With the ink drying on his new contract, it’s time for Forest manager Steve Cooper to deliver following a dismal run of five straight defeats. Rooted to the foot of the table, Nottingham Forest need a result to breathe life into their campaign. Can the hosts topple Aston Villa at The City Ground this evening?
We’ve put together a stats pack for this evening’s clash which is full to the brim with key info shots, assists, corners, cards, xG, fouls and more from the teams’ Premier League seasons so far. Hopefully, you’ll find our stats of use when creating your bet builders for today’s fixture.
Moussa Niakhate and Omar Richards are both out injured for Nottingham Forest, though Steve Cooper has few personnel issues to trouble him elsewhere.
Forest were deployed in a 4-2-3-1 formation in last week’s 4-0 loss to Leicester and Cooper should set his team up in a similar shape this evening.
Boubacar Kamara, Lucas Digne, Ludwig Augustinsson and Diego Carlos are all sidelined for Aston Villa, though Matty Cash could return to the XI having trained recently.
Leon Bailey started in last weekend’s 0-0 draw at Leeds, though he was replaced after the hour mark by Emiliano Buendia, so it will be interesting to see who Steven Gerrard picks this evening.
Forest are rock bottom of the Premier League table after eight games and unsurprisingly, their stats for the season make for unpleasant reading.
Steve Cooper’s side have been shipping a huge 2.63 goals, 16.80 shots against and 6.13 shots against on target per 90 so far, while only two clubs have collected more cards so far (24).
Aston Villa have been conceding just 1.25 goals per 90 this term and that combined with their 1.47 xG against (p/90) figure suggests that their defending has been half decent, however, once we move up the pitch, their issues become apparent.
The Villains have been notching less than a goal (0.75 p/90) per game and only Wolves have rattled the net less often overall so far. Only four clubs have mustered fewer shots on target p/90 than Villa – one of which is Nottingham Forest.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Nottingham Forest have been toothless in the final third this season and few of their players have been turning heads from an individual perspective in attack.
Taiwo Awoniyi has been hitting 2.73 shots per 90, though less than one of those efforts has been hitting the target on average. Neco Williams (2.01 shots per 90) has been doing his best to make an impact from the flank, while Brennan Johnson (1.32) has only briefly joined in at times from the periphery of the action.
Danny Ings (3.02), Philippe Coutinho (2.46) and Ollie Watkins (1.92) have all made some noise in the shots per 90 department, though their accuracy has been less than impressive so far, to say the least.
Jacob Ramsey (1.09 shots per 90) is an interesting option from midfield for a better price. The 21-year-old managed to rack up two attempts in each of his last two Premier League appearances against Southampton and Leeds.
Player Goals and Assists
Taiwo Awoniyi and Brennan Johnson are tied as Forest’s joint-top scorers this season with two goals each and both players have hit recent consolation goals against Fulham and Bournemouth respectively.
Jesse Lingard has been this season’s biggest disappointment so far. The ex-England international arrived with much fanfare, though he has yet to register a single goal or assist.
Ollie Watkins has been Villa’s most threatening player in attack this season, however, three goal contributions (1G, 2A) is still a modest return from eight appearances.
Steven Gerrard has been rotating his forwards constantly, which seems to be impacting performances. Danny Ings, Emiliano Buendia and Leon Bailly have just one goal each, though they have started just three, two and six games respectively.
Nottingham Forest Cards
Forest have been picking up plenty of cards this season and Neco Williams, Steve Cook and Scott McKenna have already collected three bookings each since the start of the season.
In midfield, the combative Cheickhou Koyate is also worth watching out for this evening. The former Palace anchorman has been committing 2.80 fouls per 90 minutes this term.
John McGinn thrives in the physicality of the Premier League and though the Scottish international has been dishing out plenty of punishment, he’s been fouled 2.19 times per 90 himself. His duels with Cheickhou Koyate have potential this evening.
One of his partners in midfield, Jacob Ramsey (fouled 2.03 times p/90) has also been drawing plenty of attention and the youngster could run into Steve Cook when he breaks forward.
Ollie Watkins (fouled 1.64 times p/90) never stops running up front and his movement could draw Scott McKenna into some interesting challenges later today.
Match-Ups to watch
Cheick Kouyate vs John McGinn
Steve Cook vs Jacob Ramsey
Scott McKenna vs Ollie Watkins
Aston Villa Cards
John McGinn and Jacob Ramsey both feature heavily again in Aston Villa’s list of most ill-disciplined players this term. Ramsey tops the pile for bookings (3) while McGinn is the leader for fouls committed per 90 (2.05).
Ashley Young could be worth tracking this evening if he starts. The veteran full-back has picked up two cautions in just four appearances this season.
Lewis O’Brien (fouled 2.41 per/90) has come in for some rough treatment this season and he is bound to get some more bumps and bruises this evening, especially when he comes into contact with Jacob Ramsey.
Morgan Gibbs-White is Forest’s best ball carrier (2.20 dribbles) and his runs through the centre could be checked and halted by John McGinn.
On the flank, Jesse Lingard (fouled 0.91 times p/90) will feel he has the beating of former Man Utd teammate Ashely Young and the latter might have to get physical to stop him.
Match-Ups to watch
Jacob Ramsey vs Lewis O’Brien
John McGinn vs Morgan Gibbs-White
Ashely Young vs Jesse Lingard
That’s all for this stats pack. Forest are in desperate need of some points, so this could be an interesting game, particularly if they look to attack.
Best of luck to anyone having a bet, and as always please keep the stakes low and stay sensible with your bets tonight.