Ah, Villa. I mean, where to start. Just when I thought Tuesday was as low as it gets, football surprises you again. It’s at that point now where I’m really not looking to the future. No matter who comes in or what manager we get, anything to do with that claret and blue shirt is cursed.
The formation came as a shock to most Villa fans. I can’t remember us ever playing a back three. At first I thought Baker was playing left-back, thank god he wasn’t or it could’ve been worse. Nevertheless, it was nice to see Hutton not in the starting XI after the Brentford calamity.
The home side kept possession quite well in the first half. However, we had the first chance if you can call it that. Kodjia beat his man and hit a powerful shot at Stephen Henderson in the Forest goal. Unfortunately for us, the Forest keeper managed to get in the way of it.
Throughout the first half, the Villa frontline looked like two men on a mission. New boy Hogan nearly scored a wonder goal, using his pace to evade the Forest midfield then skip past a number of chances in the box. Nonetheless, former Villain Eric Lichaj blocked the 12 million pound mans shot.
For the first time in a while, the boys in claret and blue were playing exiting, dynamic football, and deservedly went 1-0 up after 19 minutes. Hourihane was alert to make an interception in Forests half, he played it to Grealish who slipped it into Kodjia. The Ivory Coast forward had no problem finessing the ball round Henderson and into the back of the net.
Before half time we were nearly 2-0 up. Lansbury’s free kick was fumbled by the Forest keeper, but Elphick couldn’t finish the scraps. The same man had a free header straight at the keeper from the resulting corner. At one point I said to my mate, “this is Aston Villa were watching right?”
Although we were slightly too deep, Bruce seemed to have got his tactics right. Bjanerson seemed to never tire of going up and down at left wing back, Lansbury was making tackles all over the pitch and our back three looked solid. Sure, we weren’t seeing much of the ball, but when Grealish, Hogan or Kodjia picked it up, we looked really dangerous.
But of course something would go wrong before half-time. Sam Johnstone failed to catch Wards long range attempt. The man with the coolest name in football, Britt Assombalonga, was on hand to poke in the rebound.
In the second half, the pace of the game seemed to slow down a bit. Hogan nearly got his debut goal. Kodjia flicked the ball on, and the former Brentford forward beat a defender prior to getting a shot away. The ball nearly squirmed past Henderson, but it was Lichaj again who rescued Forest.
Chester was denied by Henderson from a beautifully delivered Connor Hourihane free kick, plus Bree went close too. But after that, things went pear shaped for Villa.
Grealish left a leg out on Lichaj and duly got sent off, then Steve Bruce took both strikers off with Lansbury, and essentially replaced them with three wingers. When Adomah, Green and Bacuna came on I had no clue what formation we were playing. Were we parking the bus, playing Hourihane as a Spain 2012 style false nine or just panicking?
For my money, it was the latter. With over 90 minutes gone, teenage striker Ben Brereton was first to the second ball and volleyed in to break Villa hearts. That was the 22nd point Villa have dropped from a winning position this season.
Sometimes, supporting a football team can be one of the most painful experience’s. At the end of the day you know it shouldn’t matter but it just does. Bleh.