COMMENT by Amir Mir
Aston Villa clash with Brighton at the AMEX stadium on Friday evening with the hosts once again showing promotion credentials this season.
Chris Hughton’s side sit in an automatic promotion spot in the Championship table, while Villa are currently five points off the play-offs.
Villa’s promotion ambitions will be severely tested on Friday against a side who have won ten league games and scored 25 goals in 16 matches this term.
Here at Football Insider we take a look at the three Villa players that can help the Midlands giants secure a win against the in-form Seagulls on their home patch.
The Ivory Coast international is fast becoming Villa’s go-to guy with his game-changing mentality helping Bruce’s men secure 11 points from their last five games.
Kodjia, who was purchased for a transfer fee of £11 million in the summer, has scored five league goals since Bruce arrived in early October.
The 27-year-old can hurt Brighton’s defensive line with his pace, power and trickery. He can also be utilised as a lone man up front or switch to the flanks, which could play on the minds of the back four.
Welshman Chester joined Villa from rivals West Brom in the summer and the former Premier League player has not missed a single minute of football since his arrival.
His ability to read the game and make key tackles will be extremely important against Brighton, who have scored seven goals in their last two games.
Chester’s battle with Glenn Murray could be pivotal as to who picks up the points with the Seagulls forward scoring nine goals this term, including four in his last two games.
Since Bruce’s arrival, Gardner has been one of the players who has flourished under his stewardship.
He bagged his first goal for the club against rivals Birmingham City and his energetic style on Friday will be pivotal to the way Villa play.
The club’s academy graduate, who likes a shot on goal, will be crucial to Villa taking their limited chances on the night as the hosts will be expected to dominate possession.
In other Aston Villa team news, Steve Bruce could make two changes for their trip to Brighton with Mile Jedinak and Ross McCormack missing out.