Forest at Villa Park today, Ajax in Amsterdam soon and flirting with optimism

I'll start the post with where I was going to get with the post and it's that I don't think Forest are going to be the walk in the park that many might think. Nuno is a decent manager and he'll keep Forest up and one day soon they're going to find their rhythm and then they're going to be difficult to beat. 

And maybe it's because things are so tight where we are and that every match is so important, I get a little nervous. I think it could be because our form has been a little off of late, not as bad as many would you have you believe, but a little inconsistent and in this League every match can be tough.

And when you have a manager that will get it right and when he does he's going to make his side difficult to beat, I get nervous when we're up next.

And it's not just because it's so tight where we are or that it will come good for Forest soon, it's that I'm not used to having it so good ourselves. We are 65% of the way through the season and we are in 4th place. I still can't get my head around it.

I'm convinced we are going to do better than we did last season now (maybe that is wrong of me), but I'm starting to think maybe, just maybe we can do quite a bit better. I don't think it's too early to be thinking about top four as realistic now.

And when you start to think like this, it's when you can get into trouble, so I'm going to stop. Or try to. But I suspect it might come up in the next section.


Because it's a trip to Amsterdam that could hinder our ability to stay in the race for top four, but would any of us swap it?

I don't think I would. I think football is about winning silverware and this is an opportunity for us. And even though it's not the biggest European tournament, it's still a European tournament and it really does feel like this is something we should be playing every season.

And I'm going to try to get there, but I expect it to be tough to get tickets. That said, you never know, I'll keep my fingers crossed. But in between the away and home leg, we have Spurs at Villa Park. I think it's fair to say we are in the business end of the season and getting our business done right now is usually the difference. 

And in Unai Emery, I think we have the right man. There, I've got all optimistic again. 

Match facts from the BBC


  • Nottingham Forest won the reverse fixture 2-0 in November and can beat Aston Villa home and away in the same season for the first time since 1984-85.
  • Villa are unbeaten in seven home league games against Forest, with their only defeat in the past 14 encounters at Villa Park coming in October 1994.

Aston Villa

  • Aston Villa's tally of 49 points is their second highest after 25 matches of a Premier League season; they had 51 at this stage in 2008-09 but won only two of their remaining 13 league fixtures.
  • They have amassed 30 wins, 98 points and 92 goals from their 50 league games under Unai Emery.
  • Villa have lost all three competitive home matches in 2024. They were only beaten four times in their 27 Villa Park outings in 2023.
  • The Villans can suffer three successive home league defeats for the first time since October to November 2020 under Dean Smith.
  • Their solitary defeat in 14 Premier League fixtures this season against teams currently in the bottom half of the table came away at Nottingham Forest in November (W9, D4).
  • Aston Villa's tally of 52 league goals this season is already one more than they managed in the entirety of 2022-23.
  • Ollie Watkins has scored 13 Premier League goals in 2023-24, the most by a Villa player after 25 games of a season.
  • Watkins has registered 23 goal involvements in the Premier League this season, including 10 assists, second only to Mo Salah's 24.

Nottingham Forest

  • Five of their six Premier League wins this season were against teams currently in the top half of the table. The only side with a better record is Aston Villa, with six victories.
  • Forest have won three of their eight league matches under Nuno Espirito Santo, as many as they managed in 17 attempts under Steve Cooper this season.
  • They have only registered three victories in 31 Premier League away fixtures since returning to the top flight in 2022 (D8, L20).
  • Callum Hudson-Odoi can become the third player to score in at least four consecutive Premier League games for Forest, emulating Taiwo Awoniyi and Stan Collymore.
  • Nuno has won three of his five Premier League matches as a manager versus Aston Villa, keeping a clean sheet in both visits to Villa Park with Wolves.