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Nottingham Forest v Arsenal
Nottingham Forest host Arsenal in their final home game of the season and it’s a pivotal one as they look to secure their place in the 2023-24 Premier League campaign.
Steve Cooper has endured a lot this season but he has retained the faith of his supporters and that has shown in their home form, winning seven and losing five of their 18 matches at the County Ground. However, their record against the top four is largely grim and they face an Arsenal side no longer cooking under the pressure of the title race.
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Forest good for a goal at home
Perhaps the most unsurprising statistic of the season is that Nottingham Forest have fielded more professional footballers than any other club in the Premier League – 33. It’s little wonder that Cooper has prioritised structure and organisation for much of the season given the constant chopping and changing of personnel, something reflected by their average of 38.2% of possession.
However, belief has increased and Forest are finding their shooting boots at a pivotal time, scoring 12 goals in their last five matches despite playing Liverpool, Brighton and Hove Albion, Brentford and Chelsea in that period. Furthermore, they have found the net in all but two home matches.
If they are to come away victorious, they are going to have to be brave. That means committing fouls and doing the dirty work but also carrying the ball and escaping the energetic and organised Arsenal press. Renan Lodi will be the man to look towards for your Forest vs Arsenal bet builder, the left-back committing 1.21 fouls per 90 minutes played and drawing 1.65 – the Brazilian has been fouled in his last 15 starts.
They are also going to have to pack a punch at the other end of the pitch and that’s where 25-year-old striker Taiwo Awoniyi comes in. He has been backed by Steve Cooper and while he averages 0.94 shots on target per 90, he has found his feet and confidence, taking 14 shots in his last six matches and managing two shots on target in each of his last two starts.
Nottingham Forest team news
Steve Cooper has decided that consistent selection isn’t plausible given he has had to manage form, fitness and make sufficient amendments for each match to suit his team.
It will be a great atmosphere and there’s so much at stake, but there’s still a game to play. If we’re thinking about what ifs and other things beyond being at our best on Saturday then we won’t be at our best, and that’s something we cannot let happen.
“The attitude and atmosphere in training has been very good and motivated, I never have any complaints with that. There’s a real focus on doing well on Saturday.Forest boss Steve Cooper on the magnitude of this final home game of the season
In recent times, Cooper has opted for a 4-3-3 at home, using the formation against Manchester City, albeit injuries somewhat forced his hand, and Newcastle United.
It stands to reason that with his side needing a result to potentially secure their Premier League survival once and for all, he will task his team with winning the game in that 4-3-3 formation, bringing back fan-favourite and local lad Brennan Johnson in place of his captain Joe Worrall.
Saka and Jesus summing up desire to turn Arsenal’s fortunes around
Things haven’t gone to plan for Arsenal, their form gradually regressing as the season continued, leaving them short of a ruthless Manchester City side in the race for the title and their position as runners-up a virtual guarantee.
Still, despite earning just nine points in their last seven matches, they have continued to score goals and pose a problem for teams, including four against Leeds United, two at West Ham United and three vs relegated Southampton. And the pressure is now off with the title race all but over, meaning we could see a more relaxed and fluent Arsenal outfit again.
Despite their poor form, Bukayo Saka has continued to try and make things happen, having two or more shots in five of his last six matches and a shot on target in four of those. The England winger is also finding himself involved in plenty of battles thanks to his willingness to try and take on his opposite number, leading him to be fouled twice in four of his last seven matches but also commit three or more fouls in the same run.
Another all-action forward to keep an eye on for your Forest vs Arsenal bet builder is Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus, another doing his best to get Arsenal performing again. The 26-year-old has managed a shot on target in every match he has started against a team not named Manchester City since returning from a lengthy spell out injured. His frustration is evidently growing in recent weeks as the rest of the team around him has stopped performing – he has committed 13 fouls in his last five matches.
Arsenal team news
Mikel Arteta has been forced into some important changes of late, losing starting defenders Oleksandr Zinchenko and William Saliba as well as left-winger and joint top-scorer Gabriel Martinelli.
We have built that core and that foundation. There’s a lot of quality, a lot of youth, a lot of enthusiasm, but as well surrounded by a lot of good people with the right experience, with a lot of leadership around them.Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta on if he hopes the squad will grow together and build identity over a number of years
Injuries represent opportunity and that is what Jakub Kiwior and Kieran Tierney are hoping to take in the Arsenal backline as well as Leandro Trossard further up the pitch.
It is certainly an opportunity that experienced Italian Jorginho has taken and he will likely retain his place, giving Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard the opportunity to step forward and win the midfield battle.
Nottingham Forest v Arsenal Cheat Sheet
Nigerian Taiwo Awoniyi has hit form at the right time for the Tricky Trees. The former Liverpool academy prospect has found himself amongst the goals recently and ranks top of Forest’s shooting rankings according to our above Cheat Sheet. Arsenal have all but given up hopes of claiming the Premier League crown and given the dip in motivation, expect Awoniyi to make it a difficult evening for the makeshift centre-back pairing of Gabriel and Kiwior.
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Nottingham Forest v Arsenal bet builder tips
Nottingham Forest v Arsenal
As previously mentioned, motivation for Arsenal will be at an all time low after the humiliation of their 3-0 home loss to Brighton last week. Yes, they will want to put things right by their loyal fanbase, but Nottingham Forest are scrapping for survival and their home form is one of the main reasons they are still keeping themselves afloat in the division.
Forest have scored in all but two of their home games in the league this season, and will be buoyed by the fact this will be their final home game of the season. Not to mention that Arsenal’s recent defensive form has stuttered in the absence of William Saliba.
The French international has been on the sidelines since the first leg of their Europa League clash against Sporting CP, and his defensive prowess has been severely missed. The Gunners have shipped 8 goals in their 9, and although they have scored in all but three of their league matches this season, they may find it difficult to contain this Forest side.
Cooper’s side have not kept a clean sheet in their last 15, meaning both teams to score looks a promising angle to kick off this bet builder.
Bukayo Saka has yet again been a revelation for Arsenal this season. The England international could well be a shoe in for Young Player of the Year, and given he has nearly guided Arsenal to a Premier League title, that is fully deserved.
Deployed as a right winger to great effect by Arteta, he has caused havoc for opposing left backs throughout the season. However, we are backing him to pick up just one foul for the next leg of this bet builder.
Saka has committed 1.84 fouls P90 this season, showing his experience as an auxiliary wing-back for the Gunners since breaking into the squad several years ago. Not only that, but he will be up against on loan Atletico Madrid left-back Renan Lodi. The Brazilian has been fouled by his direct opponent at least once in his last 15 games, and given Arsenal may end up chasing this game given Forest’s relatively strong home record, 1.40 looks a generous price for Saka to pick up just one foul.
Taiwo Awoniyi has been in stellar form in this relegation run-in. The Nigerian scored twice in last week’s draw at Stamford Bridge, and will look to keep this run going against a depleted Arsenal back four.
Ayoniwi has had 14 shots in his last six starts, and one has to wonder where the Tricky Trees would be has he managed to remain fit for much of this season. In his last two matches, he has managed two shots on target in each, and with Arsenal shipping at least 4 shots on target in 8 of their last 9 in the league, look at Awoniyi as a decent shot on target choice to round off this bet builder.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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