Aston Villa will be on a high when Nottingham Forest visits Villa Park this evening. The wins over Derby County and Birmingham City this month have been massive improvements for the club.
Complacency is something that springs to mind, however. In the past, we have been notorious for coming off the back off a big win and not turning up for the following game. It will be interesting to see if this differs now we have Dean Smith in charge. There must have been a motivation problem from Steve Bruce’s side in the past.
Nottingham Forest will not be easy. They come to Villa Park sitting just outside the playoff positions. But if Villa are to get promoted this season then we will have to beat sides above us, particularly at home. It will be a big game though. A game of two sides who have won the European Cup in the past. You can get bookmakers sign up offers for the Champions League!
Villa have picked up 18 points at home. Only West Brom and Leeds have picked up more points at home so far this season.
Nottingham Forest have had a steady start to the season. Like Villa, they have one aim this season, promotion. I have seen some fans criticise the managers approach on social media but I am sure the majority of fans would take their current position.
Forest are the 5th best team in the Championship based on their away form. You could argue they are draw specialists on the road though. They have drawn 5 and won 3 of their away games this season. More important, they have only lost 1 and that was against Dean Smith’s Brentford back in September.
Aitor Karanka’s side like to exploit both wings at every opportunity and are not scared of shooting from outside of the box. We will have to be at our best as they are a very good pressing side and are not scared to get aggressive when needed.
ONE TO WATCH
It is no real surprise that I have highlighted Lewis Grabban as my one to watch. He spent half of last season on loan with Villa so we all know what he is capable of. The 30-year-old striker signed for Forest for a little over £6million in the summer.
Grabban has gone on to score 10 goals in 17 League appearances so far this season. You won’t need me to tell you this but he is very good at holding up the ball and finishing. If I was to say he had a weakness it would be his offside awareness. The Villa defence will have their work cut out today.
Albert Adomah will miss out due to an injury he picked up in the win over Birmingham. Ahmed Elmohammady is expected to replace him.
Henry Lansbury is also a doubt after he went off injured with a calf problem on Sunday. Smith is hopeful that John McGinn will recover from a calf injury and could feature tonight.
Karanka has no fresh injury concerns when they visit Villa Park. Danny Fox and Hillal Soudan are long-term casualties.
HEAD TO HEAD
Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest have faced each other 126 times in all competitions. Villa edge the head to head battle with 59 victories. Forest have won 38 and there have been 29 draws.
Villa have only lost 1 in their last 12 meetings with Forest. That defeat came at the City ground in the 2016-17 season. The last time Forest beat Villa at Villa Park was in 1994. The game ended in a 0-2 win to the visitors.
The first-ever game between the two sides took place in December 1880. Villa won the game 1-2 thanks to goals from Archie Hunter and Howard Vaughton.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Predicted XI: Nyland; Taylor, Chester, Tuanzebe, Hutton; McGinn, Hourihane; Elmohammady, Grealish, Kodjia; Abraham.
Kick Off: 19.45
TV: Sky Sports Football (Red button)
Tickets: Est. 32,500
Odds: Villa 19/20 Nottingham Forest 7/2 Draw 5/2 (Bet365)