Southampton vs Nottingham Forest Prediction

Wednesday 4th January 2023
19:30 GMT
St Mary’s Stadium

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2-1 (A)


3-1 (H)


3-1 (A)

Newcastle United

4-1 (H)

Crystal Palace

1-0 (A)

Nottingham Forest


1-1 (H)

Manchester United

3-0 (A)

Crystal Palace

1-0 (H)


2-2 (H)


5-0 (A)

Southampton vs Nottingham Forest Prediction Match Overview


In the Premier League’s first round of fixtures in 2023, bottom club Southampton host 18th-placed Nottingham Forest in what may already be described as a relegation six-pointer. Both teams have won just three of their opening 17 matches and as a result, you have to feel that both sides view this game as a massive opportunity to obtain a valuable three points. Although it is still early in the season, Southampton’s situation can only be categorised as dire. With 5 points taken from their last 10 matches and coming in off the back of 5 straight defeats, it’s fair to say that St Mary’s has seen happier times in recent years. While Southampton managed a 15th placed finish last season, the form table for the last 20 games of last season has Southampton in 18th position, taking just 20 points from those 20 matches and conceding 39 goals during that period. Therefore, we can say that this isn’t merely a blip in form for the south coast side. A win here could lift the mood somewhat around new manager Nathan Jones and his team. Another defeat, this time against fellow strugglers, would deepen the malaise at the club.

Nottingham Forest have been something of a Jekyll and Hyde side. Their performances at home have been in strong contrast to those away from the City Ground, and this proved to be the case yet again last time out as they earned a 1-1 draw against Chelsea. We have deliberately gone against using the word ‘held’ here, as despite their 28% share of possession Forest had 5 shots on target to Chelsea’s two and defended expertly at times to restrict Potter’s men to half chances for most of the game. It’s therefore something of a surprise that Forest have been so abject away from home. You’d think they would have been able to use their opponents’ increased ambitions at home against them with their high-intensity, counter-attacking style but most of their away performances have brought defeats in which they’ve never really looked like getting into their games. The contrast between their defeat at Old Trafford against Manchester United and their 1-1 draw against Chelsea was stark, and Forest will be looking to make amends for that disparity starting today.

Southampton vs Nottingham Forest Team News

Injuries and Suspensions


Might Not Play: McCarthy

Will Not Play: Larios, Livramento, Walcott

Nottingham Forest:

Might Not Play:

Will Not Play: Biancone, Kouyate, Lingard, Niakhate, Richards

Possible Lineups

Southampton (3-4-2-1): Bazunu; Lyanco, Salisu, Bella-Kotchap; Perraud, Ward-Prowse, Elyounoussi, Maitland-Niles; Aribo, S. Armstrong; Adams

Nottingham Forest (4-3-3): Henderson; Lodi, Worrall, Boly, Aurier; Mangala, Freuler, Yates; Johnson, Gibbs-White, Awoniyi

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Southampton vs Nottingham Forest Prediction Analysis

Forest Must Bring Their Home Form

While we appreciate the effect that home advantage has on football results for all kinds of reasons – the support of the crowd, familiarity with the pitch, the home dressing room etc., the difference between Forest’s home and away form surely points to something else – a lack of aggression and application of their high-intensity pressing game away from home. As we’ve stated previously, the lack of pressure applied in their last away game against Manchester United was symbolic of their away form this season. If they perform in the same manner in Southampton, there’s no reason to suggest that they’ll achieve a better result. Allowing Southampton to play out from the back unchallenged, and failing to aggressively press their flying fullbacks will only result in the home side gaining confidence throughout proceedings and putting Forest on the back foot.

There seems to be a misconception when it comes to analysing team tactics that a lack of possession indicates a passive approach and that this somehow makes a team inferior. Southampton are low on confidence, and therefore the best approach for Forest in this match is to press them aggressively from the front but equally, once they have possession of the ball, they shouldn’t look to obtain possession for the sake of it, or to take the sting out of Southampton. They need to attack quickly and with purpose, as if they are the home team in this fixture, and despite Southampton actually being the home team, Forest can quickly get the home crowd on Southampton’s backs if they’re brave enough to go for it early.

Southampton Must First be Solid

When a team is in a position as precarious as Southampton’s, it would perhaps be better to forego the desire to control possession and play on the front foot. Doing so will likely play right into Forest’s hands, as they’ll be able to press a team that’s remarkably low on confidence and attack into the vacated space. This is perhaps evident in Jones’ shift to a back five against Fulham. While they emerged with another defeat, they restricted an enterprising Fulham side to two shots on target and had three themselves, with the game level at 1-1 as late as the 87th minute. If Southampton had been able to see out the final 10 minutes or so, that would have been hailed as an excellent result.

To achieve this, they sacrificed possession – Fulham had 61% of the ball in their encounter. While we don’t expect the possession shares to be anywhere near this against Nottingham Forest, as Forest will prefer to play with closer to 40% as they will attack rapidly, Southampton mustn’t fall into the trap of playing the ball out from the back against Forest’s high-pressing forwards. Although it won’t be pretty at times, playing the ball out from the back in a more direct manner will relieve pressure and prevent Forest from immediately having the ball in dangerous areas. Three central defenders will provide a spare man at the back and some insurance against direct Forest balls forward, and Southampton need to get the ball quickly and directly into safer areas. This doesn’t necessitate hitting the ball long and aimlessly. Forest defend compactly and the space is likely to be on the flanks, and with Southampton playing with wing-backs they can be used as outlets and also to stretch the pitch in the middle to give their playmaking midfielders Ward-Prowse and Elyounoussi more room to operate in. It’s this foundation that’ll give Southampton the best chance of involving the likes of Che Adams, Aribo and Armstong in the match without having to worry too much about what’s coming the other way.

Beat the Bookmaker Southampton vs Nottingham Forest Prediction


If Nottingham Forest are going to arrest their shocking away form, then this is possibly the best chance they will get all season. Southampton’s improvement under Jones is likely to be a gradual one, and the Saints will be facing a Forest side who will have been under different expectations at the start of the season and will be full of confidence following an excellent performance against Chelsea. Though their league positions may be similar, their respective outlooks are far different, and Forest have shown, at least at home, that they’re able to compete at this level. We can see Forest edging this one – Forest’s high pressing approach is set to take advantage of mistakes in possession, and Southampton make far too many mistakes.

Southampton 1-2 Nottingham Forest

Beat the Bookmaker Southampton vs Nottingham Forest Prediction – Forest Odds (Odds Subject to Change):




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