The Villa Appetiser: Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa 2018

A 3-1 defeat to League One Peterborough in the FA Cup went some way in damaging the New Year optimism that came as a result of our 5-0 victory over Bristol City. Typical Villa…

The level of squad rotation suggests that the result should not be seen as reflective of the Villa team, but it’s another tough away game this Saturday against Nottingham Forest, who welcome new boss Aitor Karanka.

Can we pick up from where we left off on New Year’s Day?

Form

NOTTINGHAM FOREST

14th in the league table with the 14th best home record.

Last five matches at home: W 2, L 3

VILLA

5th in league table with 8th best away record.

Last five matches away: W 2, D 1, L 2 

Karanka on Villa

“The result on Sunday can be used to build momentum but you also have to be wary that the team don’t think because they beat Arsenal they can just turn up and beat Aston Villa.

“They have to realise that to play against Villa, they have to fight with the same intensity as Villa are a good team and another big club. The players know they will have to fight at least to the same level that they did on Sunday.

“I will need to get to know the players more but the main thing is all about the attitude on the pitch. With the right attitude they beat Arsenal and if we play with that attitude then we will do well.

“It is the kind of game that you can find in the Championship; two former European Cup winners playing in the Championship. I think this is the only country where you will find that in the second tier.

“It is a big game against a big team but it is our first step and I would like to get the win in my first game.”

Bruce on facing a new manager

“We seem to be having a lot of new managers, it’s becoming the trend.

“Forest have made a change, and they had a wonderful victory in the cup themselves.

“It just goes to show how bizarre football is.

“We’re expecting a difficult game. They’ve got some good players, Nottingham Forest, like a lot of the Championship teams.

“It’ll be a tough, tough game.”

and on Forest

“It goes to show, Nottingham Forest are a big club, with a big tradition and a big history.

“They’ve been in this division now for 15, 16 years.

“Big support, it’ll be a big game.

“We’re live on the TV again. We’ve sold out our allocation as always so let’s hope we can go and perform like we did in the last couple of weeks and get a result.”

Memory Match

28th November 1998 – Nottingham Forest 2 Villa 2

First half goals from Chris Bart-Williams and Dougie Freedman gave Forest a 2-0 lead in this Premier League encounter, at a time when Villa were at the top of the table.

Thankfully, a brace from Julian Joachim levelled the scoring after the break. It must have been an excellent half-time team talk from John Gregory!

One to Watch

Eric Lichaj – The defender has been a reliable player for Forest since his move from Villa, and scored an impressive FA Cup brace against Arsenal.

Embed from Getty Images

Nottingham Forest have not lost at home to Villa in the league since a 2-1 Premier League defeat in 1995

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

Winning 5-0 against a play-off rival, then losing 3-1 to a League One side. So much for consistency.

The much-changed Villa side’s defeat was in stark contrast to Forest’s cup heroics. Their 4-2 win over Arsenal was a perfect example of why the cup should be taken seriously, and they’ll now have the belief that they can end the season strongly.

The Villa defeat suggests that a few squad additions may be required this month, but we’ll have to wait to see if the deals can be done.

If that wasn’t bad enough, John Terry is a doubt for Saturday’s game after a training injury. He actually spent time at Forest, joining them on loan in the 1999-2000 season, and didn’t end up on the losing side in six matches.

Historically, this is a decent fixture for Forest, and they’ve not lost at home to Villa in the league since a 2-1 Premier League defeat in January 1995.

Although we won 2-1 against Forest at Villa Park in September, we’ve not recorded a league double over the Forest since the 1992/93 Premier League campaign. Not a great omen!

Despite indications that Forest’s new owners would stick with Warburton, he’s yet another manager to be sacked this season, meaning Villa will face another team with a new manager.

His replacement Karanka is a good appointment for Saturday’s opponents, with recent experience of guiding Middlesbrough to the top flight.

If they can carry on the momentum from the Arsenal upset, it’ll be another tough away game for Villa.

“It is the kind of game that you can find in the Championship; two former European Cup winners playing in the Championship. I think this is the only country where you will find that in the second tier” – karanka ON saturday’s game

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

The defeat to Peterborough brought back memories of cup disasters under Lambert, but there are still reasons to be cheerful.

Last Saturday’s team selection saw a completely different side to the one that thrashed Bristol City, so if Bruce goes with the typical ‘league’ team on Saturday, they’ll likely keep that confidence.

The Bristol City game saw star performances for a number of Villa players, including Snodgrass.

He’s now been involved in nine goals in his past 12 league games for Villa (four goals, five assists). During his only previous league match at the City Ground (for Leeds in 2011), he scored one, and assisted another!

Robert Snodgrass has had a hand in nine goals in his past 12 league appearances for Villa four goals, five assists. He also scored one and assisted another in his only previous league match at the City Ground, for Leeds in November 2011.

Warburton’s sacking came after a difficult time for the team. In their past three league games, they’ve failed to score, which is their worst scoreless run since December 2011.

Encouragingly for Villa, Forest’s record against the top six this season has been poor. They’ve played seven matches against the current top six in the league this season, collecting one point only.

As well as this, Karanka has only had a few days with his new side, so like the Middlesbrough match, we may be able to benefit due to the new opposition manager.

We won that game at Middlesbrough despite not playing particularly well, and if the players who shone against Bristol City can carry on that form, there’s no reason why we can’t get all three points this Saturday.

UTV.

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