Home Match Day Dougie at the double as Villa put four past Forest

Dougie at the double as Villa put four past Forest

Douglas Luiz of Aston Villa celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest at Villa Park on February 24, 2024 in Birmingham, England.

Aston Villa returned to winning ways at Villa Park yesterday when they beat Nottingham Forest 4-2. Forest were the only side from the bottom half of the table to have beaten Unai Emery’s side this season in the reverse fixture.

It is now two wins on the bounce in the Premier League for Villa as they look to build momentum for the season run-in. Villa are now five points clear of Tottenham who have played a game less and eight ahead of Manchester United.

Report: Aston Villa 4-2 Nottingham Forest

Emery named the same side that beat Fulham last weekend and the players repaid the faith their manager had put in them as they destroyed the visitors in the opening stages of the game.

It took just four minutes for the home side to take advantage when Leon Bailey turned Murillo inside out before laying the ball across goal for Ollie Watkins who tapped home to make it 1-0.

The striker could have had his second of the afternoon moments later when Jacob Ramsey found the striker but he was denoyed by Moussa Niakhaté who cleared his effort off the line.

Villa did double their lead just before the half-hour mark when Matty Cash picked out Ramsey who was able to cut the ball back to Douglas Luiz who slotted in the corner of the goal.

Ten minutes later, Forest was in danger of letting Villa run riot when the home side scored their third goal as John McGinn sent over a delightful cross and picked out the head of Luiz who placed the ball past Matz Sels.

Against the run of play the visitors pulled one back just before the half-time break when Niakhaté was able to chest the ball over the line.

Nuno Espírito Santo made three changes at the break and one of them had an immediate impact. Divock Origi was able to split the Villa defence who lost Pau Torres at half-time and Morgan Gibbs-White was on hand to make it 3-2.

Villa looked shell-shocked. They had gone from complete control of the game to losing a three-goal lead and moments later the visitors probably should have had it level when Anthony Elanga broke free but his effort went just wide of the post.

Villa tried to build on their narrow advantage and very nearly found their fourth when Àlex Moreno picked out Youri Tielemans but the Belgian was left frustrated when his effort rebounded back off the post.

The home side did score their fourth just after the hour mark when Tielemans slipped Watkins through but his effort deflected off Sels and into the feet of Bailey who scored with an easy tap-in.

What the managers said

Emery: “I’m very happy. A fantastic first half – we conceded one corner, one goal, but we dominated the match.

“The second half, we were nervous after the goal, but again we reacted very well. Douglas Luiz was very important, he controlled the ball and we controlled the game.

“More than character I think, it is about being focused in our game plan and trying to keep calm, keep controlling the game like we were doing. Today was a very good experience, adding more positive things for the team.”

Espirito Santo: “We started really, really bad, the beginning of the game was bad, it was too easy for the opponent to score.

“We didn’t play well. A very bad first half, even though the goal gave us some hope, we started the second half really well at 3-2, we had a good chance for 3-3, the game was there for us.

“Then again a bad situation that put Villa 4-2 and it was game over. To sum up, a bad performance.

Up Next

Aston Villa will take on Luton at Kenilworth Road in the Premier League next Saturday evening.

Nottingham Forest will welcome Liverpool to the City Ground next weekend.

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