Villa secured a professional 1-0 win away at Nottingham Forest, in a largely untroubled encounter, in which Bruce’s side seized a valuable 3 points.
The key moment came in the first half, with Robert Snodgrass delivering a deadly ball into the box. Scott Hogan, whose movement was excellent all evening, nipped between the keeper and centre half to nod home.
The hosts, who rarely threatened, came closest in the second half, calling Sam Johnstone into action to bat away a fierce, moving drive.
Check out the individual Villa Player Ratings below:
Professional performance from #avfc – a deserved victory – with a number of excellent individual performances.
✅ 3 straight league wins
✅ Another clean sheet
✅ Another away win
✅ Terry back commanding
✅ Snodgrass delivering
🔥 Hogan firing
👌🏻 Villa now 4th pic.twitter.com/JsuoKPq5Yz
— Villa Underground (@avfc_vilr) January 13, 2018
The United loanee had little to do for long stretches but earned his fee when called upon. A horrid, moving drive in the second half was expertly batted away.
Another quietly diligent performance from Elmo, whose composure on the ball is a real asset. Always eager to receive play, Elmohamady’s instinct is to carry the ball into more advanced positions. Bizarrely booked for time-wasting a throw in the second half. Impressive otherwise.
The Welsh international had his blushes saved on more than one occasion over the 90 minutes, with a wayward pass inviting Forest a rare attack, whilst a slip and (missed) handball could’ve proven more costly. Still, Chester remains a natural talent, complimented by the experience of John Terry alongside him.
The former England captain slotted back in despite recent good form from Tommy Elphick. The call proved the right one with Terry an impasse all evening for Forest. Vocal, determined and a master of the dark arts as well, Terry showed all his qualities. Stand out moments included a smart interception, showing all his experience and a header unluckily striking the bar.
Another stoic performance from Hutton, who delivered a performance of constant physicality as is his norm. Largely untroubled in defensive duties, Hutton was often free to move the ball forward and carried it on occasion. A solid showing.
Whelan (Sub off 45 mins)
Unfairly subject to some outrageous and offensive pre-match criticism on social media, the Irish international silenced the trolls with a solid 45 minutes. Forced off with a twisted knee at the break, but having hopefully reminded some that he has a part to play, a fact that should be encouraged so long as he pulls on a Villa shirt.
Bjarnason (Sub on 45 mins)
The Icelandic international put in a much improved half, replacing the injured Whelan, deployed in a defensive midfield role. Often called upon as the utility man, Bjarnason impressed with both workrate and output. A number of duels were won, significant grass covered and much protection afforded to the defence. As with Whelan, Bjarnason has a group of fans seemingly intent only upon him failing. Whilst some showings have been dreadful, there was much cause for optimism on this display.
After indifferent early form following his loan from West Ham, few anticipated the crucial role the Scottish international might play as Villa look towards securing promotion. This display underlined the devastating impact of Snodgrass’ ability to deliver a ball, with a perfect delivery enabling Hogan’s opener. His overall performance mirrored this quality, with a tenacity and doggedness much lacking in Villa’s midfielders for many years. A deserved, hard earned Man of the Match display.
JG has really started to find some form following return from injury and was a tricky customer for Forest. Grealish’s obvious technical ability on the ball caused Forest no end of problems all evening. Pleasingly there were bursts of pace and attempts to carry the ball, adding much needed tempo to both Grealish’s game and Villa’s options. A good all round performance.
Hourihane was perhaps the unsung performer of the game, quietly ticking the midfield over. Cool and calm on the ball, the Irishman is always looking to move the ball forward and connect to players more advanced. On occasion looks to be too restrained, but given the result few will have many complaints.
Another hard working showing from the winger who was unlucky to not get a goal, with an effort correctly ruled offside. Adomah finds himself closely marked by the opposition, but he works tirelessly down the line to make space for himself.
The Villa striker is perhaps evidence of what a goal and confidence can do for a footballer. Hogan’s movement was noteworthy and it was pleasing to see him moving, ghosting amongst the defence and he reaped his reward. He took his goal expertly, reading Snodgrass’ intentions, before making a perfectly timed run between the keeper and defender to head home. Persistent too, Hogan embarked on runs when the chance presented but to lessor avail. Another promising moment came in the 2nd half after good play and a run from deep saw a long range effort curled at the keeper. Much better.
Not joined The Villa Underground weekly email?
You’re missing out on 100% independent Aston Villa updates to your inbox.
Still free and easy; sign up now by entering your email address below: