Steve Cooper’s bottom-placed Nottingham Forest side will welcome Crystal Palace to City Ground on Saturday evening, hoping to climb out of the Premier League relegation zone.
After netting a 96th-minute equaliser to snatch a 2-2 draw at home against Brentford in the Premier League last weekend, Forest pulled off an impressive Carabao Cup upset with a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the third round on Wednesday night.
The Tricky Trees fought valiantly against Antonio Conte’s toothless Spurs side, and second-half goals from Renan Lodi and Jesse Lingard within a seven-minute interval was enough to send the Lilywhites packing.
Forest have now extended their unbeaten run on home soil to four matches across all competition, but they have won just one of their last 12 league fixtures this season (D4, L7).
With one last fixture in front of their supporters this weekend before the World Cup break, Cooper will be hoping that his side can climb off the foot of the table with a positive result against Palace.
Unlike Forest, Palace were eliminated from the Carabao Cup by Newcastle United on Wednesday night, but they managed to drag the Magpies to a thrilling penalty shootout.
Patrick Vieira would not have been happy with his side’s all-round performance against the in-form Newcastle, but he will be proud of their defensive resilience.
Goalkeepers from both sides were the centre of attention in the nervy shootout, but it was Nick Pope who stole the spotlight, making two saves to ensure Newcastle went through and Palace were sent packing from the third round for a fourth successive season.
Vieira’s side had put together a decent run of form before their defeat to Newcastle, winning four of their previous six games in the league (D1).
Their 2-1 victory away at West Ham United last weekend, thanks to Michael Olise’s dramatic 94th-minute winner, moved them up to 10th in the table, level on points with Liverpool in eighth place and five points above the bottom three.
The Eagles will be eager for another league win to boost their morale and consolidate their spot in the top half of the table going into the international break.
The Tricky Trees are just one win behind Bournemouth in 17th place, and if they can continue their stellar record against Palace, they could climb out of the drop zone for the first time since early September.
They have suffered defeat in only one of their last nine meetings with Palace (D3, W5). They have never lost to Palace in the English top flight (W2, D2), though this is the first such meeting since a 2-1 away win in April 1995.
Forest have conceded a total of 30 goals in 14 league games this season, with only Bournemouth letting in more so far (32). However, clean sheets at home against Liverpool and Spurs will give Cooper’s side confidence heading into Saturday’s contest.
Palace do not have the best record against Forest, but their record against newly promoted teams should give them an edge heading into this tie.
They are unbeaten in their last eight league games against promoted sides (W4, D4) since a 2-0 defeat at Leeds United back in February 2021.
Palace have won three of their last four league games (L1), as many as they had in their previous 12. The Eagles are looking to win three consecutive league games for the first time since a run of four between February and June 2020.
Indeed, the three points secured at the London Stadium ended an appalling eight-game winless away run in the top flight, and victory over Forest could see the Eagles rise to as high as sixth place if other results were to go their way.
Palace have won more points from losing positions than any other side in the league this season (12), while only Leicester (14) have dropped more points from winning positions than Nottingham Forest (12) so far.
Nottingham Forest vs Crystal Palace Predicted Line-ups
Nottingham Forest (4-3-1-2): Dean Henderson; Serge Aurier, Joe Worrall, Willy Boly, Renan Lodi; Remo Freuler, Lewis O’Brien, Ryan Yates; Jesse Lingard; Taiwo Awoniyi, Morgan Gibbs-White.
Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Vincente Guaita; Joel Ward, Joachim Andersen, Marc Guehi, Tyrick Mitchell; Jeffrey Schlupp, Cheick Doucoure, Eberechi Eze; Jordan Ayew, Wilfried Zaha, Michael Olise.
How to Watch?
Nottingham Forest vs Crystal Palace Prediction
A closely-fought contest is set to be played out on Saturday between two teams who will fancy their chances of claiming maximum points.
However, while Forest are slowly becoming a team that is hard to break down, we expect Palace to overcome the Tricky Trees.
Nottingham Forest 1-2 Crystal Palace
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