Nottingham Forest vs Aston Villa Betting Tips, Preview & Predictions
In a sentence: After an historic win in the FA Cup against Arsenal at the weekend, Nottingham Forest host Aston Villa in a Midlands derby with Aitor Karanka installed as their new manager.
Last time: An injury time goal from Ben Brereton handed Forest the win, after Britt Assombalonga cancelled out a strike from Jonathan Kodja. Villa’s cause wasn’t helped by Jack Greaslish being sent off for two yellow cards.
This time: Nottingham forest are 2/1 to win, with Villa at 7/5 and the draw 9/4.
You might remember: A teenage Gareth Barry scoring his first professional goal against Forest in 1999, having come onto the pitch at half-time to replace an injured Dion Dublin.
Nottingham Forest’s Last Six: Won: 1 Drawn: 2 Lost: 3
Forest have no injury concerns at the moment, although face losing Liam Bridcutt to suspension if he picks up another yellow card.
Aston Villa’s Last Six: Won: 2 Drawn: 2 Lost: 2
Jack Grealish remains Villa’s only absentee, with the English midfielder likely to be out until the end of the month due to kidney problems.
Captain John Terry and winger Andre Green both made their returns from long-term injuries in last weekend’s FA Cup fixture, and are firmly in contention to start on Saturday.
Betting Tips & Predictions
With a 10-point gulf, and very different priorities this season, this match appears a foregone conclusion on paper, but could not be further from it. With new manager Karanka incoming, and a 4-2 win over Arsenal, Nottingham Forest are flying high on confidence. Villa meanwhile won just once in December, and took a heavy loss at home to Peterborough last weekend.
Forest are the underdogs at 2/1 to win. Given the teams’ respective form, they may well feel hard done by these odds, and without a doubt will be playing to win on Saturday. With the players already looking more comfortable in the new system, and playing at home, they might well do so.
Villa are 7/5 to take three points back to Birmingham, which is perhaps justified more by their league standing than their recent results. The recent return from injury of a number of key players will be a major boost to Steve Bruce, who joined Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola this week in criticising the number of fixtures played over the Christmas period.
A draw is 9/4 and may well be a safe bet, with the discrepancy on paper evened out by recent results. Statistically, Forest have been the better team this season, averaging more possession, shots, tackles and dribbles as well as greater passing accuracy. However, Villa come out on top in one of the most important stats, games won.
Ben Brereton is 5/2 to score anytime on Saturday and has become a cult hero overnight after scoring two goals against Arsenal. The forward, who was played on the wing by former manager Mark Warburton, is enjoying operating in his favoured possession, and will put his pace to good use against Villa defenders.
Albert Adomah is 7/4 to score against Forest, with the wide-man having already notched 11 goals for Villa this season. The Ghanaian has dropped off slightly in recent weeks, and is due a goal soon.
Predicted Score: Nottingham Forest 1 - 1 Aston Villa
Look out for:
John Terry. The former Chelsea man will be desperate to prove that he is not finished yet, after over a months on the sidelines following a broken metatarsal. Conceding three at the weekend will only have stoked the defender’s fire, and it may well be worth keeping an eye on the Premier League’s highest scoring defender to get a goal at 16/1.
A draw, with both teams to score at 3/1. Villa are much better off in the league but Forest have their tails up and won’t want this to be a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show. The passionate home crowd and the desire to impress Karanka should help.
It’s a long shot, but:
Eric Lichaj to score a hat-trick at 400/1. The right-back was promised a puppy by his wife if he scored a hat-trick against Arsenal, with the American falling just one short. After his wonder-strike on Sunday, Lichaj certainly won’t be shy about taking shots against Villa.
Written by Greg Murray
Greg Murray focused on watching football rather than playing it after realising he wasn’t going to be the next Gianfranco Zola. Writing prolifically on Italian football while keeping an eye on the game around the world, Greg has also turned his pen to the aviation industry and the betting market.