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The Scout: EPL Week 7 Preview

Aston Villa v Brighton

Aston Villa have won their previous four matches against Brighton, although any perceived gap in quality between the teams has tightened in recent seasons.

Former Brighton manager Graham Potter started Albion’s revival and Roberto De Zerbi appears to be taking it to a different level that suggests they could add an historic second win over Villa.

That’s right, Brighton have only beaten Villa once in Premier League history when goals from Solly March and Danny Welbeck secured a 2-1 win in November 2020.

Both Welbeck and March remain important to the Brighton set-up, which also boasts young Ireland striker Evan Ferguson and Spanish international Ansu Fati, who is on loan from Barcelona.

Fati, who was the youngest ever Champions League goalscorer when he netted for Barca in 2019, has made two appearances off the bench. It might not be long before he gets a start and not too much longer before he scores his first goal.

Third-placed Brighton score plenty. They have 18 in six matches, which has included successive 3-1 victories over Newcastle United, Manchester United and Bournemouth. Ferguson has four goals for the season, while March and Kaoru Mitoma have three each.

Villa, under Unai Emery, are also in good form. Defeats to Liverpool and Newcastle were disappointing in the context of a season that has produced victories over Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Burnley and Everton.

Sixth-placed Villa, who are three points behind Brighton, haven’t quite scored as freely as Albion, although goalscoring responsibilities have not fallen on any particular player with doubles from Leon Bailey, Matty Cash, Moussa Diaby, Jhon Duran and Douglas Luiz. John McGinn and Ollie Watkins, who opened his Premier League account for the season in last weekend’s win over Chelsea, have also contributed to the goals tally.

Recent statistics weigh against Villa, who have created fewer chances per game (1.5 to Brighton’s 2.67) and conceded more goals on average (1.67 per game to 1.33).

Suggested Bet: Brighton to win + Total Goals over 2.5

Everton v Luton Town

It’s not quite a battle of the basement but it’s not far off.

Everton have a win and draw to show for their efforts in six matches while Luton Town, newly promoted to the Premier League this season, got their first point with a draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend.

Both Burnley and Sheffield United sit below third-from-bottom Luton, whose minus-eight goal difference is marginally better than the Clarets and Blades.

But with just three goals scored in their six matches, two of them converted from the penalty spot by Carlton Morris and a Mads Andersen consolation against West Ham, they have posed very little threat so far.

Even at this early stage of the season, Luton look highly likely to be just another promoted club that suffers immediate relegation. But given Everton’s own disjointed form, Luton manager Rob Edwards will be telling his players that this is a game they can win to build on last weekend’s draw with Wolves.

The key for Luton will be in midfield where the wonderfully named Marvelous Nakamba, as well as Amari’i Bell and Alfie Doughty have been among their most consistent performers.

Four points from their past three matches paints a far rosier picture for Everton than the season has really been. But last weekend’s 3-1 win over Brentford was a much-needed boost that Sean Dyche will be expecting to carry into the Luton game.

Goals from Abdoulaye Doucoure, James Tarkowski and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who came off the bench for the second successive week following his latest injury woes, secured an upset win over the Bees.

Everton went close to relegation last season and Dyche will be desperate to avoid a repeat. Beating Luton at Goodison Park is an absolute must if the Toffees are to avoid another battle against the drop.

Suggested Bet: Everton to win + Total Goals under 2.5.

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool

Since their opening day draw against Chelsea, Liverpool have gone through the gears to win their next five Premier League games.

Bournemouth (3-1), Newcastle (2-1), Aston Villa (3-0), Wolves (3-1) and West Ham (3-1) have all been put to the sword as the Reds have climbed to second on the table.

Goals have flowed with Darwin Nunez (three), Mohamed Salah (three), Luis Diaz (two) and Diogo Jota (two) the chief contributors. Defensively, Liverpool have been difficult to break down with a combination of Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip at the heart of the defence in front of goalkeeper Alisson.

Liverpool have conceded an average of 0.83 goals per game, which is better than the 1.17 goals Spurs have let in despite their clean sheets against Bournemouth and Manchester United.

Tottenham’s streak of four successive victories was ended by Arsenal last weekend, although two goals from Son Heung-min secured a 2-2 draw and extended to six games Spurs’ unbeaten Premier League run.

Tottenham, who are fourth on the table, two points behind Liverpool, are a team transformed under Ange Postecoglou. But Jurgen Klopp’s Reds will provide another tough test on the back of last weekend’s North London derby stalemate.

Son’s goalscoring impact – he has five for the season – has been important, while James Madisson, with four assists, continues to impress. Spurs have recently added Brennan Johnson to their attacking threat, although he was substituted just over an hour into the Arsenal clash with a hamstring worry.

Meetings between these teams generally produce goals with 23 scored in the previous six meetings at an average of 3.8 goals per game. Their most recent clash was a 4-3 thriller in which Curtis Jones, Diaz, Jota and Salah scored for Liverpool, while Richarlison, Son and a certain Harry Kane scored for Spurs.

Suggested Bet: Liverpool to win + Both teams to score.

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