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Aston Villa hit Brighton for six, Man Utd and Arsenal in 3pm action

Aston Villa knocked Brighton for six in Saturday’s early Premier League kick-off as Ollie Watkins grabbed his first league hat-trick in three years.

Three goals in each half for Unai Emery’s side handed Brighton their heaviest defeat of the season, with a five-goal winning margin enough to see Villa leapfrog the Seagulls into third place in the table on goal difference.

Watkins broke the deadlock after just a quarter of an hour, slotting home a Matty Cash cross to grab his second goal of the season and put his name on the scoresheet against Brighton for the fourth consecutive game.

The home side then found themselves two in front just seven minutes later when a change of possession in the middle of the park fell to Moussa Diaby, whose pass sent Watkins down the left wing and into the 18-yard box before the Englishman cut back across goal, rifling in his and Villa’s second of the match.

And well before the half-hour mark had even been reached, a shot from Diaby was parried by Brighton ‘keeper Jason Steele before the former Bayer Leverkusen winger’s scuffed rebound was bundled in off the helpless Pervis Estupinan.

This left the Seagulls trailing by three or more goals within the first 30 minutes of a Premier League game for the first time.

Premier League results and fixtures

  • Aston Villa 6-1 Brighton
  • 3pm: Bournemouth vs Arsenal
  • 3pm: Everton vs Luton
  • 3pm: Man Utd vs Crystal Palace
  • 3pm: Newcastle vs Burnley
  • 3pm: West Ham vs Sheff Utd
  • 3pm: Wolves vs Man City
  • 5.30pm: Tottenham Liverpool

The Ecuadorian full-back was run ragged by Cash, and Kaoru Mitoma was not even afforded the chance to make amends, being hooked at half-time alongside the ineffective forward duo of Evan Ferguson and Danny Welbeck as Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi changed tact.

That trio of changes seemed to pay off at first after the interval as substitute Ansu Fati pulled one back for the visitors, but Watkins’ third extinguished any hopes of a comeback before Jacob Ramsey added salt to the wounds with Villa’s fifth goal of the afternoon.

It was Watkins’ second-ever Premier League hat-trick, after he last bagged three in Villa’s 7-2 rout of Liverpool back in October 2020, and the England international also supplied the assist for substitute Ramsey’s peach of a goal – all while national team manager Gareth Southgate watched on from the stands at Villa Park.

Watkins could, and perhaps should, have come away with a fourth in injury time, but Douglas Luiz was there to finish off the left-overs and add a sixth and final goal for Villa, who grabbed their fifth win in seven games to climb into third spot in the league.

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