Villa Sweep Forest Aside & Return To Winning Ways At Home

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Villa were simply too much for Forest on a crisp but bright afternoon in B6. The visitors were utterly overwhelmed by three quickfire first-half goals, which were enough to encourage a large contingent of the away support to make an early return to the East Midlands. For Villa, it’s another big push in the right direction and our ambitions of a top-four finish.

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Yes, yes, there were a few minutes either side of half-time that were typically nervy and so Aston Villa. Lessor Villa sides have crumbled and would have surrendered the three-goal cushion, but this side is built of strong stuff and secured the points on the hour mark.

It was a confident, dominant and encouraging display after a decidedly sticky patch of form. Indeed, after such a sustained period without a defeat at Villa Park, it seemed unthinkable that we suddenly risked a third consecutive loss on home soil.

The reality as it turned out, was that Villa were relentless, especially in the early phase of the game. Forest by contrast were chasing shadows, particularly on their left and were unable to contain the outstanding Leon Bailey.

Bailey was instrumental throughout, and the opener for Watkins was a perfect fine blend of skill and ingenuity in its creation. The lead was extended soon after, with Douglas Luiz firing into the net after good work from Ramsey. The Brazilian was on the scoresheet again ten minutes later, powering home a header to put Villa out of sight.

Or so we thought. There was a brief similarity to the Manchester United game, as Villa took their foot off the gas and allowed the opposition back in. It wasn’t costly today, but it’s something that against better opposition has and will be punished.

Deep into first-half injury time, Forest grabbed a goal back from a poorly defended corner to make it 3-1. On the other side of the break and with the defence one again reshuffled with Torres withdrawn, Gibbs-White took full advantage when put through to dink a finish over Martinez. Villa did wobble for a few minutes and the visitors were emboldened.

It was to be Villa’s day though, and it was fitting that Bailey made the points sure, slotting home the winner to make it 4-2.

There were a number of impressive displays today and it’s a result that with Spurs losing last week and Man United falling to Fulham this weekend, gives us great cause for optimism. To give ourselves the best shot at Champions League football, these are ultimately the fixtures that do the heavy lifting for a top four points tally across a long season.

Watkins was excellent, Tielemans a joy and McGinn a relentless battler. Bailey was a clear man of the match.

The only real worry continues to be Pau Torres’ fitness. The Spaniard didn’t re-appear for the second half after sustaining a “pain” in the back of his leg. We shall watch and wait for further details about that, especially given the defender has been subject to a recent lengthy layoff and was badly missed throughout.

Up next, a trip to Luton Town.