Two sides that will come into the weekend with a lot of momentum meet in the English Championship on Saturday as Nottingham Forest welcomes Aston Villa to town.
The City Ground, Nottingham, England
Key Stat: Both teams have scored in six of the last seven encounters.
Expert Verdict: Nottingham Forest have had their share of ups and downs over the past year or so, but they truly haven't been up nearly as high as they are right now. After a win over Arsenal in the FA Cup, the Tricky Trees will bring a ton of confidence into this match with Aston Villa. That should see them have enough to win it in the end.
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Aitor Karanka will be missing center back Joe Worrall after he was red carded in their win over Arsenal.
Caretaker manager Gary Brazil, who was in charge of their impressive victory at the weekend over Arsenal, lauded the play of striker Ben Brereton. The youngster has a ton of talent for an 18 year old and could put any team under pressure, as he showed on Sunday. He was even rewarded with a goal, the one that proved to be the winner in fact, and he will look to add to that here.
Forest have a win, two draws, and two losses in their last five matches:
4-2 home win vs Arsenal (FA Cup)
0-0 draw at Leeds
0-1 home loss vs Sunderland
0-3 home loss vs Sheffield Wednesday
1-1 draw at Preston North End
Defenders:Lichaj, Mills, Mancienne, Traore
Defensive Midfielders:Vaughan, Osborn
Attacking Midfielders:McKay, Dowell, Clough
Steve Bruce looks set to be able to call upon a full squad after winger Andre Green has recovered from injury.
It was not a pretty result for Villa in losing at home to lower division opposition in the cup, but they won't care too much as long as they are promoted at season's end. Last time out, they got their first goal from striker Scott Hogan, and that will have been a relief. The striker was bought for big money from Brentford, and he has failed to live up to expectations largely. But that goal could just set him off now.
Villa have two losses, two wins, and a draw in their last five matches:
1-3 home loss vs Peterborough (FA Cup)
5-0 home win vs Bristol City
0-1 win at Middlesbrough
2-1 loss at Brentford
2-2 home draw vs Sheffield United
Defenders:El Mohamady, Elphich, Chester, Hutton
Midfielders:Snodgrass, Hourihane, Jedinak, Grealish, Adomah
Nottingham Forest have faced Aston Villa 85 times ahead of this meeting. So far, Forest trail Villa. Villa have scored 34 wins, 23 draws, and 28 losses so far. Here's a look at the last three results since Villa's return demotion to the Championship:
Sep 23, 2017: Villa 2-1 Forest
Feb 4, 2017: Forest 2-1 Villa
Sep 11, 2016: Villa 2-2 Forest
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Nottingham Forest are at 2/1 to win, a draw is at 9/4, and an Aston Villa win is at 11/8.
Nottingham Forest come into this match in 14th in the Championship at the moment. But they will do so on a real, real high after they were able to defeat Arsenal in the FA Cup in a downright dominant performance at times. They have 32 points so far, putting them eight above the dreaded drop zone, so in truth they should be safe at this point. They have no wins in their last five league matches, so their form needs some drastic improvement. As for Aston Villa, they are inside the playoff places in fifth at the moment. They have 44 points, putting them two ahead of free falling Sheffield United at the moment. They have won two in a row.
Forest's home record this term has seen them come up with seven wins and six losses so far through 13 matches. They have lost three of their last five there, and two in a row, so they are on a bit of a slide recently and that needs to be cut out. As for Villa, they are decent away from their home patch. They have earned 18 points so far through five wins and three draws in their 13 matches. They won their last match away from home, but they had just one point in the preceding three combined.
Both teams to score, at Ladbrokes, is at 10/11.
Forest are on the upward swing after that big win in the cup, and given the unpredictable nature of Villa, a win for Forest would not be a major shock. They have the home crowd behind them and will use it to full effect.