Nunez needs to be more clinical
There’s so much to admire about Darwin Nunez. He’s had a great season so far, but he has moments like his miss in the second half against Luton where the people who are not maybe huge fans of his can point at that.
He has to change those situations like that. There was a moment in the first half where he could have had a different type of finish and he’s got to bring that to his game – be a bit more delicate rather than putting your foot through it every time.
He’s dangerous, he’s a handful, he’s never going to be the most clinical. We know that now, he’s been in our league almost 18 months. But there’s no doubt there’s been a big improvement this season – he’s Liverpool’s No 9.
But he just got to stop the memes on social media and people looking at the big chances that he misses. He’s got to be more clinical in those situations.
Luton showing heart bodes well for season
“Our starting team cost £4m or £5m – starting in a Premier League game against Liverpool. Ha!”
A laughing Luton manager Rob Edwards said he was proud, not disappointed of his team conceding late to Liverpool and while the importance of those two dropped points will be determined in May, the signs look good for the Hatters.
Luton were brilliant defensively to stay in the game, making 43 clearances in the 1-1 draw – the most of any Premier League team this season. Their goal is the perfect example of how dangerous they are on the break and in transitions too.
Now that point has taken them out of the drop zone, Edwards will be hoping he and his team have the last laugh come the end of the season.
“People out there will say what they want about us, our job isn’t to change people’s minds,” he added. “It’s to make them think, they’re fighting, they’re difficult to beat, they’ve got good players, that’s what happened tonight.”
Villa must improve away form to mount top-four challenge
Last month former Aston Villa midfielder Paul Merson believed the team needed to change their “inconsistent” away form if Unai Emery’s side are to achieve a top-four finish this season.
But that obstacle still remains after their disappointing 2-0 defeat against Nottingham Forest that will temper expectations around Villa.
The loss at the City Ground means Aston Villa’s last five defeats in the Premier League have come away from home, including all three of their losses this season.
Early goals were an issue in all of those defeats – Ola Aina scored for Forest after five minutes, Dominik Szoboszlai hit a third-minute opener for Liverpool (3-0) and Sandro Tonali scored in the sixth minute for Newcastle (5-1).
Emery celebrates a year in charge of Villa on Monday and it has been a superb 12 months under the Spaniard. Villa are riding high in the Premier League, competing in Europe and have made Villa Park a fortress with the club on a 12-league game winning streak there.
But if they are to take the next step under Emery in his second year and mount a top-four challenge then it is away from home where they must improve.
Indeed, Emery’s side have only won two of their last 10 away games in the competition, while losing half of those (D3 L5).
Villa’s next away game is at Tottenham on November 26, live on Sky Sports. That will certainly be a match that will not only test their top-four credentials but provide Villa with an opportunity to deliver away from home.
Forest’s fine home record a strong foundation
Nottingham Forest are turning the City Ground into a fortress.
Sunday’s impressive 2-0 win over top-four hopefuls Aston Villa means Steve Cooper’s side have lost just two of their previous 20 home games in the Premier League (W9 D9). Only Manchester City and Liverpool have lost fewer such matches since the start of October last year.
Forest’s positive home record was key in preserving their top-flight status last season with eight of their nine victories coming at the City Ground. It’s still early days, but that trend has continued at the start of this campaign. Two of their three wins so far have been in front of their own supporters, while all four defeats have been on the road.
Although their away form clearly needs work, Forest have a knack of continuing to churn out results in Nottingham. The City Ground is now one of the toughest stadiums to visit and, as Cooper looks to keep his team in the Premier League for a second consecutive season, the challenge now is to ensure it continues that way.