Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest – Analysis, Prediction, Team News

Saturday 8th April 2023
15:00 GMT
Villa Park

As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we examine Nottingham Forest’s visit to Villa Park. Villa are 4th in the table for the last 10 games, and Forest are woeful away from home. Home win? Read on with our Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest prediction.

Aston Villa


2-1 (A)


2-0 (A)


3-0 (H)

West Ham

1-1 (A)

Crystal Palace

1-0 (H)

Nottingham Forest


2-1 (A)


1-1 (H)


2-1 (H)


3-1 (A)


2-2 (H)

Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest Match Preview

Following midweek games for both sides, Midlands rivals Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest meet on Saturday afternoon at Villa Park. It’s all smiles currently if you support Aston Villa, as the club have been in terrific form. Unai Emery has turned the club around since taking over from Steven Gerrard. Indeed, they have won five and drawn one of their previous six games. Only Arsenal and Man City have accumulated more points than the Villains in 2023. Their most recent victory was a late 2-1 win away at struggling Leicester midweek (we predicted 3-1 Villa).

At home, Villa are decent, having picked up wins in half of their 14 games at Villa Park this season. They have lost five there and have 23 points at home this season compared to 21 away. These stats are pretty even and highlight that Villa are comfortable when they go away, as they can play more of their direct counter-attacking game. However, they are still a test for most teams on their own patch. In 7th place with 44 points from 29 games, they still have a slim chance of qualifying for Europe.

Nottingham Forest come into the game poorly and are still at significant risk of relegation. Indeed, the East Midlands club are on the longest active winless streak in the division, having not won a match in their last eight. This run has included defeats to Fulham, West Ham, Spurs, Newcastle and – crucially – Leeds in midweek. Indeed, Forest took the lead early through Mangala at Elland Road. Still, first-half goals by Harrison and Sinsiterra saw Leeds claim the points. Forst can’t really complain, as they only had 37 per cent possession and an xG of 0.85 to 2.09.

Everyone is acutely aware of Forest’s struggles away – they are joint-bottom of the ‘travel table’ with 6 points, level with West Ham. Forest have only won once in 14 games on the road this season, which is a terrible statistic for them. Their 21 home points are what give them any chance of survival this season. However, when a team loses away so often, the pressure on them to win their home games becomes relentless. Hence, with 27 points and likely needing about nine more points to ensure safety, Forest must try to get some wins away, or they’ll be dragged back into the relegation zone (which they sit precariously above in 17th).

Team News

Injuries and Suspensions

Aston Villa:

Might Not Play:

Will Not Play: Steer, Cash, Coutinho, Kamara

Nottingham Forest:

Might Not Play: Aurier, Yates, Dennis

Will Not Play: Henderson, Biancone, Boly, McKenna, Lingard, Richards, Wood

Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest Lineups (Predicted)

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Martinez; Moreno, Mings, Konsa, Young; Buendia, Luiz, McGinn, Ramsey; Watkins, Bailey

Nottingham Forest (4-3-2-1 / 4-3-3): Navas; Lodi, Felipe, Niakhate, Williams; Danilo, Mangala, Freuler; Johnson, Gibbs-White; Dennis

Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest Lineup
Nottingham Forest vs Aston Villa Lineup

Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest Analysis

Midfield Contest

As stated, with 16 points from their last six games, Villa are in excellent form. Unai Emery has really worked wonders with them. Therefore, they must continue to turn the screw to maintain standards and not let things slip for a moment. In this game, they will be confident going up against a Forest side that are poor away from home.

Neither team is a possession side – Villa have averaged 49 per cent of the ball this season, and Forest 40 per cent. Forest have also completed the lowest number of passes in the league. In Villa’s case, this stat has more to do with how they enjoy playing – they are a really direct team who like to get the ball quickly into their forwards. Forest play the way they do because they have no choice – most sides in the division have more talent than them, so they are forced into playing in this manner.

Hence, the game’s flow will likely be Villa attacking and trying to break down a low Forst block. Villa are not at their best in these situations – however, there will be moments when Forest are more adventurous, which could lead to Villa ‘countering the counter’. There is likely to be a lot of end-to-end action in this game simply because Villa don’t want to play the entire game with the ball.

Thus, Villa will likely allow Forest to have some possession on occasion and lure them into the trap where Villa can break at pace. Nevertheless, the midfield battle should be interesting because the players on both sides are adept at working hard and winning the ball to launch these transitions.

Attacking Areas

Forest are obviously awful away from home, which plays right into Villa’s hands. While the home side will want to relinquish possession on several occasions so they can implement their counter-attack, they will also, at other times, sustain the pressure on Forest and try to find gaps in their unit in this Midlands derby. Villa will likely play with a 4–4-2, whereby Buendia and Ramsey come inside to overload the midfield areas. Still, they will break when Villa win the ball to support Bailey and Watkins. Bailey is a fast and tricky flyer of a player, and he has the ability out wide to come inside of Lodi and on to the Forest right-sided centre-back. In this position, he can score goals.

Buendia’s slick passing is also dangerous. He is an inventive player who can create something from nothing – ideal when a team defends deep like Forest should. However, the key man for Emery at the moment is clearly Watkins. With eight goals in ten games, Emery is bringing the best out of the pacey, tricky, direct striker. Villa will look to play balls in that left-hand channel for him to attack Williams and the Forest right-sided centre-back. If Watkins can get one-on-one, he can use his pace on the counter to get away and fire off shots against Navas – the Costa Rican goalkeeper will likely have to be in inspired form to keep Watkins out.

Forest have many injuries, but they do have a direct threat of their own. Lodi and Williams will support the attack similar to the Villa full-backs, and they must do all they can to overlap the likes of Johnson and Gibbs-White. The latter is a tricky, unpredictable player and could be an avenue Forest could exploit against Moreno – Buendia will have to offer cover. The same is valid on the left-hand side – Johnson is quite a similar player to Watkins; a slight, fast, and tricky player who can use his pace and dribbling to get shots away. He, Gibbs-White and Dennis (if he plays) must be alert and make runs that the Forest midfielders can pick out to set them off for chances on goal.

Martinez will be difficult to beat in the Villa goal, but Forest must try to do so if they are to improve their dismal away record. Defensively, they must be on song, and likely centre-back pairing Niakhate and Felipe must refrain from giving Watkins, Bailey, Buendia, Traore and Ramsey any encouragement whatsoever.

Our Prediction

If this game goes by form, it should be relatively easy to predict. Villa are playing brilliantly under Emery, and he is simply a much better manager than Forest coach Steve Cooper. We are confident that Villa can take this game away from Forest through various ways of playing – both by mounting pressure on the Nottingham side and by luring them into attacking and countering them. Therefore, Villa have numerous ways they can play this one. If they take the lead, they can sit back and comfortably hit Forest on the break as the away side grow desperate.

The first game finished 1-1, but Forest are a different side at the City Ground. They could use their prowess in aerial duels and physicality to try to upset Villa. However, the signs do not look good – Villa have much better players, a better manager, a home advantage, and superior form. There’s no such thing as a sure thing in football, as it is a high-variance sport. It would be a surprise if Villa didn’t win this relatively comfortably, though.

Aston Villa 2-0 Nottingham Forest

Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest Betting Tip – Aston Villa Odds:


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