Nottingham Forest slipped into the Premier League relegation zone after going nine games without a win as they lost 2-0 to Aston Villa.
Bertrand Traore scored the opener after a terrible error from Jonjo Shelvey. Ollie Watkins then continued his goalscoring form with his second of the competition as Prince William, Prince George and England manager Gareth Southgate watched on.
NottinghamshireLive: looks at how the national media is reporting on the events at Villa Park…
READ MORE. Four players were added to Forest’s long injury list
READ MORE: Cooper answered a question about his future after the defeat by Aston Villa
BBC Sport, Adam Millington
Aston Villa continued their push for European football next season with a win over relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest at Villa Park.
Villa have now won 11 of their 17 games under Unai Emery, their fourth in a row. It was a testy first half for Emery’s men as the hosts struggled to find a foothold in the match and Forest proved equal to their efforts.
Villa came closest to breaking the deadlock early on when Ollie Watkins forced Keylor Navas to stop from close range, but chances were otherwise limited. The opening goal of the game couldn’t have been easier for the hosts, however, when Bertrand Traore curled past Navas after Jonjo Shelvey had cleared the ball into Villa’s path just after the restart.
Watkins sealed the result in the final minute of added time, netting after a one-two with Jacob Ramsey. Meanwhile, Villa are six points behind fifth-placed Tottenham with eight games remaining.
Emery has orchestrated a complete turnaround in Villa’s fortunes since taking over in October. They had won just two of their opening 11 matches before the Spaniard’s arrival but are now firmly at the top of the table.
Read more here.
The Telegraph, John Percy
While Aston Villa fans and the Prince of Wales dream of a European tour next season, Forest supporters will be hoping owner Evangelos Marinakis holds his nerve.
While Forest face a nervy end to the campaign, Villa’s transformation under Unai Emery is one of the stories of the season. Villa’s win against the future king moved them up to 6th place and they remain in serious contention for European qualification.
These are the kind of games that have seen Villa stumble in recent years, but now they are a ruthless efficiency machine. Substitute Bertrand Traore capitalized on a terrible error from Jonjo Shelvey to score the first before Ollie Watkins added a second late on.
Having finished eighth to secure a place in Europe next season if West Ham win the UEFA Europa League, Villa’s goal under owners Nacef Sawiris and Wes Edens is edging closer. Emery said: “We are ambitious and realistic, and now we can add a new target with opportunities for a European position.”
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The Guardian, Ben Fisher
Aston Villa won their sixth in seven games to climb to sixth in the Premier League and put the pressure on Steve Cooper. The question now is how Evangelos Marinakis will react to Nottingham Forest’s descent into the relegation zone.
Marinakis signed Cooper to a new deal in October to quell talk of him sacking his manager when they were bottom of the table, but it’s hard to imagine the Forest owner will be so generous this time around. Substitute Bertrand Traore, Villa’s hero at Leicester in midweek, opened the scoring before Ollie Watkins scored his ninth goal in 11 games to double Villa’s lead in second-half stoppage time and compound the woes of Cooper, who looked miserable.
By the time Watkins had touched Cooper, he was looking forlorn from the touchline, his hands clutching his jacket behind his back, and it was impossible not to wonder if Marinakis would ask him to take his coat. Villa, watched over by Prince William and his son George, are rocking European football after winning four straight and 11 of 17 matches under Unai Emery.
They have already equaled last season’s points tally with eight games to play. One part of Villa’s matchday program is labeled “Seasons in the Sun” and despite a poor start under Steven Gerrard, this could be another to add to the list. “We started to try to escape from the bottom of the table, we did,” Emery said.
“We tried to be in the top 10 and now we are there and another target we can have is to go to Europe. We’re going to think about being ambitious.”
Read more here.
Daily Mail, Tom Colomos
In front of the future king, Steve Cooper was left fearing his reign as Nottingham Forest manager is coming to an end as his side slip into the bottom three. The Prince of Wales is a keen Aston Villa fan and was in the directors’ box to watch Unai Emery’s side make it six wins from seven and strengthen their push for European football. .
Although Forest put up a better fight here than in most games away from the City Ground, they offered little in attack and were caught in a horrendous defensive error early in the second half which allowed Villa substitute Bertrand Traore to open the scoring. Ollie Watkins scored his ninth goal in 11 games at the break.
Villa have been through this before, but the stars have now aligned at Villa Park. Under a proven manager, this team is flying, and while they face tough fixtures, Emery has his sights set on Europe. Don’t forget that the Spaniard has won the Europa League four times as a manager.
In the last minute of the half, Alex Moreno ran down the left, Watkins failed to connect with a cross and Traore volleyed past Holt End. Villa almost wrapped it up when the impressive Moreno accelerated beyond Neco Williams and picked out Amy Buendia, whose first-team effort from close range flew wide.
The Argentinian should have hit the mark, but needn’t have worried. Forrest would never be able to make him pay. Watkins had the decisive touch when he collected a return pass from Ramsey and cut the ball beyond Navas. Cooper looked miserable on the line of scrimmage. Now the wait begins.
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Aston Villa’s push for a European place continued with a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest, who dropped into the bottom three. The hosts needed just three minutes to take the lead after an uneventful opening half, Traore side-footing into the far corner after pouncing on Jonjo Shelvey’s weak cross in his own area.
The game was eventually made safe deep into stoppage time when Ollie Watkins continued his red streak in front of goal to score his ninth goal in 11 games to seal all three points. The win sees Unai Emery’s side, who have won four straight in the league, move up to sixth place as their dreams of securing European football next season remain firmly on track.
However, manager Emery insists his side must remain “realistic” about their European ambitions. He said. “Our other target is to go to Europe.
“The other teams are playing well. But it (sixth place) is not real, Brighton have two games in hand, Liverpool too and we have to wait. “We have to be realistic and ambitious. Our next match is victory.”
Aston Villa were hoping for a quick start as they looked to build on their recent fine run of form, and the on-form Watkins put them ahead with almost four minutes to go, but the striker curled his shot wide of the far post. It was to be Villa’s best opening of the half as the hosts struggled to find a rhythm against a spirited Nottingham Forest side.
Read more here.
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