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Nottingham Forest logo
Premier League | Gameweek 22
Jan 30, 2024 at 7.30pm UK
The City Ground
Arsenal logo

Nott'm Forest
1 - 2

Awoniyi (89')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Jesus (65'), Saka (72')
Jesus (40')

Preview: Nottingham Forest vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Premier League clash between Nottingham Forest and Arsenal, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Returning to the stadium where their Premier League title dreams crashed and burned last season, Arsenal lock horns with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Tuesday evening.

The Gunners returned to winning and scoring ways with a 5-0 battering of Crystal Palace last weekend, while Nuno Espirito Santo's side were forced to accept a 0-0 draw with Bristol City in Friday's FA Cup tie.

Match preview

Nottingham Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo applauds fans on December 23, 2023© Reuters

The boot of Taiwo Awoniyi extinguished Arsenal's dreams of Premier League stardom once and for all last season, while also assuring Nottingham Forest of a place in the big time for the second successive year, but a third-straight season of top-flight football is far from a guarantee.

Since replacing the man who masterminded that season-defining beating of the Gunners, Nuno Espirito Santo has overseen a spate of end-to-end, goal-packed affairs in the Forest dugout, with a staggering 26 strikes flying in during his opening six fixtures at the helm, including five in their last Premier League showdown with Brentford.

However, three days after bettering Blackpool 3-2 in the FA Cup, the Tricky Trees were put to the sword by the same scoreline against the Ivan Toney-inspired Bees, although the striker's comeback strike - a clever free kick low into the goal - was clouded in controversy, as he appeared to move the ball while Santo's wall prepped themselves.

An infuriated Forest - who sit 16th in the rankings with a four-point lead over Luton Town in 18th - have since been informed that VAR were unable to intervene, and after controversially losing that fixture, they lost their golden scoring streak at Ashton Gate on Friday evening.

An FA Cup fourth-round replay with Bristol City is on the cards owing to that uninspiring goalless draw, but a first Premier League home fixture of 2024 now awaits for the Reds, exactly one month on from their striking 2-1 victory over Manchester United to end a four-game losing streak at the City Ground.

Arsenal's Gabriel celebrates scoring against Crystal Palace on January 20, 2024© Reuters

Returning from Dubai with a shiny new pair of shooting boots, Arsenal consigned their previous attacking woes to history with a five-star performance against lowly London rivals Crystal Palace on January 20, where prolific defender Gabriel Magalhaes began the goal rush in the first period.

The Brazilian connected with two Gunners corners to propel his side into a healthy lead - Arsenal's second goal has now been credited to him after initially going down as a Dean Henderson own goal - while Gabriel Martinelli (two) and Leandro Trossard also contributed to the rout in the second half.

In 90 minutes at the Emirates, Arsenal matched their goal tally from their miserable seven-game run between December 9 and January 7 - where only one of their contests ended in victory - and third place in the table belongs to Mikel Arteta's men at present, although Aston Villa are only behind on account of a worse goal difference.

By virtue of a bewildering FA Cup loss to Liverpool, Arteta's troops have enjoyed the luxury of another extended rest before a return to the road, where they have failed to win any of their last three matches in the Premier League - not since Arteta's first months in charge have they endured a longer sequence of winless away games.

Painful memories of last season's 1-0 City Ground loss will be evoked when the Gunners step foot onto Forest's turf again, which marked the Reds' third successive home win over Arsenal in all competitions, but the North London titans accomplished a measure of revenge with a 2-1 Emirates triumph on the opening weekend of the current campaign.

Nottingham Forest Premier League form:

Nottingham Forest form (all competitions):

Arsenal Premier League form:

Arsenal form (all competitions):

Team News

Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice on January 20, 2024© Reuters

All six of Nottingham Forest's Africa Cup of Nations representatives will be involved in the knockout stages of the competition, meaning Ola Aina, Cheikhou Kouyate, Willy Boly, Serge Aurier, Ibrahim Sangare and Moussa Niakhate will all be missing for the visit of Arsenal.

In addition, left-back Nuno Tavares - who has begun to reignite his career under Santo - cannot face his parent club, while Felipe (hamstring), Taiwo Awoniyi (groin), Anthony Elanga (thigh) and Divock Origi (groin) all sat out Friday's FA Cup tie too.

Origi is the only member of the quartet not to have rejoined training, though, while Morgan Gibbs-White is in line for a recall to the first XI after being restricted to a second-half cameo as Ashton Gate.

Arsenal's international pairing of Mohamed Elneny and Takehiro Tomiyasu are also still competing for glory with their countries, while Jurrien Timber (ACL) and Fabio Vieira (groin) will not be back anytime soon either.

The sight that no Gooner wanted to see, Declan Rice trudged off with an apparent thigh concern during last weekend's crushing of Palace, and while Arteta played down his concern as "tiredness", he was not pictured in Arsenal's last batch of training images, raising fears about his availability for Tuesday.

Gabriel Magalhaes (ankle) was also missing from the London Colney pitches last week after being forced off in the derby, while Thomas Partey - who was snubbed by Ghana for the AFCON due to his severe thigh injury - is back in full training but is not fit enough for game time yet.

Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Turner; Montiel, Omobamidele, Murillo, Toffolo; Mangala, Yates; Gibbs-White, Danilo, Hudson-Odoi; Wood

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Rice, Havertz; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli

SM words green background

We say: Nottingham Forest 0-2 Arsenal

Question marks hanging over the heads of Rice and Gabriel - two of Arsenal's most influential performers in both boxes - hardly makes for ideal preparation for the Gunners, whose recent trips to the City Ground have proven unfruitful.

However, Forest's wealth of absentees may have finally caught up to them against Bristol City, and they could prove easy pickings for a re-energised Arsenal team, who have their attacking confidende back and should enjoy at least 24 hours in second place.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Nottingham Forest's Anthony Elanga celebrates scoring their first goal with Morgan Gibbs-White on November 25, 2023
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Tables header RHS
1Manchester CityMan City32227376324473
4Aston Villa33196868491963
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs32186865491660
6Newcastle UnitedNewcastle321551269521750
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd32155124748-150
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham33139115258-648
10Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton321111105250244
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves32127134651-543
14Crystal Palace3289153754-1733
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3379174258-1626
18Luton TownLuton3367204670-2425
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd3237223084-5416

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