Nottingham Forest vs Chelsea Prediction
Sunday 1st January 2023
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Nottingham Forest vs Chelsea Prediction Match Overview
The second Premier League match of New Year’s Day features Nottingham Forest and Chelsea at the City ground. Despite a recent uptick in form, Forest find themselves firmly in a relegation battle with almost half the season played. Last time out, they suffered a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United, with manager Steven Cooper disappointed with his side’s efforts. Though they created a couple of decent chances and had a goal ruled out for offside, the Reds will be hoping for a more coherent performance this time around on home soil.
Chelsea for their part managed to halt an alarming run of form by defeating another newly-promoted side in Bournemouth by a 2-0 scoreline. It could be said that a relatively kind set of fixtures has cropped up at a fortuitous time for new manager Graham Potter, as prior to the break for the World Cup Chelsea had suffered three league defeats in a row including a 4-1 dismantling at the hands of Brighton. Chelsea will be anxious to ensure they make it 6 points from 6 as their next Premier League fixture is at home to reigning champions Manchester City. While it’s still relatively early in the season, Chelsea find themselves 8 points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester United, albeit with a game in hand. It’s vitally important for Chelsea to win this fixture to stay in touch in the race for Champions League football.
Nottingham Forest vs Chelsea Team News
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Gibbs-White, Lingard (Nottingham Forest); Chilwell, Loftus-Cheek, Mendy (Chelsea)
Will Not Play: Biancone, Kouyate, Niakhate, Richards (Nottingham Forest); Broja, Fofana, James, Kante (Chelsea)
Nottingham Forest (4-3-3): Henderson; Lodi, Boly, Worrall, Aurier; Mangala, Freuler, Yates; Gibbs-White, Johnson, Awoniyi
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Kepa; Cucarella, Silva, Koulibaly, Azpilicueta; Zakaria, Jorginho; Pulisic, Mount, Sterling; Havertz
Nottingham Forest vs Chelsea Prediction Analysis
Forest Must Play on the Front Foot More
We touched upon this in our preview for their last outing at Old Trafford – Forest are a much more effective team when they press from the front and attempt to win the ball back high up the pitch. That energy and willingness to put the United back line under pressure was largely absent during that 3-0 defeat, and United were able to get the likes of Eriksen, Casemiro and Fernandes on the ball with alarming regularity. The contrast between their performance against Liverpool and their performance against United was stark, and it started with their failure to press their opponents in a coordinated manner, with everything falling apart from there.
It’s perhaps instructive that Forest have taken eight points from their previous four home matches precisely because they were nowhere near as meek as they were at Old Trafford. In fact, against Brentford they were the better team, recording seven shots on target to Brentford’s two. They restricted Crystal Palace to zero shots on target, they equalled Liverpool’s seven efforts and bettered Aston Villa’s by three to two. None of this was achieved by playing the passive, low-block football that saw them brushed aside last time out. We’re sure we’ll see a different Nottingham Forest side out there from that perspective.
Beating the Forest Press
With Forest having caused problems for teams with their pressing game at home, and Chelsea appearing vulnerable to the high press in recent games, it’s important for Chelsea to bypass the likes of Awoniyi, Johnson and Gibbs-White and get the ball quickly to the likes of Jorginho and their full-backs higher up the pitch. Excessive passing of the ball around the back line to control possession allows Forest to not only retain their shape defensively, but provides Forest with inviting targets for press-triggers. We think this more direct approach will come in the form of switching the play or clipped balls into the midfield area as opposed to an outdated long-ball strategy as Chelsea don’t play with a target-man.
It’s also possible that Chelsea can enlist the help of defensive midfielder Jorginho at times when it comes to beating Forest’s press, if he slots in between the central defenders to offer himself as a possession outlet. Notably, Manchester United’s Christian Eriksen, a player not normally noted for playing quite so deep, was spotted on several occasions helping his defenders to play the ball out from the back safely by providing another option in possession. Jorginho possesses a similar ability to read the game and coordinate his team’s possessions, and we feel he will be instrumental in any success Chelsea may have in this game.
Beat the Bookmaker Nottingham Forest vs Chelsea Prediction
Nottingham Forest are a far better team at home than they are away from home – not just in the results they achieve, but their performances are superior. They’re almost unrecognisible from their away incarnations so far this season. For this reason, we’re predicting that Forest will push Chelsea hard in this one, and make life very difficult for them at times – particularly when it comes to Chelsea playing the ball out from the back. Forest will press aggressively from the first whistle and this is where they are clearly best as a team. Chelsea will be buoyed by their 2-0 victory over Bournemouth, specifically the manner in which that lead was built as they raced out of the blocks, but they will find that more difficult here. We still think Chelsea will win the game, but Potter’s team are very much a work in progress.
Nottingham Forest 1-2 Chelsea
Beat the Bookmaker Nottingham Forest vs Chelsea Prediction – Both Teams to Score Odds:
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