The Villa Appetiser: Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa 2016
It could only happen to Villa.
News surfaced that Colin Calderwood was set to be appointed as assistant manager just before the Brighton game, and hours before the Brentford clash, it was Hogan making the switch.
Typical of Villa’s luck then that the absence of Hogan from Brentford’s line-up didn’t work in our favour – instead we saw our heaviest defeat this season.
The last time we headed to the City Ground was in November ’98, when Villa were top of the Premier League.
Can we at least see a performance against Forest that suggests those Premier League days aren’t too far away?
Gary Brazil on Villa
“I’m expecting a tough game.
“We were pleased with what we have done in the transfer window but in the last few weeks Steve Bruce has done a lot of work with his squad, he has brought a lot of talent in so it will be a tough game.
“But we are a good squad and we have added to that in the last few days and it is a game we are looking forward to.”
Bruce on Lansbury’s Forest reunion
“Henri has six stitches in his eye – but I am sure he’ll be wanting to do well.
“I don’t think he’s got anything to prove.
“He’s been a good player for them – and he will be a good player for us.”
Bruce on Hogan
“He’s young, hungry and desperate to achieve. He’s had it tough, which I like about him.
“He’s had a few kicks and got up from them. He’s dynamic and works hard for the team.
“When he gets in front of goal, he’s a top-class finisher in my opinion.
“I am delighted we have him.
“The decision to sell Rudy was questioned by everyone. But in the back of my mind there was Scott.
“We then thought he was going to West Ham. But when that collapsed, it gave us that opportunity.
“Even then we had to beat off a couple of clubs but I am delighted we have done him.”
Forest have used 34 different players this season.
28th November 1998 Nottingham Forest 2 Aston Villa 2
Two goals from Joachim contributed to a draw when we last met at the City Ground.
Forest – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 1, L 2
Villa – Last five matches away: W 1, L 4
One to Watch
Zach Clough – Signed on Deadline Day from Bolton, the promising forward could feature this Saturday. He certainly has the right name to succeed at Forest.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Everybody wanted to see the new signings feature against Brentford and Bruce made changes accordingly.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing though, and after a promising start to the game, it didn’t take long until it turned into a shambles.
Bafflingly, Brentford’s home form was poor, making the result even more surprising. And in a league as unpredictable as the Championship, Forest are difficult to assess.
Nottingham Forest are in a bit of a bad way behind the scenes. They’re without a permanent manager after the sacking of Montanier, a manager who owner Al Hasawi claimed wasn’t his choice!
Under the stewardship of interim boss Gary Brazil, however, they’ve recorded two wins out of three – both victories coming at home.
24 of Forest’s 33 points have come at the City Ground, and with Villa’s terrible away form, there’s few reasons for optimism.
Baker and Chester, who have been pretty reliable this season, were poor against Brentford, while none of the new signings imposed themselves on the game.
While Forest have back-to-back home wins, Villa’s away woes have seen them fail to score in five of the last six away games. It’s no surprise that no Championship club has scored fewer away goals than us.
“Steve Bruce has done a lot of work with his squad, he has brought a lot of talent in so it will be a tough game.” – brazil ON VILLA
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Our last number 9 was also called Scott, but Hogan has a chance of being more prolific than Sinclair.
With an excellent Championship goal-scoring record, Hogan could help reduce our reliance on Kodjia and see us make an increasingly unlikely play-off place effort.
New signings Bree and Taylor could be in line for debuts after Tuesday’s awful defensive display, and while that defeat has lowered the Villa faithful’s excitement levels, our team looks a lot better than it did at the start of the season.
Bruce’s sweeping changes to the squad are nothing compared to Forest’s lineups this season. Saturday’s opponents have made 97 changes to their starting XI overall this season in the league (more than any other side), and have used 34 different players, also a league high.
Such is Villa’s luck, that if McCormack was to play a part on Saturday, he’d probably net a hat-trick. Luckily, neither he or Tshibola will be eligible to play their parent club this weekend.
Forest have some relegation worries due to the financial instability that usually sees them sell their prized assets. Our man Lansbury is a miss for them – he is still Forest’s player with the most ‘goal involvements’ (9) in the league this season.
Hopefully we see a much better performance at the City Ground.
Bruce can’t keep using his post-match interviews for apologies.
Follow Lewis on Twitter – @rymondfootball
Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid