EPL - Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest

Image copyright: Getty Images

2023/24 English Premier League
Matchday 26
Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest
Villa Park
Birmingham, England
Saturday, 24 February 2024
Kick-off is at 15h00 
The battle for a top-four finish in the Premier League is hotting up as Aston Villa welcome Nottingham Forest to Villa Park on Saturday, February 24.
The Villans have been in and out of the UEFA Champions League places since November and they reclaimed fourth spot from Tottenham with a 2-1 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday, February 17.
Spurs saw a five-match unbeaten run come to an end after they suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Wolves at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, while Manchester United beat Luton by the same scoreline at Kenilworth Road on Sunday, February 18 to close within three points of the North Londoners in sixth position.
Forest picked up their first win in five games when they ran out 2-0 victors against West Ham at the City Ground to move up to 15th in the standings, five points clear of the relegation zone.
Nuno Espirito Santo's side overtook Crystal Palace (16th) on goal difference, although the Eagles were due to play Everton on Monday, February 19.

Ollie Watkins of Aston VillaImage copyright: Getty Images
In team news, Villa head coach Unai Emery continues to be without Boubacar Kamara, Emiliano Buendia, Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa (all knee), Jhon Duran and Diego Carlos (thigh), while Chris Wood and Gonzalo Montiel (both thigh) are unavailable for the visitors. Ibrahim Sangare, Ola Aina and Willy Boly could be back in the mix after their Africa Cup of Nations exertions.
Emery was pleased to get a reaction from his players after their defeat to the Red Devils last time out and hailed the versatility of his squad to be able to adapt to absentees through injury and international commitments.
"After our defeat in the last match at home in the Premier League against Manchester United, it was an important week to prepare for this game, staying very focused and trying to come back a good result and good feelings," the Spaniard said.
"I think it was fantastic how the players worked, how they were focused on the match and trying to impose our position on the pitch. We did some fantastic work and some players are showing their qualities in different moments.
"As a team, as a squad, I am very proud of our work. With some players being injured, some players will play in different positions to be versatile for the team. It's fantastic because I think this commitment is very important."
Nuno praised his players for a dictating the game against the Hammers, although he admitted the 71st-minute dismissal of Kalvin Phillips aided their cause.
"We played a really good game. Defensively we were really aggressive," the Portuguese said. "We created chances. We controlled the game really well.
"The team were organised. Having one man more made the difference. Congratulations to the players and the fans - an amazing noise."

Head-to-Head (Last Five Premier League Meetings)

Matches - 5
Aston Villa wins - 2
Forest wins - 1
Draws - 2

Premier League Matchday 26 fixtures:

Wednesday, February 21
19h30: Liverpool v Luton Town
Saturday, February 24
15h00: Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest
15h00: Brighton & Hove Albion v Everton
15h00: Crystal Palace v Burnley
15h00: Manchester United v Fulham
17h30: Bournemouth v Manchester City
20h00: Arsenal v Newcastle United
Sunday, February 25
13h30: Wolverhampton Wanderers v Sheffield United
Monday, February 26
20h00: West Ham United v Brentford

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Published: 02/23/2024