The Villa Report: Villa Both Dazzle and Frustrate

The Villa Match Report – Aston Villa 4 Nottingham Forest 2

By Rob Carter

In a Word


‘Necessary for the success or continued existence of something.’

Cambridge Dictionary

The Carter Report

The sun poured from the skies of Aston B6 onto the upturned faces of the Holte End as the home side ran out to a rapturous reception, knowing that the afternoon’s events could prove pivotal in the race for the fabled top four.

Three successive home defeats had dented confidence, but a morale boosting win at Fulham last time out had raised hopes that Villa could get back to the scintillating home form shown over the last year.  What was needed was another ‘Alamo’ type first half, all guns blazing, and boy did we get it.

When opponents win the toss and force Villa to attack the Holte End in the first half, it doesn’t normally go well for them.

With the mesmeric Leon Bailey to the fore, a perfect start was garnered as the Jamaican Messi bamboozled Forest’s defence and teed up Ollie Watkins for a tap in.  Cue scenes of pandemonium on the Holte End.  

Within 39 minutes, the game looked done and dusted, with Villa roaring forward at every opportunity, cemented by two goals from Douglas Luiz. 3-0. Game Over?

Maybe not.  A soft goal, again conceded from a corner (Villa’s Achilles Heel) right before the break added a sense of nervousness to the concourses at half-time.  The squad have coped admirably with recent injuries to the likes of Boubacar Kamara, Ezri Konsa and Diego Carlos, but there appears to be a soft underbelly when defending set-pieces, something which needs to be resolved before the harder tests to come.

Seeing Pau Torres not returning to the field of play for the second half elicited audible groans from the home fanbase; the Spaniard is key to Villa’s build up play out of defence, but luckily it seems his withdrawal was precautionary.  Fingers, and indeed everything else, crossed.

As the second half commenced, the nervousness was amplified as Morgan Gibbs-White nipped in behind Villa’s leaky back line to dink a clever finish beyond Emi Martinez shortly after the break; surely Villa couldn’t throw this away?

Despite the wobble, calm was restored by Bailey, with Villa capitalising on a Forest error to restore the two goal lead just after the hour.

The rest of the game was seen out with relative ease, with John McGinn in particular running the midfield, and Watkins doing a great job leading the attack. The makeshift centre-back partnership of Clement Lenglet and Calum Chambers were reasonably comfortable for the remainder of the match

As the game wound its way to a conclusion, attention turned to events at Old Trafford, with news being shared amongst the home support that Manchester United were losing at home to Fulham.  Also, as usual, Blues were losing, which always makes the Holte End happy.

As the home section streamed out into the Aston sunshine, singing “Who the f**k are Man United”, it was a feeling of a job well done, at least in the attacking phase; it is hoped that defensive reinforcements will be back from the treatment table sooner rather than later.

The wider context of this win is crucially important; with United losing, and Tottenham not playing, Villa have stolen a march on their rivals for 4th place.  And with United going to Man City next week, and Tottenham’s game in hand being away at Chelsea (where they rarely win), this feels like the time where Unai Emery’s side need to put their foot to the floor.

As the cunning Spaniard might say – Vamos!


Value rating: £35 (out of £41) 

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