Aston Villa hold off Forest fightback to win 4-2

Aston Villa held off a spirited comeback attempt from Nottingham Forest to secure a 4-2 Premier league home win on Saturday, with the hosts' Douglas Luiz netting twice and striker Ollie Watkins and winger Leon Bailey setting each other up to score.

Bailey looked lively from the start and he teed up Watkins in the fourth minute, sliding a perfect pass through the legs of a defender for a simple close-range finish.

- Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Villa enjoyed great success attacking down Forest's left flank and in the 29th minute they doubled their advantage as Jacob Ramsey pulled the ball back for Douglas Luiz to fire home his eighth league goal of the season.

Luiz was on target again 10 minutes later, heading home a perfect cross from John McGinn, but a goal from a corner chested home in the fifth minute of stoppage time by defender Moussa Niakhate gave the visitors a lifeline.

Douglas Luiz scored twice in the first-half to help secure the three points for Aston Villa.
Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

Morgan Gibbs-White pulled another one back for Forest three minutes after the break to silence the home crowd, but their faith was quickly restored when Youri Tielemans hit the post and Villa began to re-assert their dominance.

Bailey restored their two-goal cushion eight minutes later, reacting first to a deflected effort from Watkins to slot home from close range.

Forest battled hard but only managed one more shot on target and Watkins could have netted his second with a late strike that flew high and wide.

Villa stayed fourth in the table on 52 points, three behind Arsenal. Forest are 16th on 24 points, four above the relegation zone. 

After the game Luiz credited Villa coach Unai Emery with giving him the confidence to go and attack.

"I just think he has lifted me, it is the truth. He has told me every day, you need to defend, and if you go you need to score," he said in a TV interview.

"We train at this every day, the gaffer helps us so much. The character of Ollie [Watkins] and Leon [Bailey], it is great to have them in my team," Luiz added.

Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo was disappointed with his side's defending, especially for the early goal that set the tone for Villa.

"We started very bad, we conceded too easily. This is something we have to improve... They attack from both sides, it is our responsibility to solve the problem. We will analyse the game to rectify and improve," he told the BBC.