Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest - Sunday 13:15, Sky Sports 1
Roberto Di Matteo has turned the spotlight on the mental fortitude of his players following their collapse at Bristol City last time out. Aston Villa were on top for an hour at Ashton Gate - and a goal ahead - only to crumble the moment the Robins netted an equaliser, eventually losing 3-1 in almost identical circumstances to the EFL Cup defeat at Luton.
Now the focus from within the camp might not be so much about whether they can get the better of Forest here, rather how well they can close the game out if they do. For all their shortcomings, the Villans have had the beating of every team they’ve played so far and their record inside 45 minutes is impressive: P5 W3 D2 L0 F4 A0.
With that in mind, the 6/4 available on Villa to win the first half should be apparent. The Reds have been behind in both of their previous two away games, conceding five first-half goals overall in five league outings. But just as attractive is the 12/5 available on the first half in the highest scoring half market.
Only a freak ricochet against Huddersfield has prevented this bet being landed in both of Villa’s home games to date. Villa were 2-0 up at the interval against Rotherham, while three days later keeper Pierluigi Gollini cannoned a clearance against Michael Hefele for the Terriers to equalise late on and snatch a point against the run of play.