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Premier League: Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa preview

Original article published 9 October 2022

Nottingham Forest will be aiming to snap a five-match losing streak in the Premier League when they host Midlands rivals Aston Villa on Monday evening.

Forest, last season's Championship play-off winners, are bottom of the top-flight table after a 4-0 defeat at Leicester City last time out and Steven Gerrard's Villa are 6/5 for victory at the City Ground.

What

Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa, Premier League

Where

City Ground, Nottingham

When

20:00, Monday 10th October 2022

How to watch

Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event

Odds

Nottm Forest 12/5, Draw 12/5, Aston Villa 23/20 

Few home comforts for Forest on top-flight return

Nottingham Forest's excellent home form last season was a big factor in their promotion to the Premier League and they are 12/5 to give their supporters something to cheer about with a win over Aston Villa.

Forest lost their first four Championship matches at the City Ground last term, but Steve Cooper's arrival in September 2021 sparked a spectacular upturn in their fortunes.

They won 13 of their 19 regular-season home games under the Welshman and their only defeats came against champions Fulham and third-placed Huddersfield Town, who went on to lose to Forest in the play-off final.

A goal from new striker Taiwo Awoniyi gave Cooper's men a 1-0 victory over West Ham in their first home fixture of the top-flight season, but since then they have lost 2-0 to Tottenham and, more worryingly, suffered 3-2 defeats to fellow promoted clubs Bournemouth and Fulham.

Forest led at half-time in both of those losses, but the Cherries came back from 2-0 down, sealing victory with an 87th-minute goal, while the Cottagers scored three times in a dramatic six-minute spell after the break.

Punters anticipating another second-half collapse from the hosts can back the Nottingham Forest-Aston Villa Half Time/Full Time selection at 28/1, while a third straight 3-2 home loss for Forest is priced up at 33/1.

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Visitors bid for another successful City Ground raid

These Midlands rivals have not played each other in the top-flight of English football since April 1999, when goals from Mark Draper and Gareth Barry gave Villa a 2-0 home win over Forest.

The clubs, both European Cup winners in the late 1970s and early 1980s, have met six times in the Championship since their last Premier League clash and Villa have won on their last two visits to the City Ground.

Midfielder John McGinn notched twice in the first 15 minutes of their most recent meeting, a 3-1 win for Villa in March 2019 and the Scot is 6/1 to score at any time on Monday.

Earlier in the 2018/19 season Villa and Forest shared an extraordinary 5-5 draw at Villa Park. Lewis Grabban scored an 82nd-minute equaliser for the visitors, who had Tobias Figueiredo sent off with 20 minutes remaining - it is 7/2 that a red card is shown in Monday's clash.

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Goals at a premium in Villa's recent matches

Nottingham Forest brought in no fewer than 22 new players during a frenetic summer transfer window, so four points from their first eight games is a disappointing return on that investment.

Monday's visitors have also failed to kick on after splashing the cash in the summer, but the trip to the City Ground looks a good chance for the 23/20 shots to claim their third league win of 2022/23.

Villa lost four of their first five matches before a creditable 1-1 draw at home to champions Manchester City, a 1-0 win over struggling Southampton at Villa Park and a 0-0 draw at Leeds United last time out.

Villans boss Gerrard may regard the stalemate at Elland Road as a missed opportunity given that Leeds had Luis Sinisterra sent off early in the second half.

His side had seven shots on target to their hosts' one and Philippe Coutinho hit the post, but they were unable to find a breakthrough and a lack of cutting edge up front has hampered their progress this season.

Four of their last five league matches have finished with under 2.5 goals - that can be backed at 4/5 on Monday - and in four away fixtures Gerrard's men have scored only two goals, one of which was Douglas Luiz's effort direct from a corner at Arsenal.

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Gerrard needs his strikers to start firing

There are valid excuses for both clubs' slow starts, as Forest boss Cooper has had to deal with an unprecedented influx of players and Villa have been hit by some significant injuries.

Centre-back Diego Carlos, an eye-catching summer signing from Sevilla, suffered a serious injury in the second game of the season and France internationals Boubacar Kamara and Lucas Digne are also sidelined.

However, Gerrard still has plenty of attacking options at his disposal and he needs his forwards to start producing the goods if Villa are to rise up the table.

Ollie Watkins, Villa's leading scorer in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 campaigns, has contributed just one goal in 654 minutes of Premier League action this term and Danny Ings has also notched only once from his three starts and four substitute appearances.

Neither of Villa's senior strikers has found the net since 20th August and Watkins mustered only eight shots in his first six starts this season.

The England international had six attempts at goal against 10-man Leeds last time out and he is 6/1 to be the first goalscorer against Forest and 12/5 to find the net at any time.

One player to consider at bigger prices in the goalscorer markets is Forest right-back Neco Williams, who has licence to get forward whether Cooper opts for a back three or a back four.

The former Liverpool man is 12/1 to notch at any time and he has racked up 11 shots in Forest's first four home games against West Ham, Tottenham, Bournemouth and Fulham.

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