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Aston Villa player ratings gallery vs Nottingham Forest as ‘fumbler’ scores 4/10 and four get ‘terrible’ 5s

Couldn’t do a great deal about Aina’s goal but really should’ve done better to stop Mangala’s effort for 2-0 as he fumbled, massively. Martinez thought the save was done too early perhaps as he lacked awareness when the ball came back down and across the line. Otherwise looked fairly comfortable, especially with his distribution.
Couldn’t do a great deal about Aina’s goal but really should’ve done better to stop Mangala’s effort for 2-0 as he fumbled, massively. Martinez thought the save was done too early perhaps as he lacked awareness when the ball came back down and across the line. Otherwise looked fairly comfortable, especially with his distribution.

Aston Villa’s tremendous six-game Premier League unbeaten streak finally came to an end as Nottingham Forest were clinical to win 2-0 at The City Ground on Sunday afternoon. Ola Aina’s fierce fifth-minute strike and an Emiliano Martinez-evading Orel Mangala effort were the difference as Steve Cooper’s side claimed a vital three points. Villa dominated possession throughout but were limited going forward in the first half and then showed no cutting edge in the second, missing a whole host of big chances. The men in claret and blue really should’ve gotten themselves back in the game on a number of occasions but hardly tested Odysseas Vlachodimos, much to the anger of Unai Emery on the touchline.

Forest set the tone early as they scored with their very first attack of the game, hitting Villa on the break. Anthony Elanga beat Matty Cash for pace, cut it back to Harry Toffolo and it was played across the edge of the area, where Aina was waiting. There was a synchronous cry of “shoot” from three corners of The City Ground and Aina did as commanded, firing with a tremendous low drive from 25 yards to find the bottom left side netting. The strike evaded the entire Villa back line, who failed to rush out and apply any pressure whatsoever.

Emery’s side regained control of possession after the opener but struggled to penetrate Forest’s defence as the hosts sat in to form a low block. Villa did eventually create a big opportunity as Cash was found by Nicolo Zaniolo in the 20th minute but it was squandered. The Villans right-back darted to the far post to connect with Zaniolo’s dinked ball in but failed to control his effort, seeing the ball fly high and wide into the crowd. Zaniolo then nearly caught out Vlachodimos with a mishit cross but it was just about kept away from the net by the Reds goalkeeper.

It really wasn’t the right-back’s afternoon as he was beaten for pace by Elanga in the build-up to Aina’s opener, missed a huge chance to make it 1-1 in the 20th minute, and was hooked before the hour mark.
It really wasn’t the right-back’s afternoon as he was beaten for pace by Elanga in the build-up to Aina’s opener, missed a huge chance to make it 1-1 in the 20th minute, and was hooked before the hour mark.

A few more decent opportunities were formed before the break but neither side could take advantage. Zaniolo was involved yet again as he was fed in by Moussa Diaby but failed to beat Vlachodimos at his near post. The Italian, despite being off balance, got plenty of power behind his effort but it was saved comfortably. Forest then had a glorious opportunity down the other end of the field as Lucas Digne was caught out of position and Aina was able to breeze past Zaniolo. The Reds goalscorer did brilliantly to advance and cut the ball back to Nicolas Dominguez but the winger leaned back and skied his attempt well over the crossbar.

Villa looked increasingly susceptible to counter-attacks as the exasperation grew at a lack of openings and it proved costly. Within just 60 seconds of play restarting after half time, the Reds made it 2-0 as Mangala pulled the trigger from range and Martinez made a right hash of his attempted save. Ezri Konsa failed to deal with Taiwo Awoniyi in the area and it was then fed back to Mangala on the edge of the box by Toffolo. Mangala opened up his body and got plenty of curl on the shot, forcing Martinez into an awkward stop, so much so that the ball lofted up into the air and fell back down and across the line.

There was a good response from the visitors as they crafted their own openings more regularly from that point on. John McGinn first worked some space effectively and whipped in a delightful cross for Ollie Watkins but the striker failed to get enough on his header, seeing the ball glance wide of the far post. Substitute Leon Bailey was then found around 10 yards from goal by Diaby but the Jamaican got it all wrong, putting the ball well over the bar. Bailey followed on as he had another attempt sail above the woodwork when he tried to meet a Digne cross with his head but misjudged the flight of the ball. More late flurries came for Villa but in the end, it was a rare case of rued missed chances for a usually clinical Emery side. The hosts, meanwhile, were resilient.

Here are our Villa player ratings.

Didn’t do enough to stop a bouncing ball into the area ahead of Mangala’s goal and nearly gave away a penalty in the dying embers of the first half, only to be spared his blushes by an offside.
Didn’t do enough to stop a bouncing ball into the area ahead of Mangala’s goal and nearly gave away a penalty in the dying embers of the first half, only to be spared his blushes by an offside.
Got across well to deny numerous attempted crosses from Dominguez and swept in behind a few times to stop Awoniyi running through on goal. Pinged a few terrific cross-field passes to find the likes of Cash and Bailey in space.
Got across well to deny numerous attempted crosses from Dominguez and swept in behind a few times to stop Awoniyi running through on goal. Pinged a few terrific cross-field passes to find the likes of Cash and Bailey in space.
Gave away a couple of sloppy fouls in dangerous areas but otherwise defended well to limit Gibbs-White’s threat. Got forward plenty to cause Forest problems, whipping in some dangerous deliveries. Lacked cutting edge in the latter stages of the game, however, and missed a decent chance.
Gave away a couple of sloppy fouls in dangerous areas but otherwise defended well to limit Gibbs-White’s threat. Got forward plenty to cause Forest problems, whipping in some dangerous deliveries. Lacked cutting edge in the latter stages of the game, however, and missed a decent chance.
Was nowhere to be seen at the base of midfield as Aina was given far too much space to shoot and score for 1-0. Kamara was also dispossessed far too easily in midfield on more than one occasion, before being booked when moved to right-back. One brilliant sliding challenge in the first half helps boost Kamara’s rating somewhat.
Was nowhere to be seen at the base of midfield as Aina was given far too much space to shoot and score for 1-0. Kamara was also dispossessed far too easily in midfield on more than one occasion, before being booked when moved to right-back. One brilliant sliding challenge in the first half helps boost Kamara’s rating somewhat.
Caught sleeping out of position for Aina’s goal and, just like Kamara, lost possession cheaply more than once. Did perform a lot better in the second half, though, as Villa began to assert more control on the game.
Caught sleeping out of position for Aina’s goal and, just like Kamara, lost possession cheaply more than once. Did perform a lot better in the second half, though, as Villa began to assert more control on the game.
Worked hard as per usual and displayed some nice link-up play in the early stages of attacks. Whipped in a treat of a delivery for Watkins but was denied an assist as the striker misjudged the header.
Worked hard as per usual and displayed some nice link-up play in the early stages of attacks. Whipped in a treat of a delivery for Watkins but was denied an assist as the striker misjudged the header.
Was heavily involved during his 45 minutes of action but missed a couple of decent chances in the opening 35 minutes, the first being a misjudged header and the second a shot saved easily by Vlachodimos. Taken off by Emery at half time.
Was heavily involved during his 45 minutes of action but missed a couple of decent chances in the opening 35 minutes, the first being a misjudged header and the second a shot saved easily by Vlachodimos. Taken off by Emery at half time.
Created a couple of really good chances for Zaniolo and Bailey and it wasn’t his fault that his teammates weren’t able to convert. Got a decent shot on target away in the second half but was denied by Vlachodimos.
Created a couple of really good chances for Zaniolo and Bailey and it wasn’t his fault that his teammates weren’t able to convert. Got a decent shot on target away in the second half but was denied by Vlachodimos.
Had the tough job of trying to beat Niakhate and Murillo for strength and it showed as the striker Watkins was rather limited for opportunites. Had one shot on target saved during the first attack of the second half and missed a good chance when he headed wide a few minutes later.
Had a good chance as he was found by Diaby but showed very little composure as he fired high and wide. Looked to be one of the main threats as Villa piled on the pressure late on but just couldn’t find his way past a brilliant Murillo.
Had a good chance as he was found by Diaby but showed very little composure as he fired high and wide. Looked to be one of the main threats as Villa piled on the pressure late on but just couldn’t find his way past a brilliant Murillo.
Hardly stopped running as he tried to have an impact on the result but, just like a lot of his colleagues, put one effort well over the crossbar.
Hardly stopped running as he tried to have an impact on the result but, just like a lot of his colleagues, put one effort well over the crossbar.
Aston Villa's Argentinian goalkeeper #01 Emiliano Martinez reacts during the English Premier League football match between Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa at The City Ground in Nottingham, central England, on November 5, 2023. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)