Aston Villa 2 – 0 Nottingham Forest
Aston Villa 2 – 0 Nottingham Forest. In-form Aston Villa maintained their charge towards securing European football next season with victory over relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest at Villa Park.
They have now won 11 of their 17 games since boss Unai Emery took charge, tasting success in their last four matches.
It had been a testing first half as the hosts struggled to get a foothold, with Forest managing to equal their efforts.
Villa came close as Ollie Watkins forced Keylor Navas into a well-timed stop from close range but chances were otherwise limited.
The game’s opening goal could not have come easier for the hosts, though, as Bertrand Traore curled past Navas after Jonjo Shelvey cleared the ball into the path of the Villa man shortly after the restart.
And Watkins sealed the result as he doubled their lead in the final minute of added time, chipping into the back of the net after playing a one-two with Jacob Ramsey.
Forest’s poor run of form leaves them sitting in 18th, inside the relegation zone on goal difference. Villa are six points off fifth-placed Tottenham with eight games remaining.
Emery has masterminded a complete turnaround of Villa’s fortunes since taking the reins in October.
They had won just two of their opening 11 matches before the Spaniard’s arrival but are now firmly in the mix at the top end of the table.
They struggled to cause any real issues in the scrappy first half, Alex Moreno’s frequent forays down the wing one of their few bright attacking sparks.
Their confidence was much-improved after Traore’s goal, though, and their game finally sprung into life.
Emi Buendia came inches away from extending the hosts’ advantage after Moreno charged past the defence but the Argentine sliced just wide of the near post.
Watkins’ goal added to his own fine run of form, netting his ninth goal in 11 games.
Villa have already surpassed last season’s points tally and Emery will be hoping his side can maintain the pressure on the league’s top sides throughout the run-in.
source – BBC