High-flying Brighton was stunned by Unai Emery’s team, who scored three goals in 12 first-half minutes. Watkins, who has now scored in four straight meetings against the Seagulls, scored twice in quick succession (goals 14 and 21), and Pervis Estupinan’s own goal (goal number 26) completed an ideal first half for the home team.
Ansu Fati scored his first goal for the club (number 50) early in the second half following a protracted and contentious VAR check for offside, giving Brighton, who have now lost 11 straight Premier League games, hope for a comeback.
Watkins scored his hat-trick in front of England manager Gareth Southgate, but just as Roberto De Zerbi’s team was starting to gain momentum, Jacob Ramsey (85) and Douglas Luiz (90+7) added late goals to give the home team a third straight league victory.
With the victory, Villa moves up to third position, level on points with Brighton, who suffers their second loss of the year.
On Thursday at 5.45 p.m., Villa plays Zrinjski in the Europa Conference League. The Europa League match between Brighton and Marseille will take place on Thursday at 5.45 p.m. in France.
Villa’s next Premier League game is against Wolves on Sunday, October 8; kickoff is at 2pm. Brighton plays Liverpool on Sunday, October 8, also live on Sky Sports; kickoff is at 2pm.