Nottingham Forest vs Man Utd – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Sunday 16th April 2023
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we take a look at Manchester United’s trip to Nottingham. United’s away record has let them down this season – can they pick up a valuable way win? Read on with our Nottingham Forest vs Man Utd prediction.
Nottingham Forest vs Man Utd Match Preview
Nottingham Forest come into this match on the back of a troubling run of form which has seen the East Midland side pick up a paltry three points from their last nine Premier League outings; a run which has undone all of the good work they had done following the World Cup restart. Curiously, they do remain difficult to beat at home. Last time out, they were well beaten against an Aston Villa side who were below-par by their own recent lofty standards, but came out and scored the opening goal within three minutes of the restart and finally wrapped things up in injury time through in-form striker Ollie Watkins.
As the league’s second-worst side over the last 10 matches, with just six points during that period, Forest now have it all to do. While they are level on points with 17th-placed Everton with a game in hand, they do have an inferior goal difference to the tune of -8. They face four tough fixtures in a row, including this one, away to Liverpool, at home to Brighton and away to Brentford. Southampton, Chelsea, Arsenal and Crystal Palace will close out the season for Cooper’s men, and they will probably have to get a result or two in games they’re not expected to in order to survive this season.
Man Utd have managed to steady the ship so to speak following their mini-crisis against Liverpool, Southampton and Newcastle. Six points from the Brentford and Everton home matches have boosted their chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League – particularly as Tottenham failed to get anything at home to Bournemouth and the Red Devils now have a three-point cushion and two games in hand over the North London club. Last time out, they were able to put together a much-improved performance, albeit against an Everton side who were too adventurous and too eager to get at United’s injury-depleted midfield.
While there is admittedly still plenty of football to be played in the Premier League this season, United are looking assured in their quest for Champions League football. As we stated some weeks ago, talk of a title challenge was rather premature and their third/fourth-place battle with Newcastle United is a fair reflection of where the club are at. United have a fairly kind run-in for their final four matches (to be determined – their match against Chelsea will be rescheduled), but first they need to come through a difficult three-game patch against Spurs at home, high-flying Aston Villa way and Brighton at home.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Aurier, Lodi, Gustavo Scarpa, Yates
Will Not Play: Biancone, Boly, Henderson, Kouyate, Niakhate, Richards, Wood
Might Not Play: McTominay, Shaw
Will Not Play: Garnacho, Heaton, Martinez, Rashford, Varane, Van de Beek
Nottingham Forest vs Man Utd (Predicted)
Nottingham Forest (4-3-3): Navas; Toffolo, Worrall, Felipe, Williams; Danilo, Shelvey, Freuler; Gibbs-White, Johnson, Awoniyi
Man Utd (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Malacia, Varane, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka; Casemiro, Eriksen; Sancho, Fernandes, Antony; Martial
Nottingham Forest vs Man Utd Analysis
Nottingham Forest are (Still) a Different Team at Home
Yes, their overall form is terrible – three points from nine matches is hardly conducive to talking this team up – but despite that shocking run of form, only one of those defeats has come at home and that was a narrow defeat to Newcastle United (2-1). They’ve earned home draws against Manchester City, Everton and Wolves during that period, and it would hardly be the shock of the season if they managed to do the same against a Manchester United side that is still not yet the finished article and is prone to poor passages of play and costly defensive mistakes.
No doubt Forest will be acutely aware of United missing both Luke Shaw and Lisandro Martinez in defence and will look to exploit their absences. We don’t want to target Harry Maguire here – in fact, the much-maligned big man has been in good form of late, but the fact remains that he is vulnerable on the turn and Forest will look to attack directly and with purpose into space at every opportunity. They are much more aggressive at home in doing so – in fact, their relegation issues mostly stem from the fact that they have been unable to replicate this compact-defensive, explosive-counter style of play away from the City Ground.
This Manchester United team, particularly without the reassuring presences of Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw in defence have a mistake in them – they demonstrated that in midweek against Sevilla as they contrived to throw away a two-goal lead against a side that has frankly been a shadow of their former selves in this campaign. There’s little doubt that Forest will cause some problems on the break and it is incumbent upon United to ensure that Maguire in particular isn’t tasked with defending facing his own goal.
Which Manchester United Will Turn Up?
Will it be the Manchester United who started ever so brightly against Sevilla and looked as though they would run riot? The United who did the same to Everton for much of their recent encounter and Brentford for the first half of their match at Old Trafford? Or will it be the Manchester United who were fortunate to close the game out against Brentford and played an increasingly passive game against Sevilla until they were eventually undone by defensive lapses? The trouble is, nobody really knows. Consistency is the holy grail in football and the mark of a top side. It separates the top sides from the good sides, and United will be aware they have work to do here.
They could conceivably show up, play Forest off the park and find themselves 2-0 up after half an hour. Equally, it also wouldn’t be surprising if they failed to get going, with Forest finding themselves able to depend compactly and limiting the away side to half chances. Forest have generally been very good at this for a relegation-threatened side, and the likes of Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea have all come unstuck at the City Ground.
United will be missing Rashford’s ability to attack directly and instead will need to rely on movement and interplay between the likes of Fernandes, Antony, Sancho and Martial. Christian Eriksen may start today and will be a welcome addition as they look to break down a stubborn Forest rearguard.
Four teams have won at the City Ground all season long; Man City and Liverpool aren’t among them. However, given Nottingham Forest’s recent poor form overall, and taking into account that they were incredibly fortunate against Manchester City and even fortunate against a struggling Everton side, we feel the visitors can become the fifth side to win here.
We expect that they certainly won’t have it all their own way though. There is a worrying complacency at times within matches lately and moments of poor concentration threatened to cost them against Brentford and eventually did in a poor second-half display against a relatively mediocre Sevilla team. Therefore, we’ll back the home side to score, to make the game competitive, but ultimately lose a close encounter.
Nottingham Forest 1-2 Man Utd
Nottingham Forest vs Man Utd Betting Tip – Man Utd Odds:
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