Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest – Pre-game Assessment

Saturday, February 24th, 15:00 – Villa Park

Referee: Sam Barrott

Many pundits are coming around to the opinion that our Villans are bona fide candidates for a top-four finish when us Villa fans are becoming more nervous because of recent injuries (the latest being Konsa, Kamala, and Carlos). 

Most recently, David James and Chris Sutton expressed their confidence based on our Villans’ repeated ability to bounce back from defeats.  Not only did they prevail last week at Craven Cottage, but they also performed with a lot of poise.

The sole goal that Fulham scored was a result of a communication problem between Lenglet and Martinez.  Next time, I have no doubt that Emi will let his experienced center back deal with the issue as is always a good default.

There were other reassuring aspects of the game.  Primarily, the presence of Torres created an immediate composure-bounce for the whole team (and their fans).  Almost as important was the return to pre-injury form by Jacob Ramsey.  It was his hustle and speed that assisted Watkins on his first goal and could have led to more. 

Ollie often scores goals in bunches, and there could be an extra bounce in his play as our Villans attempt to get back to winning ways at home.

Then, there was the cohesion that the midfield of Luiz, McGinn, and Tielemans played with.  While we might see less of Luiz in the goal scorers with him playing deeper, the transition from defense to offense might be faster with his more penetrating passes from the back.

Meanwhile, Moreno and Bailey both came close to scoring, and they will be hungry against Forest.  There will also be the added incentive of getting a little retribution against the team that shut us out in the reverse fixture on Guy Fawkes Day and sent us home pointless.

With a two-point advantage and a superior “goal difference” than Spurs and a 5-point advantage over Man U. we have everything to play for and our fate in our team’s hands.

As for the risk of taking Forest too lightly, their successes at Stamford Bridge and at St. James Park will preclude that risk.

Result Prediction:

Prediction:  Aston Villa 3, Nottingham Forest 1

Predicted Villa Line-Up:

I anticipate that Emery will start with the same eleven that started against Fulham 

Aston Villa: (4, 3, 2, 1) Martínez, Cash, Lenglet, Torres, Moreno, McGinn, Luiz, Tielemans, Bailey, Ramsey, Watkins.

Subs: Marschall, Diaby, Chambers, Iroegbunam, Rogers, Kellyman

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