Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal – Analysis, Prediction, Team News

Saturday 20th May 2023
17:30 GMT
City Ground

As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we examine Arsenal’s visit to Nottingham. Arsenal need to win and hope – Forest aren’t safe from relegation just yet. Free betting tips and more with our Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal prediction.

Nottingham Forest


2-2 (A)


4-3 (H)


2-1 (A)


3-1 (H)


3-2 (A)



3-0 (H)


2-0 (A)


3-1 (H)

Man City

4-1 (A)


3-3 (H)

Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal Preview

It’s fair to say that Nottingham Forest are a Jekyll and Hyde team. At home, Forest have gained 27 points in their 18 games this season and won the previous two (though they only picked up two points from 15 at home before that). However, they have only won a miserly seven points away and won only once on their travels in 2023 (compared to losing only three times at the City Ground this year).

At home, the victories against Brighton and in the relegation six-pointer last weekend against Southampton have been very timely and much-needed. Indeed, the 4-3 thriller that consigned Southampton to relegation was entertaining. The match swung both ways, with both sides having spells on top. However, Gibbs-White and Awoniyi’s performances (the latter getting two goals, one a beautiful turn and volley) paved the way for the victory.

Forest now have some breathing space between themselves and Leeds in 18th. Three points separate the teams. Furthermore, after Leicester’s defeat by Liverpool on Monday night, it looks increasingly likely that Forest will be spared relegation. However, with 34 points, they are not yet mathematically safe. They must try to win this final home game of the season before they face Crystal Palace in the last week.

Arsenal make the trip to the Midlands with deep regrets. The Gunners have generally had an excellent season, making a title challenge that nobody expected. However, two wins in the last seven (allied to a long winning run from title rivals Man City) have effectively ended their hopes of being English champions for the first time since 2004. City only need to win one of their last three, and if Arsenal lose this game, City will be champions for the third year running without kicking a ball.

The latest game to dampen the Gunners’ spirits was the home match against Brighton last Sunday. Brighton had 60 per cent possession and were all over Arsenal. The London side did not perform and struggled to cope with Estupinan down the left-hand side. His and Enciso’s goals and Undav’s beautiful chip constituted three second-half strikes that sickened Arsenal. However, Arsenal have been good away – with 39 points from 18 games – and will hope to win this and then defeat Wolves in the last match at the Emirates.

Arsenal won the reverse fixture 5-0, but Forest will likely prove more difficult at their own stadium.

Team News

Injuries and Suspensions

Nottingham Forest:

Might Not Play: Colback, Dennis, Scarpa

Will Not Play: Henderson, Biancone, McKenna, Williams, Richards, Shelvey, Wood


Might Not Play: Zinchenko

Will Not Play: Saliba, Tomiyasu, Martinelli, Elneny

Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal Lineups (Predicted)

Nottingham Forest (3-4-2-1 / 3-4-3): Navas; Felipe, Niakhate, Worrall; Lodi, Mangala, Yates, Aurier; Gibbs-White, Johnson; Awoniyi

Arsenal (4-3-3): Ramsdale; Tierney, Gabriel, Kiwior, White; Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard; Trossard, Jesus, Saka

Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal Lineup
Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest Lineup

Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal Analysis

Arsenal Will Likely Dominate The Ball

Arsenal tend to keep the ball in most games, being good at retaining possession but also maintaining a direct threat in transitional situations. Hence, we expect them to go to Nottingham and try to dominate the game and make Forest play on the counter.

The pressure is on Arsenal to at least make City work for the title against Chelsea on Sunday. Arsenal will likely play combination and pressing football in midfield. After Jorginho struggled against the zippy Brighton side last weekend, Partey might be reintroduced in midfield. He has athleticism and power that Jorginho doesn’t have, and he and Xhaka must work hard in the middle of the park.

Martinelli’s injury is a blow, so we expect Trossard to come in on the left. His combination with Tierney up that side could be crucial in getting behind Aurier and delivering crosses and cutbacks. Trossard will also come inside to shoot. The same is true of Saka on the right – the Englishman has gone off the boil recently, but he remains a danger with his wand of a left foot – his close control, dribbling and ability to shoot against Navas will be vital. As always, Jesus is an excellent linking player and will look to dribble, pass and get shows away in the final third.

Defensively, Kiwior, Gabriel and the full-backs must always be switched on. Arsenal might lose the ball in attacking or midfield positions. In that case, the ball will likely be progressed forward by Forest at speed while Arsenal’s players are out of position. This situation is where the previously mentioned Partey is helpful. However, the centre-backs must be prepared to defend one-on-one, and Ramsdale must act as a sweeper-keeper.

Forest Will Probably Play A Counter-Attacking Game

Forest are night and day, generally being much better at home than away. However, in this game against the team likely to finish second, they will be under the cosh for significant periods. They must be solid defensively, with the back three being close to the midfielders and compressing the space where Arsenal play. Odegaard is a very talented playmaker for Arsenal; Forest must beware of his movement and ability to find space and provide incisive passes. If they don’t, Forest could be in for a long evening.

If Forest can win the ball in defensive positions or midfield, they do have some tools to hurt Arsenal going forward. Johnson’s pace and dribbling in the channel are always a threat that can lead to goals. Of course, Gibbs-White is Forest’s star performer, and he has been very creative recently, accumulating assists. His ability to drive through the heart of the Arsenal midfield and play dangerous little passes into Johnson and Awoniyi up front will be vital. Speaking of Awoniyi, he too has been in form, and his finishing and hold-up play must be on point if Forest are to get something.

Generally, it will be crucial that the back five and central midfielders get blocks and interceptions in and try to press Arsenal and prevent the Gunners from hurting them. Navas will likely have to perform well in goal. Gibbs-White’s set pieces might also be an area that Forest target to damage Arsenal.

Our Prediction

Earlier in the season, when Arsenal were flying, this game might have been easier to predict. At that time, Arsenal would have been travelling north with momentum and much confidence. However, recent results from a previous commanding position have virtually handed the title to Man City. Arsenal might show up at the City Ground bereft of self-belief and feeling sorry for themselves, especially after the Brighton debacle.

Forest have put a little daylight between themselves, Everton, Leeds and Leicester, and they’ll be determined to perform well in their last home game of the season. A win will almost guarantee safety, and we expect them to be niggling Arsenal from the start. They’ll target set pieces and the counter, and with both sides being porous defensively, we will predict a high-scoring draw (perhaps a slight upset).

Nottingham Forest 2-2 Arsenal

Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal Betting Tip – Draw Odds:


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