Emi Buendia absent, Alex Moreno shines - Aston Villa player ratings v Nottingham Forest
Aston Villa continued their surge for European football with a confident if unspectacular 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest at Villa Park.
Goals from man of the moment Bertrand Traore and a top-scorer Ollie Watkins were enough to help Villa claim their sixth Premier League win from their last seven games.
The three points at Villa Park propelled Villa above Brighton and into sixth in the Premier League table, with just eight games of the season remaining.
Here Villa News rates the Aston Villa players out of ten for their performances against Nottingham Forest.
Emi Martinez – 8
The Argentine was kept relatively quiet in the early stages of the scrappy encounter against Nottingham Forest, but as has become the norm under Emery, the goalkeepers distribution was on point, completing 90% of his passes. He made a stunning save to deny Brennan Johnson, which was later flagged for offside. Performed a brilliant impersonation of legendary sweeper-keeper Manuel Neuer when rushing out to boot away a dangerous through-ball from Forest, and was dominant in the air, coming to successfully claim three crosses. [WhoScored]
Ashley Young – 7
Bounced back from a tough night at the King Power Stadium with a solid if unspectacular display. The veteran was solid when challenged by the blistering pace of Brennan Johnson, and he stuck to his job dutifully. During his 90-minute showing, Young managed to record a team-high six clearances.
Tyrone Mings – 8
Although Mings saw a lot of the ball, he did occasionally lack inspiration and too often passes sideways to his partner in crime Ezri Konsa. The centre-back completed the most passes out of any Aston Villa player (90) at an accuracy of 87.5%. Despite this though, the Englishman helped lead Villa to a fifth clean sheet in their last seven Premier League outings – a defensive record that cannot be bettered by any team in the league.
Ezri Konsa – 7
The Englishman produced a really smart block to deny Williams’ cross and positioned himself really cleverly throughout the game to negate any serious Nottingham Forest threats. The centre-back has really started to strike up a brilliant partnership with Mings in the heart of Villa’s defence and has put to bed any calls for Diego Carlos to be restored to the starting line-up.
Alex Moreno – 9
The Spaniard carried on where he left off against Leicester City, bombing forward into the final third whenever he was given the opportunity to do so, completing two key passes and three dribbles. The left-back went on a brilliant marauding to tee up Emi Buendia, who struck his shot just wide of the Forest goal, and was a menace to Forest all afternoon long. Moreno is starting to make the left-back jersey his own and looks a real bargain at just £12million.
Jacob Ramsey – 6
Struggled to impact the game in his usual manner and his decision-making when breaking on a counter-attack early in the second-half was questionable, with numerous Villa players left visibly frustrated with the 21-year-old. The midfielder did make two key passes and chipped in defensively with one tackle, one interception and one blocked shot to help keep Villa’s clean sheet intact.
Douglas Luiz – 5
Steve Cooper cleverly set his Nottingham Forest side up with two number 10’s which cut the supply into Luiz’s feet for much of the first-half. A total of 37 passes isn’t up to Luiz’s usual standards, and the midfielder also failed to record a single key pass, complete a single dribble or have a shot on goal. Tough afternoon at the office.
John McGinn – 7
The Scottish international was as industrious as ever in the middle of the park, but added an offensive part to his game that has sometimes been missing this season. McGinn managed to complete a key pass, two dribbles and was fouled three times in a strong performance. The midfielder is really coming into his own in the injury absence of Boubacar Kamara.
Emi Buendia – 4
It was a frustrating afternoon for the diminutive Argentine, who struggled to impact the game in his usual manner. Was visibly frustrated at being substituted by Leander Dendoncker in the 75th minute but Emery can be justified in this decision. The playmaker only managed to complete 64% of his 28 attempted passes and lost possession a total of 12 times.
Leon Bailey – 6
The Jamaican’s afternoon was cruelly cut short after going off with what looked like a hamstring injury after 25 minutes. The winger had started brightly and almost teed up Watkins during a rapid counter-attack before falling to the ground and being subbed by eventual match-winner Bertrand Traore.
Ollie Watkins – 8
The Premier League’s form striker set his intentions straight from the offset as he lashed a shot narrowly wide of Keylor Navas’ goal minute in, but was kept quiet for large portions of the game. Whenever he was called upon, the England international looked bright and dangerous, having four shots on goal, and finishing off Villa’s brilliant afternoon with a delicious chipped goal in extra-time.
Bertrand Traore (on for Bailey, 27′) – 8 – The winger made it two goals within a week when he whipped home a close-range goal with his left boot. The former Chelsea youth graduate was a constant menace down the left-wing, but occasionally his decision-making left food for thought.
Leander Dendoncker (on for Buendia, 75′) – 6
In other Aston Villa news, the return of Diego Carlos could lead to a system change under Emery.