Emiliano Martinez proves his class again for Aston Villa to deny wasteful Brighton

Emiliano Martinez
Aston Villa's Emiliano Martinez makes a save from Brighton's Dan Burn Credit: REUTERS

Emiliano Martinez this week compared Jack Grealish to Lionel Messi, but the goalkeeper will soon be earning hyperbolic comparisons of his own with performances like this.

A long list of famous goalkeepers, including Jimmy Rimmer, Nigel Spink and Mark Bosnich, have played for Villa down the years and Martinez’s performances this season are evoking memories of some of the club’s best stoppers.

Martinez, who looks a steal at £17million from Arsenal, single-handedly secured a point for Villa with his 12th clean sheet of the season against a Brighton side who will be wondering how they did not take all three points.

Seven of Martinez’s clean sheets have come away from home and the only Villa goalkeeper to manage more away shut-outs in a Premier League season was another of the club’s respected goalkeepers Brad Friedel with eight.

While Villa have earned praise for their enterprise this season, there has been a dogged determination about them in recent weeks that has started with Martinez.

Dean Smith’s side have not been sweeping opponents aside of late, but clean sheets against Southampton, Arsenal and now Brighton have earned them valuable points.

Grealish was not quite the Midlands Messi at the Amex Stadium on a freezing Saturday night, but Martinez was at his very best at the other end.

The Argentine’s best save came from a Dan Burn header in the first half, but he felt the draw represented a missed opportunity for Villa, who moved up to eighth above Tottenham.

Emi Martinez has been one of the signings of the season Credit: Reuters

"Not really (pleased with a point), we came here to win and be in the top seven with two games in hand,” said Martinez. “We were sloppy in the first half and could not create the chances in the second.

“That is my job and the back four, to keep a clean sheet. It is one of those games where we had to put our bodies on the line but we were really off today.

“It was so cold, I thought I had a good game because I made a save early on and I am delighted to keep everyone out today.

“I just want to repay the trust of the manager, goalkeeper coach and club. I am glad I settled in really quickly but credit to my team-mates who are doing a really good job.

“We are looking to Europe, that is why I am frustrated today. We were not in the game since the first minute and Brighton deserved to win.”

Graham Potter agreed with Martinez’s assessment after seeing Burn, Leandro Trossard, Neal Maupay and substitute Danny Welbeck all fail to beat the Villa goalkeeper.

Brighton are now unbeaten in six Premier League games, but it should have been a second successive home victory.

“It was frustrating but pleasing because the performance was very good and we did everything but score,” said Potter. “We had shots, had attacks and reduced Villa's attacking players. We are disappointed with just the one point.

“Their goalkeeper made some really good saves and has been an important player for them, that is football but the overall performance we had enough shots and attacks at them to score, just not that last little luck you need.”

Other than praising Martinez, Smith, who saw Matt Cash forced off with a hamstring injury, was angry with Villa’s performance, saying: “Not even bang average, I have never seen us make so many unforced errors in a game, it was sloppy from start to finish but we had the resilience to keep the ball out of the net. Brighton were the better team.

"It was disappointing all round and the only thing that comes from it is a clean sheet and the resilience.”

FULL TIME - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

It is all over at the Amex and Brighton will think they should have done better tonight.

But with nine saves, Martinez was the stand out performer. 

Brighton move to 26 points and stay in 15th. Villa are up to eighth on 36 points.

90 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Three minutes of stoppage time.

88 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Welcome to the Premier League Morgan Sanson. He is the latest name booked. This was for a foul on Trossard.

83 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Martinez is there again. There's a scramble in the box and the ball falls to Welbeck, who flick a shot at goal and Martinez reacts quickly to block. He has been outstanding today.

79 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

The flow of the game has been disrupted by the subs made by both teams.

The latest sees Welbeck come on for Maupay.

76 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Yellow card for Trossard after he brings down Trezeguet.

75 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Into the final 15 mins. After a day full of goals, this match looks like being a stalemate.

Villa make their final change of the game with Sanson coming on for Barkley.

69 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Luiz is booked for barging over MacAllister. He can have no complaints here. His fourth yellow card of the season.

From the resulting free-kick, Brighton take it short and attempt to play their way through but Villa stand strong.

65 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Villa make their second substitution of the match with Trezeguet coming on for Traore.

63 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Martinez with another great save to deny Veltman. It is a one man show right now.

61 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Brighton boss Potter makes a change with Adam Lallana coming on for Alzate.

Villa's Cash has picked up a knock and he's come off for Elmohamady.

59 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Trossard goes close again, driving towards the box then twisting and turning in the area before firing just wide of the near post.

54 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Same pattern as the first half with Brighton dominating possession and working the ball from side to side.

But Villa are staying compact and resolute so far.

47 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Brighton go straight up the other end and MacAllister's deflected shot is saved by the feet of Martinez.

46mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Positive start by Villa as Barkley tests Sanchez from distance. That's the first shot on target tonight.

Second half

Aston Villa get the second half started.

HALF TIME - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Villa can count themselves fortunate to be level and manager Dean Smith will be demanding more in the second half.

Brighton have had the upper hand. Will they come to regret those missed chances?

45 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

One minute of added time.

44 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Brighton have had 12 attempts to Villa's one. Just the four on target which doesn't do justice to the stranglehold they have had on the match.

39 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

It is all Brighton right now. Trossard's drag back fool Luiz and he cuts back to Burn, who's shot is blocked for a corner.

The corner is cleared again by Villa.

37 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Brilliant save by Martinez to deny a Burn header which was creeping into the far post.

The Argentine is single handedly keeping this match level.

36 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

MacAllister finds Trossard on the edge of the box and the Belgian fires a good effort which is parried over by Martinez.

Are Brighton going to get the reward for their dominance?

34 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Brighton break Villa's back line and Maupay fires a shot at goal which Martinez.

Brighton continue to be on top.

29mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Luiz knocks over Maupay and Brighton have another free-kick outside the box.

Gross takes it but it is straight at Martinez.

 

Tight game

23 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Brighton earn a free kick 25 yards from Villa's box. MacAllister takes it but shoots over the bar.

20 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Grealish is now booked for pulling back Trossard.

19 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Alzate fouls Grealish on the right side of the box. He's booked and Traore will take the free-kick.

But Brighton clear the ball.

16 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Watkins is down and in a bit of pain after Dunk fell on top of him with the studs going into his shins.

A nasty one but the Villa striker is OK to continue.

12 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Brighton's dominance continues as Veltman sprints down the right side and comes inside before hitting a left-footed shot.

It is comfortably saved by Martinez but the momentum is clearly with the home side.

9 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Veltman whips in a dangerous ball and MacAllister is there to meet it but heads over.

Probably should do better and that's reflected in his reaction as he kicks the woodwork in frustration.

7 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

Burn heads wide from a cross by Trossard. Brighton have started on the front foot.

4 mins - Brighton 0 Aston Villa 0

First corner of the match goes to the home side as MacAllister's shot is blocked. The ball is cleared but Brighton get another corner to keep up the pressure. 

And once again Villa get the ball away from danger.

Kick off

Brighton get the match at the Amex underway.

Potter pre-match

"We've drawn too many against teams in and around us. For us to take the next step we have to be more successful and win those games.

In this league nobody cares what you did a couple of days ago. Aston Villa have recruited really well and identified areas they were weaker in last season."

Pre-game stats

Brighton are looking to complete a league double over Aston Villa for the first time in what is their 11th season facing the Villans.

Brighton are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games (W3 D2), with only Manchester City on a longer current run without defeat in the competition (15).

Aston Villa have won 11 Premier League games this season, keeping a clean sheet in 10 of those victories.

Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish has been directly involved in five goals in his last five appearances against Brighton in all competitions (4 goals, 1 assist), scoring in his last two at the Amex.

Team news

Brighton make three changes with Dan Burn, Leandro Trossard and Steven Alzate starting.

Douglas Luiz is the only change for Aston Villa from their 1-0 win over Arsenal last weekend. He comes in for Marvelous Nakamba.

Aston Villa starting XI

Brighton starting XI

Good evening!

Hello and welcome to coverage for the late kick off between Brighton and Aston Villa.

Unbeaten in five league games, Brighton could set a new club record for their longest sequence of Premier League fixtures without losing if they avoid defeat.

In Aston Villa, they will face a side who have won six times on the road in this season's top flight after a successful summer transfer window where they signed Emiliano Martinez, Matty Cash, Bertrand Traore and Ollie Watkins and Brighton boss Graham Potter hailed the work done by his counterpart Dean Smith.

"The goalkeeper has come in and made a big difference," Potter said.

"Cash has done well at right-back, they've added (Ross) Barkley, Traore and Watkins up front and that takes the pressure off Jack Grealish a little bit to not be the sole provider that he was a bit last year.

"They're more of an attacking unit with really good players at the top end of the pitch that can hurt you in a second.

"They've also got the ability to keep clean sheets. Credit to Dean and the team there, the balance of the team is really good."

Villa are ninth in the table, with games in hand on all but one of the teams above them.

Winning both games in hand they have over Chelsea and Liverpool could see Smith's side climb above both clubs and up to fourth in the standings.

But the Villa boss Smith is not getting carried away, saying: "It's a mere distraction at the moment as we're only 21 games in. There's a long way to go still and we haven't played Everton or Tottenham in the league yet.

"There are games that we haven't played because of Covid-19 this season, so it's been a strange one but a good one in terms of our consistency.

"We've been a bit up and down over our last couple of performances - very good against Arsenal and not so good against West Ham. The performance against Arsenal is more of what we want to see from our players."