Nottingham Forest vs Everton – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Sunday 5th March 2023
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we take a look at Everton’s visit to Nottingham. Forest are a good side at home, and Everton can’t buy an away win. Home win? Read on with our Nottingham Forest vs Everton prediction.
Nottingham Forest vs Everton Match Preview
Forest had improved their form, winning three of four games, including tight victories against fellow relegation candidates Leeds and Southampton. However, the last three games have been disappointing for the East Midlands club. Indeed, a 2-0 defeat away at Fulham and 4-0 battering last time out in London against West Ham came either side of a 1-1 draw against Man City at home. True, the draw with City at home was fortunate, but this three-game run highlights their contrasting fortunes home and away.
Indeed, Forest sit bottom of the away table with a dreadful six points. They’ve only won one game away from home all season and have a goal difference of minus 26 on the road (scoring only three all season). In contrast, they have gained a respectable 19 points at the City Ground, and there they have a positive goal difference. They are also undefeated in the last eight games at home. Therefore, it is abundantly clear that Forest must continue to maintain their home form (and improve their away record) to stay in the division. This home game against fellow strugglers is a must-win.
Everton travel south in desperate form. Indeed, the Merseysiders have only won two games while losing seven since the World Cup. They sit second-bottom in the form table over this period, with only Bournemouth below them. They also come into the game after a 4-0 hammering at the Emirates. Truthfully, they never really threatened Arsenal. So far, new coach Sean Dyche only has six points from fifteen, and they have scored two and conceded eight under his stewardship.
Five of Everton’s last six games have seen fewer than three goals scored, so this could be a cagey encounter. Everton have been pretty poor at Goodison and on their travels, but away from home, they only have seven points – one more than Forest. Like Forest, they have won one game away all season. Therefore, it is apparent that home advantage in this game is crucial, and Forest possess it. With Everton sitting in the relegation zone, the drop is a genuine possibility for the Toffees.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Lodi, Niakhate, Yates
Will Not Play: Henderson, McKenna, Aurier, Awoniyi, Bianconi, Boli, Kouyate, Richards
Might Not Play: Garner, Calvert-Lewin
Will Not Play: Patterson, Townsend
Nottingham Forest vs Everton Lineups (Predicted)
Nottingham Forest (4-3-2-1 / 4-3-3): Navas; Lodi, Felipe, Worrall, Williams; Shelvey, Colback, Freuler; Gibbs-White, Johnson; Wood
Everton (4-5-1): Pickford; Mykolenko, Tarkowski, Coady, Coleman; McNeil, Onana, Gueye, Doucoure, Iwobi; Maupay
Nottingham Forest vs Everton Analysis
The midfield contest will likely be scrappy and feisty in this game. Both teams are low in possession stats, with Everton averaging 45 per cent and Forest 40 per cent this season. Forest are also rock-bottom of the completed passes tables, with only 6,705. Everton have slightly over 1,500 more passes, though they have played a game extra. Truthfully, this disparity is not significant over a 20-odd game run. The thing to take from these stats is that neither team generally controls games or builds possession well. They are usually counter-attacking teams who let the other team come onto them.
This scenario makes sense in Forest’s case. While the Nottingham club have made many signings since being promoted in the summer, they have yet to buy players who are particularly good at being the metronome in midfield. If they play, Shelvey, Freuler, Colback, or Yates are all solid pros – mid to lower-table-level hard workers who will give energy and effort. However, they don’t dominate the opposition. The situation might be different here, as Everton don’t take care of the ball well, either. The game will likely be a battle; both teams may sit off sometimes. We anticipate neither team being able to build cohesive control. Whichever team presses better and takes more initiative could be vital.
Attacking Prospects for Each Side?
Given what we say above about how neither team controls games, the pattern will probably be one of relatively even possession stats, although favouring Forest. So how can both teams attack in these circumstances? Well, Forest must use the pace and trickery of Johnson and Gibbs-White out wide and in the pockets behind Wood. As stated, Forest’s midfield is pragmatic rather than progressive, and their limited creativity comes from these two and the full-backs.
The attackers will look for spaces on the flanks or to come inside to receive balls up the channels. Forest rank highly for aerial duels and attempted long balls; they often clip balls to Wood or into the channels and let Johnson and Gibbs-White play around him. Forest are a counter-attacking team, like many in the lower reaches of the Premier League. They will hope to catch Everton off guard by pouncing on them and springing into transitions on the occasions Everton have the ball.
Everton’s main problem is obvious; they need to score more goals. As the lowest scorers in the division (17), they can sometimes be accused of playing too negatively. While plenty of teams in the league concede possession, some make better use of the ball they do have than Everton often do. With only six goals scored away from home this season, their prospects of registering in this game are not brilliant.
With Calvert-Lewin touch and go, Everton still lack goal threat. McNeil and Iwobi do what they can, but Dyche has them playing as defensive wingers as part of a midfield five rather than being more attacking. There is simply no creativity in a mediocre squad, and the loss of Gordon to Newcastle has removed any small invention they did have. Gray straddling the bench every week is a sign of Dyche’s negativity for us – Gray is probably the most unpredictable player Everton have. He could create something from nothing, but he is not diligent enough defensively, so Dyche doesn’t trust him. If Everton aren’t more positive in this game, we cannot see them hurting Forest. Their best avenue may be set pieces.
This match is challenging to call. Home advantage is vital here, as both teams have been awful on the road. Forest have been quite good at home, so it stands to reason that the game being hosted in Nottingham plays into their hands. Everton have been poor all season and have been a negative, cautious team. Being the league’s lowest scorers is not coincidence or bad fortune – they have little threat in attack and no reliable goalscorers with Calvert-Lewin’s injury problems.
We have already said that Forest will likely take the game to Everton on home soil, as they know this is one of their gentler fixtures left (on paper). We anticipate a scrappy game where both teams struggle to maintain possession. Both prefer conceding the ball and hitting on the break. We think Everton will be defensive in this game and look to score a smash-and-grab winner from few chances – Dyche is a defence-first manager. With Forest’s home record and Everton’s lack of goalscoring impetus, we don’t foresee a classic. Having scored one goal in four of their last five home matches, and only conceding two in these five, Forest might narrowly get the win.
Nottingham Forest 1-0 Everton
Nottingham Forest vs Everton Betting Tip – Nottingham Forest Odds:
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