February 28, 2024

On Sunday, Aston Villa travels to Nottingham Forest in the Premier League with the goal of extending their unbeaten streak to seven games.

On Sunday afternoon, Nottingham Forest will host Unai Emery’s Aston Villa at the City Ground in an attempt to snap their Premier League losing streak.

They have now lost their last six games without earning a maximum number of points, losing 3-0 to Liverpool. After ten games, Nottingham Forest is currently in 16th place with ten points.

Nottingham Forest fans may be beginning to worry that their team may have succumbed to second-season syndrome after avoiding relegation in their first season back in the top division in 23 years, given that the team is completely in free fall following a strong start to the season.

After a terrible run of results, the hosts are in dire need of a boost. Aston Villa, on the other hand, have not looked back after losing badly to Newcastle United 5-1 on the first weekend of the Premier League season. They have triumphed over Chelsea and Burnley and earned a valuable point against Wolves.

With a 3-1 victory against Luton Town last time out, Unai Emery’s team achieved their twelfth straight home top-flight victory and moved up to fifth place with 22 points. Thanks to the Villans’ finest start to a season in twenty-five years, supporters are starting to dare to hope that they will be playing in the Champions League the following year.

Villa will aim to add to the positive vibe that is beginning to circulate around the team this weekend by defeating Forest and securing three more points.

Before Aston Villa arrives, Steve Cooper, the manager of Nottingham Forest, is concerned about several injuries. One of them is winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, who is expected to miss a significant amount of time due to a hamstring strain he sustained during the preparations for the match against Luton Town a few weekends ago.

The former Chelsea player had Divock Origi (hip), Danilo (thigh), Felipe (knee), and Gonzalo Montiel (calf) joining him in the treatment room. However, Taiwo Awoniyi might make a prompt return to the Forest starting lineup after coming off the bench in last weekend’s 3-0 loss to Liverpool due to a groin ailment, just as Chris Wood, another striker, started to experience a hamstring issue of his own.

Swedish winger Anthony, age 21 Elanga will back Awoniyi up front. He has five assists in his previous eight home Premier League starts, including two against Luton at City Ground last time out. The primary attacking player for the hosts, Morgan Gibbs-White, will try to use his exceptional playmaking skills to set up numerous opportunities for the attacker during transitional periods.

Cooper is likely to revert to a back four comprising Serge Aurier, Murillo, Moussa Niakhate, and Ola Aina, with Ibrahim Sangare, Orel Mangala, and Nicolas Dominguez forming the midfield trio in the engine room.

Given his costly blunders in recent weeks, questions could soon be asked of Matt Turner’s position as number one in between the sticks, with backup Odysseas Vlachodimos waiting in the wings for his first Premier League start since arriving from Benfica over the summer.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Turner; Aurier, Murillo, Niakhate, Aina; Sangare, Mangala, Dominguez; Gibbs-White; Awoniyi, Elanga

Aston Villa

Although Aston Villa have no fresh injury concerns following their 3-1 win against Luton Town last weekend, manager Unai Emery still has a lengthy injury absentee list.

Jacob Ramsey is still out, with no return date yet set after he was injured during the 6-1 win over Brighton back in September. Emiliano Buendía and Tyrone Mings are the other long-term absentees and won’t be expected back in action until the new year.

The good news is that left-back Alex Moreno is finally back in full training after recovering from a serious hamstring injury. But Sunday’s game will surely be too soon for a start. The same goes for young midfielder Tim Iroegbunam and Jhon Duran, both of whom will take their place on the bench.

Head coach Unai Emery will again look to stick with the starting XI that has been such a success so far this season. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez will play his first match since landing the Yashin Trophy following his FIFA World Cup final heroics for Argentina in Qatar.

Ezri Konsa will continue to play alongside Pau Torres at the centre of the Aston Villa backline, flanked by Lucas Digne and Matty Cash. Douglas Luiz and Boubacar Kamara will once again hold the fort in the middle of the park, with John McGinn and Leon Bailey serving as wide midfielders.

In the attack, there is no taking out Ollie Watkins in the form that he is in currently. Moussa Diaby, who joined Aston Villa from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer, has been involved in six goals across ten Premier League appearances so far and will be looking to continue his electric form.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Torres, Digne; McGinn, Kamara, Luiz, Bailey; Diaby, Watkins

Ollie Watkins is doing everything in his power to impress England boss Gareth Southgate ahead of next summer’s European Championships, and an in-form Villa strike can make a telling impact at Forest.

The 27-year-old is a huge threat to any side that comes up against him this season due to his prolific goalscoring form, having already bagged nine goals in 16 appearances in all competitions this season, including five Premier League strikes.

Prediction

Nottingham Forest 1-2 Aston Villa

It is likely that a confident Aston Villa are going to dictate the tempo of this game. Unai Emery’s men are netting freely. But they have managed only two clean sheets in the league this season, suggesting the goalscoring chances could come for Forest on the counter-attack.

While City Ground has been a fortress since Nottingham Forest’s promotion to the Premier League last season, they have failed to overcome Burnley, Brentford, and Luton in their previous three league games at home. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle backs Aston Villa to pocket another three points on Sunday.

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