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Preview: Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest – prediction, team news, line-ups

Manchester United and Nottingham Forest renew hostilities at Old Trafford in a clash between the sides that have experienced identical fortunes in the opening two Premier League rounds. 

It’s been a tough week for Erik ten Hag’s team. 

Days after Tottenham Hotspur thumped them 2-0 in London, the Red Devils announced they would cut ties with Mason Greenwood following a year-and-a-half hiatus from football. 

United cannot afford to let off-field distractions carry them away if they’re to build on a 1-0 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on the opening weekend. 

Ten Hag must steady the ship to avoid losing ground on Arsenal and Manchester City from the get-go and prove us right for backing his side for a runner-up finish in our Man United season preview.

Old Trafford provides the perfect atmosphere for a fresh start. 

Forest would be forgiven for expecting nothing from this trip after losing both competitive visits to the Theatre of Dreams last season via multi-goal margins and without scoring. 

Despite making around 30 new signings since securing top-flight promotion last summer, we couldn’t back the Tricky Trees for survival in our Nottingham Forest season preview.

Steve Cooper’s side produced a spirited performance on their round-one trip to Arsenal yet finished on the receiving end of a 2-1 scoreline, with Taiwo Awoniyi scoring a consolation goal.

While the 26-year-old’s strike wasn’t enough for points on the opening weekend, his deadlock-breaker set the tone for a 2-1 home triumph over newly-promoted Sheffield United last week.

Match Preview

Man United can rely on the Old Trafford faithful to carry them through tumultuous times, going unbeaten in their last 30 competitive outings on home turf (W26, D4).

Their outrageous home run started after a 1-0 Europa League loss to Real Sociedad in September 2022 and currently features a seven-game winning streak in the Premier League.

Forest’s visit on Saturday promises to help the Red Devils stay the course, as they’ve won their last six competitive encounters against the Tricky Trees at the Theatre of Dreams by an aggregate score of 19-2.

With Raphael Varane remaining United’s only goalscorer in the Premier League this term, this looks like a presentable opportunity for Ten Hag’s attackers to get off the mark.

Forest may be venturing north in a confident mood after toppling Sheffield, but they would be wise to keep their feet firmly on the ground if they’re to stand a chance in Manchester.

Cooper’s side were the worst travelling crew in the Premier League last season, finishing the campaign as one of only two sides to have failed to hit double digits on the road (W1, D5, L13). 

The Tricky Trees lost all four competitive encounters against Man United in 2022/23 by a combined score of 10-0, conceding multiple goals in each defeat.

But the fact they’ve found the net on their last five top-flight travels can inspire some confidence in the Forest camp as they look to trouble the scoreboard against United for the first time in the 21st century.

Team News

Marquee summer arrival Rasmus Hojlund is still unavailable for selection. Amad Diallo, Tom Heaton and Tyrell Malacia are still out, with Mason Mount joining them on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

Forest will take this trip without Felipe, Omar Richards and Wayne Hennessey, while Sevilla loanee Gonzalo Montiel faces a race against time to make his Premier League debut.

Manchester United potential starting line-up: 

(4-2-3-1): David de Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw; Casemiro, Christian Eriksen; Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho; Marcus Rashford.

Nottingham Forest potential starting line-up: 

(3-4-3): Mattu Turner; Joe Worrall, Willy Boly, Scott McKenna; Serge Aurier, Danilo, Orel Mangala, Neco Williams; Brennan Johnson, Morgan Gibbs-White, Taiwo Awoniyi. 

We Say: Manchester United 1-0 Nottingham Forest 

Despite the odds, we don’t expect Man United to steamroll to a victory here, especially given their massive problems in front of goal. 

But one goal could make the difference, and Ten Hag’s side should grab it.

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