You know things have really turned around when Aston Villa win on Sky! Scott Hogans goal was the difference between two teams who lie at opposite ends of the table.
It was a back and forth opening, but Villas high pressing payed off as Nottingham Forest started to make mistakes.
And after 18 minutes we’d scored. Robert Snodgrass swung in a ball and Scott Hogan got in front of Forest keeper Jordan Smith to nod home.
It was nearly not long after, the chance being created by Snodgrass once again. The Scot whipped in free kick from the left and John Terry beats Mancienne in air but hit the crossbar.
Forest then started to put the pressure on. David Vaughen’s pulling of the strings in midfield meant the home side had most of the possession, but Villa kept their shape defensively.
And Kieran Dowell’s free-kick (which Johnstone had covered) was the closest Forest came in the first 45.
In the second half, Bikir Bjarnason came on for Glenn Whelan, who had injured himself making a hell of a flying block, in defensive midfield. And by all accounts, the Icelander did a solid job in his new role.
Villa went close to doubling their lead in the second half too. None more so than Jack Grealish, who couldn’t get enough bend on his shot to find the target. Snodgrass almost caught out Smith with a near post free-kick too.
As well as attacking fluidly, with little flicks down the line from Grealish and Adomah, Villa’s experience paying off too. Little things like kicking the ball away and drawing fouls unsettled Forest who couldn’t get into a rhythm.
That’s not to say the home side didn’t test Johnstone, which they did. But all but one of the Red’s shots were pretty much down his throat.
The one being when Dowell, who is on loan from Everton, hit a moving shot which Johnstone got a forearm on before the ball span away for a corner.
It’s good that Villa have put a dodgy couple of games over Christmas behind them. Next up it’s Barnsley at home.
Robert Snodgrass – Snodgrass, technically, is too good for this league. His assist for Hogans goal takes his count up to seven. The Scot not only put in some excellent deliveries, but also worked tirelessly down the right closing Forest players down at every opportunity.