Villa Analysis – Forest’s Plan Comes up Short Against In-Form Villa
In a new weekly column, Alex Martinez serves up some post-match practical analysis from Aston Villa’s games to see what trends and insights can be found.
By Alex Martinez
Aston Villa’s brilliant run of form continues, as they extended their unbeaten streak to seven games. A second goals from Bertrand Traore in a matter of days, and that man again Ollie Watkins, who has nine goals in his last 11 games, a truly amazing run of form.
However, this wasn’t exactly a comfortable game for Villa, largely due to the fact that Forest did a reasonably good job of shackling Villa’s passing options from the back, especially in the first half.
Let’s start with the most basic stats. Villa had more possession (Villa 64.8%, Forest 35.2%), shots on target (Villa 3, Forest 2), and passes (Villa 442, Forest 228). Yet, Forest weren’t particularly under the cosh from Villa. In fact, they actually had eight corners to Villa’s one. Villa will though be pleased with how they defended the set pieces, as with the recent trip to West Ham, when they saw off 13 corners during that game. Austin MacPhee has certainly had a decent few weeks from a defensive point of view.
The key to Forest staying in the game was they did a good job of frustrating the progress of Villa, when the home side played it out the back. The passing lanes were closed down and space was limited, meaning the ball invariably came back to Trone Mings. It’s the reason, the Villa centre-back had 96 touches, the most of any player on the pitch, with many of them traded with Ezri Konsa alongside him.
In terms of xG (expected goals), both teams didn’t have too many legitimate chances. Villa’s xG was 1.26, while Forest had just 0.26.
As you can see from the below graph, Villa had more xG in every single minute than Forest, and it showed on the pitch, with Villa actually exceeding their expected goals.
In terms of a partnership that could thrive for Villa, the combination of Emi Buendia and Alex Moreno working the left-hand side of the opponent’s penalty box, has huge upside. In terms of the Forest game, this is more an observation of eyeballs than stats, which are limited in terms of expressing its potential at the moment.
Although the Argentine’s final ball to Moreno frustratingly didn’t come off at times, the intent and imagination was there. Buendia was consistently looking to find Moreno up and down the line, and it will be good to see this dynamic develop in future matches. As in the West Ham game, Moreno was a constant threat going forward against Forest and had one of his best games for Villa.
Once they get on the same frequency you’d expect Villa to profit big time from this left-hand side attacking combo.
Follow Alex on Twitter here – AVFCThreads
Additional reporting by MOMS