Nottingham Forest match reaction from NottinghamshireLive as we take a look at what Match of the Day pundits said about the Reds brilliant 2-0 victory over Aston Villa.
Match of the Day pundits claim Nottingham Forest face a fresh “problem” after earning new-found respect from their Premier League peers. That’s the verdict from former Reds striker Glenn Murray and Dion Dublin who were the studio experts running the rule over Forest’s 2-0 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday.
Steve Cooper ’s men gained their first win in seven matches with their City Ground win over Villa. Ola Aina gave Forest a fifth-minute lead with his first goal for the club, powerfully side-footing into the net from 25 yards after Anthony Elanga’s burst down the left was followed by Harry Toffolo’s pass.
The home side then doubled their lead just after the break when Orel Mangala’s 25-yard strike embarrassed Villa’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.
Show host Mark Chapman kicked off the post-match analysis by saying: “They were really good and for the second time today we saw an really good opening goal.”
Murray, who spent a four-month spell at Forest at the end of his playing career in 2021, said: “Yeah we did, and it’s not something you necessarily associate with Forest, slick passing through the thirds, but that’s exactly what this first goal was. It was a fantastic team goal and it all started with Aina winning it in the right-back position.
“And that was the only negative pass backwards to keep possession. Everything else was forwards and positive. There was a lovely one/two from Elanga just to get down the line. We can see Aina running up from the right. The ball is recycled back to Toffolo and then he (Aina) sees the opportunity to step onto it and sometimes when you step onto a ball like that you can really leather it and put your laces through it, but he passes it, side foot, into the bottom corner of the net. It’s a fantastic finish.”
Dublin added: “It’s hard to finish like that, that low from so far out. It’s 22 yards out and it’s hard to do. I have never done it.”
Chapman said: “As well as scoring the good goals, they defended really well today. They shut off the passing lanes to Villa; they stifled them.”
Murray agreed, saying: “Yes, they implemented Steve Cooper’s tactics absolutely perfectly in all aspects of the game. The structure and the shape, with two banks of four and Sangare just dropping in and then they pop out just giving Villa no options and the ball eventually ends up at Martinez.
“They recognised when to high press and they hunt in packs. They went after it and if it wasn’t for a really soft decision from the referee it would have probably been 2-0 up early in the game. And then from 2-0 up, it was all about blocking lines and defending resolutely. At one stage they had ten men within seven or eight yards of their own goal line, but this is desire and game management by not allowing Villa any spaces and eventually the ball was put over the bar. So a job well done.”
Former Villa centre-forward Dublin added: “It just goes to show that they played that well. Villa had chances but just didn’t take them. They were very slow on the ball and had too many touches, and you can’t see any of the forward thinking players because they are not showing for the ball. They just took the wrong option all the time, played the wrong pass at the wrong time and it just gave Forest the chance to take the whole side of the pitch and move the team to the other side and be in control of their defensive positions. And Steve Cooper will be delighted with the way his team defended.”
Murray then pinpointed an issue that Forest are now going to come up against, saying: “This is a problem they are going to have now; they’re flying high, they’re getting respected and all of a sudden they will have some teams sitting in against them, and now they have to break them down.”