The Chalkboard: The O’Neill gamble Forest fans loved completely backfired vs Villa

Nottingham Forest manager Martin O’Neill decided to bring weekend goalscorers Joao Carvalho and Karim Ansarifard for their first starts since he took charge against Aston Villa on Wednesday night, but it ultimately backfired.

On the chalkboard

Carvalho and Ansarifard – who had only played 96 and 34 minutes respectively in the league since O’Neill replaced Aitor Karanka in January – were both named on the team-sheet for the visit of Dean Smith’s Villans.

Loads of Reds fans were certainly delighted with that decision and the line-up in general given their reactions to it being announced on Twitter, but the match didn’t play out as they would have hoped.

While Forest took the lead with just three minutes on the clock through Jack Colback, they were outclassed by their opponents over the course of the following 87 minutes, with neither Carvalho nor Ansarifard doing what they were named in the XI to do.

What did they fail to do?

The former Republic of Ireland boss would have been looking at Carvalho to provide some creativity and a goal threat – especially considering his fine strike against Hull City at the weekend – but he never really looked like doing either as he failed to grasp the rare opportunity he had been given.

Meanwhile, Ansarifard would have been expected to hold the ball up and bring the likes of the Portuguese youngster and Joe Lolley into play, but he didn’t do that and was also booked for diving early on in the match meaning he couldn’t be as aggressive as he could have been during the remainder of the fixture.

Why did they fail?

Perhaps it was down to confidence, lack of match fitness or still trying to adapt to the style of play their manager wants to see.

Whatever the reasons, it seems unlikely that the duo will be given another chance against Ipswich on Saturday.