Injury-plagued Nottingham Forest entertain high-flying Premier League champions Manchester City at the City Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Forest became the first club in Premier League history to sub off starting players inside the opening ten minutes against Fulham last time out, as Willy Boly and Scott McKenna picked up injuries.
It’s then a little wonder Steve Cooper’s team slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Craven Cottage, ending an impressive five-game unbeaten run in the top-flight (W2, D3).
On a more positive note, Forest’s decent form since the league’s resumption on Boxing Day has helped them create a six-point buffer from the relegation zone, alleviating some of the pressure ahead of this clash.
But the Tricky Trees will need all encouragement they can get if they’re to upset the odds and post their first home league victory over a side starting the matchday in the top-eight this term (D1, L2).
Cooper’s side may have to wait for a better opportunity to buck that trend, with visiting Man City coming into this round fresh from leapfrogging Arsenal at the summit.
Pep Guardiola’s charges followed up a last weekend’s 3-1 home demolition of Aston Villa with a 3-1 triumph at the Emirates Stadium in midweek Premier League action to seize the top place.
Although Mikel Arteta’s men still have a game in hand, the Cityzens seem to be building a head of steam going into a crunch period of the season, and it’s hard to expect a bottom-half side to knock them off their perch.
Forest have gone unbeaten in seven consecutive Premier League outings at the City Ground since a 3-2 defeat to Fulham in mid-September (W4, D3), so City would be silly to write them off as of yet.
Inspired by their longest undefeated home run in the top flight since 1996, the Tricky Trees are allowed to dream big, though their optimism could be short-lived.
Forest have been on the receiving end of a 29-3 aggregate scoreline across their last seven Premier League encounters against reigning champions (L7), including a 6-0 loss in the reverse fixture.
After snapping a two-game losing Premier League streak on the road at Arsenal, Man City are in a prime position to land their first league double over Forest since 1990/91.
Adding to this sentiment, the Cityzens have won nine Premier League matches against newly-promoted clubs in succession since a 2-1 loss to Leeds United in August 2021.
Although they’re heavily fancied to take home three points, a clean sheet may not necessarily be on the cards, with only one of Man City’s last five top-flight travels yielding a shutout.
Nottingham Forest vs Manchester City Potential Line-ups
Nottingham Forest (4-3-1-2): Keylor Navas; Serge Aurier, Joe Worrall, Felipe, Renan Lodi; Danilo, Remo Freuler, Jonjo Shelvey; Morgan Gibbs-White; Brennan Johnson, Chris Wood.
Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake; Rodri, Bernardo Silva De Bruyne; Riyad Mahrez, Jack Grealish, Erling Haaland.
How to Watch?
Nottingham Forest vs Manchester City, alongside all other fixtures in England’s top flight, is available to watch online via live Premier League streams.
Nottingham Forest vs Manchester City Prediction
Forest’s growing injury woes could offer Man City’s free-scoring talisman Erling Haaland a chance to score another Premier League hat-trick, as was the case in the reverse fixture at the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola’s men have run riot in the past seven days, netting six goals in two matches and we expect another rampant attacking display for the reigning champions.
Nottingham Forest 1-3 Manchester City
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