“All teams are dealing with passionate fans who have high expectations at this time of year. But the one commodity you do need is time, undoubtedly” – Mark Warburton
The Villa Appetiser: Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest 2017/18
Only losing three of his last 36 home league games as a manager sounds impressive, but under closer scrutiny, during his time at Villa, Bruce needs to turn home draws into wins to make Aston Villa a legit promotion candidate.
The good news is that so far this season Nottingham Forest don’t do draws this season. Their eight games this season have been split down the middle – four wins and four losses.
Forest are currently in 10th place on 12 points with their 50-50 record, so a Villa win would see them leap frog the East Midlanders.
Having sold Britt Assombalonga to Middlesbrough in the summer, it’ll be interesting to see if Forest can threaten Villa’s back line that is on a run of three league clean sheets.
Meanwhile, at the other end, will what looks to be Bruce’s first XI that beat Barnsley 3-0, be able to fire once again?
Bruce on Forest
“They’re in that transition with manager after manager and in Mark, there’s a very shrewd appointment and it’ll be a difficult game like they all are.
“I’m under no illusions that it’ll be a tough, tough game.”
Bruce on Villa
“A good result always put everybody in a good frame of mind.”
“We’ve kept three clean sheets (in the league), and adding to that, Jonathan Kodjia is back.
“We got a break last week and we needed it.
“There’s an important week coming up before the international break.
“We let the eleven players focus on the week ahead and they are all fresh and fit.
“We will go as we did against Barnsley.”
Bruce on Villa Change
“Being difficult to beat, difficult to play against, organised on a defensive structure – that is the way I thought would take us forward, to try and stop the culture of getting beat. I’ll make no bones about that.”
“I tried to open things up in January, too quickly. I bought people in – Henri Lansbury, Conor Hourihane and Scott Hogan – who had the top statistics in the division.”
“It has taken them a little bit of time to adjust and settle into what Villa is.
“Now, where we are at this moment, we have a squad capable of mounting a challenge.”
Warburton on Pressure on Bruce
“I have read some of the criticism there, which is ludicrous. I saw Steve’s comments after their victory at Barnsley and I fully understand where he is coming from.”
“It is so early in the season. It is a big club and players come in and take time to gel and settle.
“It is what it is now, when it come to the demands. But the one commodity you need is time. I sense Steve’s frustration on that front and rightly so.
“We know they are a team that is starting to gel; as are we. All teams are the same, all teams are welcoming in new players and gelling squads together.
“All teams are dealing with passionate fans who have high expectations at this time of year. It is part and parcel of the game. But the one commodity you do need is time, undoubtedly.”
Warburton on Forest
“Whether it’s me or another manager, somebody has got to manage the club for the next three or four years. I hope it’s myself – that’s what it needs. It doesn’t need continual change because you get no continuity. I’ve done it before so I’m sure I can do it again.”
05 September 1984 – Aston Villa 0 v Nottingham Forest 5
Only two years after winning the European Cup, it was clear the rot was already setting in. While seven of the team that started in Rotterdam played, the likes of Mervyn Day, Steve Foster, Steve McMahon and Mark Walters replaced the four missing.
It was also European Cup winner Des Bremner’s last game for Villa…before he left for the Blues.
Villa – Last four matches at home: W 1, D 3, L 0
Forest – Last four matches away: W 2 D 0, L 2
One to Watch
Barrie McKay – Forest’s 22-year-old Scottish No.10 has been a bright spark in midfield, scoring two and chipping in with four assists. The ex-Ranger’s man is happy to have a pop from distance, so Villa must close him down quickly.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Forest started the season brightly although now find themselves slipping, but after some poor away form last season, they currently have the fifth best away form in the division.
So far, they have beaten Brentford and Sunderland in the league, as well as Newcastle in the League Cup.
Scottish pair captain Liam Bridcutt and midfield spark Barrie McKay are useful players, while attacking midfielder Daryl Murphy, who is expected to play as a lone striker, has had something of a Indian summer to his career, with the 34-year-old chalking up four goals this season.
“Now, where we are at this moment, we have a squad capable of mounting a challenge” – Steve bruce
Forest’s standard formation of 4-2-3-1 has what it takes to stifle Bruce’s predicted 4-4-2, and with 55% possession of all of their games this season, they will be looking to control the game and then nick a goal.
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Historically, Villa have the upper hand in matches between the two teams. They’ve beaten Forest 57 times compared to 38 losses, with 29 draws between the teams.
Before Villa dropped into the Championship they were nine games unbeaten after Forest, but hopefully they can get back to winning ways after only picking up a single point last season.
The scorer of Forest’s late equaliser in the 2-2 draw Villa Park last time round, Henri Lansbury, now plays for us (although is doubtful for the game), but the astounding stat from that game is only Chester and Kodjia from the first XI that will play this time around.
That’s a good thing, especially with the midfield looking a lot more dynamic than the one that included Westwood and Gardner last time round.
Forest have lost four of their last six games and after a bright start are now coming to terms with losing Britt Assombalonga, whom to be honest they haven’t really replaced yet.
This is a real chance for the 11 that started against Barnsley to really put a marker down and fire confidence through the club and continue both the current unbeaten league run and start a new winning one.
Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid
- Lewis Rymond is currently on holiday