By Dan Carter

3rd Oct, 2023 | 10:10am

Douglas Luiz set to break his own Aston Villa goal scoring record as 92% ace has career best start

Few would have been expecting Aston Villa to run riot over Brighton in the manner that they did during their 6-1 demolition of Robert De Zerbi’s Seagulls.

Unai Emery’s side didn’t take their foot off of the gas during Saturday’s (30 September) win to leapfrog Brighton and climb up into fifth and the Europa League places following their excellent start to the season.

Ollie Watkins will steal the plaudits, and deservedly so given his excellent hat trick, but one man who’s making a habit of running the show from the middle of the park while flying under the radar is Douglas Luiz and Garth Crooks was keen to pick out the Brazilian’s performance.

Writing in his BBC Sport Team of the Week (3 October) Crooks said: “The ease with which he struck the ball to score his fifth consecutive home league goal in the 6-1 win over Brighton said it all for me. This player has been a revelation for Aston Villa since the arrival of Unai Emery.

“I always thought it would have been Philippe Coutinho who would be setting the scene alight at Villa Park, but it’s another Brazilian who seems to be doing that right now. Luiz is playing out of his skin at the moment, meanwhile, the team don’t look out of place in the top six.”

Luiz’s 97th-minute strike was his third of the campaign and was the icing on the cake of what was an incredible afternoon not only for Villa but for the 25-year-old as well. He barely put a foot wrong in the middle of the park for Emery’s side, completing 92 per cent of his 40 attempted passes [Fotmob].

Six of those passes were into the final third as he created one chance for his teammates in the contest and completed two accurate long passes. In defence, he won two tackles and registered four ball recoveries while also winning five ground duels as he and Boubacar Kamara got the better of Billy Gilmour and Jack Hinshelwood.

If Luiz continues scoring at his current rate, averaging 0.43 goals per game, for the remainder of the campaign he will score 16 goals for Aston Villa this season and while the Brazilian is often reliant on penalties for his source of goals, that would be a huge boost for Emery’s side.

Last year Watkins was the only player to register double figures for goals in the league, with Jacob Ramsey, Luiz and Danny Ings tied for second with six strikes between them. After only seven games of the season, the Brazilian is halfway to last season’s total.

Although many will say that is courtesy of taking spot-kicks for Villa, the midfielder’s late goal at Villa Park on Saturday had an incredibly low xG of only 0.12 and so far this season the Brazilian’s three goals have come from an xG of 1.99.

This is by no means a new aspect of Luiz’s game and it could be a boost to Emery and Villa’s top six hopes this season as according to Fbref, in the last year the 25-year-old has overperformed his non-penalty expected goals per 90 minutes by 0.08.

If he keeps burying his penalties when he needs to and maintains this good goal-scoring form for the rest of the year, there is no doubt that he’ll better his previous career-best tally of six goals and who knows where Aston Villa could ultimately finish with those extra strikes.

In other Aston Villa news, Gabby Agbonglahor is asking too much of Emery to try and compete in every competition