty for a foul by Ezri Konsa on Adingra, Olsen guessed correctly to keep out Pedro’s spot-kick, but the Sweden international was helpless as the striker headed home the rebound to give Brighton victory.

Pedro hits the 20 mark

Brighton arrived in this contest off the back of successive defeats, and looking to avoid three on the spin for the first time since March 2022.

The Seagulls had also lost each of their previous five Premier League meetings with Villa, who could have secured their Champions League qualification with a win.

Gross almost broke the deadlock on his 200th Premier League start for Brighton – his strike ruled out following a VAR review – becoming only the second player to reach that figure, after Lewis Dunk.

However, Pedro turned out to be the matchwinner as he became the first player to score 20 goals in all competitions in a single season for the Seagulls since Glenn Murray netted 23 in 2016/17.

Toothless Villa stumble

Villa – who were stunned by Olympiacos in the UEFA Europa Conference League on Thursday – were unable to capitalise on their opportunity to potentially secure their top-four place following an uncharacteristically quiet outing in front of goal.

Ollie Watkins had scored six goals in his last four appearances against Brighton – his highest tally against a single opponent – and had been directly involved in eight goals in his last five Premier League away games (scoring six and assisting two).

However, the England striker was unable to build on that momentum in a game where Villa registered just two shots on goal.

That was their lowest tally in a Premier League match since May 2016 against Newcastle United (also two), while they only registered fewer on record against Manchester United in August 2005 (one).

They should still have enough to secure a top-four place, but Emery’s team need to get over their hump.

Club reports

Brighton report | Villa report

Match officials

Referee: Paul Tierney (pictured). Assistants: Scott Ledger, Mat Wilkes. Fourth official: Tom Bramall. VAR: John Brooks. Assistant VAR: James Mainwaring.

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Club Reports

Match officials

Referee: Robert Jones

Fourth Official: Stuart Attwell

VAR: Michael Oliver

Assistant VAR: Daniel Cook

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