Ollie Watkins’ second of the game was awarded following a VAR check for a possible offside against Nicolo ZanioloOllie Watkins scored his second hat-trick of the season as Aston Villa delivered a ruthless display to thrash high-flying Brighton at Villa Park.
Watkins gave Unai Emery’s side an early lead, finishing coolly into the left corner after Matty Cash had picked out the forward with a low cross.
The 27-year-old went close with a rasping drive that flew inches wide, before doubling his personal tally with a low shot inside Jason Steele’s right-hand post.
Sharper to the ball and stronger in the challenge, Villa were all over Brighton and increased their lead just five minutes later when Moussa Diaby’s scuffed shot deflected in off the unfortunate Pervis Estupinan.
Half-time substitute Ansu Fati pulled one back as Brighton improved after the restart, but Watkins’ third of the game – a powerful drive that took a deflection off Adam Webster on its way in – ended the visitors’ hopes of an unlikely comeback.
Watkins, who also scored three against Hibernian in Europa Conference League qualifying, is the first Villa player to net more than one hat-trick in a season since Andy Gray in 1976-77.
Late efforts from Jacob Ramsey and Douglas Luiz were the icing on the cake for Villa, who move level on points with the Seagulls in the Premier League table.
Follow live text and analysis from all of Saturday’s Premier League gamesWatkins at heart of scintillating displayBoth these teams were knocked out of the Carabao Cup in midweek, Villa losing at 2-1 home to Everton and Brighton going down 1-0 at Chelsea.
That was Villa’s first home defeat since February, but Emery’s team delivered the perfect response as they repeatedly tore into the Seagulls, ruthlessly exposing the visitors’ vulnerability on the counter-attack.
Watkins, who had scored just once in his past 12 league outings prior to last weekend’s winner at Chelsea, was a constant threat and could have had a hat-trick in the first half – but sent a fierce effort agonisingly wide of the far post with the score still 1-0.
There was an element of fortune about the forward’s third of the match, which struck Webster and looped high into the Brighton net, but it was no more than the former Brentford man deserved after a scintillating performance in front of watching England manager Gareth Southgate.
The 27-year-old has now scored in each of his past four Premier League appearances against Brighton – only Sergio Aguero, Jamie Vardy and Phil Foden had previously found the net in four successive top-flight appearances against the Seagulls.
Ramsey added a fifth with a curling, right-footed shot from the corner of the penalty area, before Douglas Luiz pounced on a rebound from Watkins’ saved effort to complete the rout deep into added time.
This was Villa’s 10th home league win in a row – their best run since registering 13 home league victories in succession 40 years ago.
Nightmare afternoon for SeagullsBrighton boss Roberto de Zerbi was linked with the Real Madrid manager’s job in midweek but this was a sobering afternoon for his side, who could have taken an early lead through Estupinan but were second best from the moment Watkins broke the deadlock after 14 minutes.
The full-back poked into the arms of Emiliano Martinez after running on to Billy Gilmour’s lofted through ball, but the chance proved to be the high point of a wretched afternoon for the visitors.
Brighton may feel aggrieved by Villa’s second and third goals. Nicolo Zaniolo was in an offside position when the ball left Watkins’ boot for 2-0, but the video assistant referee ruled the winger was not obstructing Steele’s line of vision and the goal was given.
The home side’s third was also allowed to stand after Solly March had been caught by the falling Douglas Luiz in the build-up, but the half-time scoreline did not flatter Emery’s team in the slightest.
De Zerbi’s half-time introduction of Fati, Joao Pedro and Tariq Lamptey paid immediate dividends as the Barcelona loanee bundled home his first goal for the club, but the effort failed to spark a second half revival as Villa went on to rub further salt into the visitors’ wounds.
This was the first time Brighton conceded six goals in a single top-flight game – and the first time in any league match since a 6-0 defeat by West Ham in the Championship in April 2012.
Player of the match
with an average of 8.97
Aston VillaSquad number11Player nameWatkins
Squad number41Player nameJ Ramsey
Squad number19Player nameDiaby
Squad number6Player nameDouglas Luiz
Squad number2Player nameCash
Squad number44Player nameKamara
Squad number4Player nameKonsa
Squad number14Player nameP Torres
Squad number22Player nameZaniolo
Squad number12Player nameDigne
Squad number1Player nameE Martínez
Squad number24Player nameDurán
Squad number7Player nameMcGinn
Squad number8Player nameTielemans
Brighton & Hove AlbionSquad number5Player nameDunk
Squad number9Player nameJoão Pedro
Squad number2Player nameLamptey
Squad number22Player nameMitoma
Squad number7Player nameMarch
Squad number31Player nameAnsu Fati
Squad number41Player nameHinshelwood
Squad number28Player nameFerguson
Squad number24Player nameAdingra
Squad number20Player nameBaleba
Squad number23Player nameSteele
Squad number18Player nameWelbeck
Squad number34Player nameVeltman
Squad number4Player nameWebster
Squad number11Player nameGilmour
Squad number30Player nameEstupiñán
Line-upsAston VillaFormation 4-2-3-1
1E Martínez2Cash4KonsaBooked at 57mins14P Torres12DigneBooked at 32mins44KamaraSubstituted forTielemansat 90’minutes6Douglas LuizBooked at 7mins7McGinn19DiabySubstituted forDuránat 79’minutesBooked at 90mins22ZanioloSubstituted forJ Ramseyat 57’minutes11WatkinsSubstitutes3Diego Carlos8Tielemans9Traoré16Chambers17Lenglet24Durán25Olsen32Dendoncker41J RamseyBrightonFormation 4-2-3-1
23Steele34Veltman4Webster5DunkBooked at 78mins30EstupiñánSubstituted forLampteyat 45’minutes41HinshelwoodSubstituted forBalebaat 87’minutes11Gilmour7MarchSubstituted forAdingraat 62’minutes18WelbeckBooked at 39minsSubstituted forJoão Pedroat 45’minutes22MitomaBooked at 84mins28FergusonSubstituted forAnsu Fatiat 45’minutesBooked at 72minsSubstitutes1Verbruggen2Lamptey3dos Santos de Paulo8Dahoud9João Pedro20Baleba24Adingra29van Hecke31Ansu FatiReferee:Andy Madley
Live TextMatch ends, Aston Villa 6, Brighton and Hove Albion 1.
Second Half ends, Aston Villa 6, Brighton and Hove Albion 1.
Goal! Aston Villa 6, Brighton and Hove Albion 1. Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner.
Attempt saved. Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by John McGinn.
Hand ball by Tariq Lamptey (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Jhon Durán (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.
Simon Adingra (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa).
Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Matty Cash.
Attempt missed. Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ollie Watkins with a headed pass.
Offside, Brighton and Hove Albion. João Pedro tries a through ball, but Simon Adingra is caught offside.
Foul by Joël Veltman (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Carlos Baleba (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Youri Tielemans (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Youri Tielemans replaces Boubacar Kamara because of an injury.
Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Jacob Ramsey.
Foul by Carlos Baleba (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Boubacar Kamara (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Billy Gilmour (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Kaoru Mitoma with a headed pass.