Undefeated in 5, a fully rested Aston Villa will look to make it 2 league wins in a row following the 3-0 win over Barnsley last weekend. Steve Bruce says he plans for us to now play “expansive football” with two strikers while Nottingham Forest manager Mark Warburton made 8 changes for their cup loss vs Chelsea in the week, as he sets his eyes on a refreshed squad coming back fighting against the boys in claret and blue.
Forest’s ex-captain Henri Lansbury would’ve been hoping to take on his old team, but won’t be taking part after being subbed off with an injury during Tuesday’s 2-0 Carabao Cup loss to Middlesbrough. Scott Hogan was also taken off in the game against Boro, but should make the bench after being given the all clear.
Forest haven’t won a league game at Villa park since October 1994.
Villa haven’t scored or conceded at home for the last 2 home fixtures, but with Steve Bruce likely to go for two up top, fans will hope for an attacking performance and in turn a second win on the trot. Nottingham Forest have scored in every away match so far during this season’s EFL Championship campaign, grabbing an impressive 7 goals from their last 4 away league fixtures.
Stephen Henderson is an injury doubt for the opposition, while confirmed sidelined players are Danny Fox, David Vaughan, Matty Cash, Jamie Ward and Chris Cohen.
It is unlikely any personnel changes will be made from our win last weekend, however we will need to control the game from the very first whistle, something we didn’t do against Barnsley and were lucky to have not paid for it.
Following two successive defeats, Forest are likely to sit back at Villa Park, allowing us to come at them while plotting to counter with speed. From the 12 goals scored by Forest this season, 9 have been from open play. 77% of Forest’s attacks come down the flanks, utilising their wingers and fullbacks as they hope to feed Daryl Murphy a healthy supply of crosses. Number 10 Barrie McKay will be the main man looking to link up with Murphy, and has been in fine form since making his move to Nottingham Forest from Rangers, scoring 2 goals and making 4 assists so far.
A key weakness we could possibly exploit is their defensive setup for set plays, where they’ve conceded 6 goals (46% of all conceded) already this season. John Terry may have his eyes set on taking advantage of this flaw as he looks to score his first goal in Villa colours. With Jonathan Kodjia and Keinan Davis likely to start up top together, we’ll have a wealth of 6ft+ targets when it comes to corners and free-kicks.
Opposition Danger Man:
Daryl Murphy will be looking to improve on his current tally of 4 league goals following a £2m summer transfer from Newcastle United. The 6ft 2in striker will be hoping for some pinpoint crosses as he attempts to compete in an aerial battle with Chester and Terry.
Henri Lansbury (injured), Gabriel Agbonlahor (injured), Andre Green (injured), Mile Jedinak (injured), Jack Grealish (injured), Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (injured), Tommy Elphick (suspended).
Predicted Starting XI:
Kick-off: Saturday 23rd September ’17, 5:30PM (GMT).
TV Coverage: Sky Sports Football (UK), ESPN3 (USA), AVTV Live (Digital), iFollow Forest (Digital).
Result prediction for Saturday's clash against Nottingham Forest? #AVFC
— The Holte (@TheHolteTweets) September 20, 2017
Like 69% of our followers, I predict nothing less than 3 points from today’s game, especially if we do come out attacking like Bruce has hinted at. I can’t see Daryl Murphy getting the better of our centre back pairing and anything less than a win could see more fans turn on Steve Bruce, consistency is key here and we must build momentum if we are to challenge for promotion.