Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Prediction: Chelsea vs Nottingham Forest

Tom Dunstan in FA Cup, Free Soccer Predictions 5 Jan 2019

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Verdict: Chelsea win and under 3.5 goals

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: Bet365

Looking to end their sluggish form entering the New Year, Chelsea will welcome Nottingham Forest to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

Chelsea

Starting with the hosts, coming off the back of a 0-0 draw with Southampton on Wednesday, Chelsea have managed to pick up just seven points from four games over the Christmas period with an injury list which got longer by the match. With Maurizio Sarri fully aware that he is now out of his honeymoon period at Stamford Bridge, the Blues now hold just a three-point buffer from slipping out of the Champions League positions. The former Napoli boss will also be growing more concerned by his form in the final third. Making it no secret that they could be on the lookout for a replacement for the misfiring Alvaro Morata, Chelsea have now managed to score more than a single goal in 90 minutes in just one of their last five outings. Sarri will undoubtedly also be keeping a close eye on their recent performances in West London. Along with slumping to a goalless draw with the Saints in midweek, the hosts also failed to find the net in their 1-0 home defeat against Leicester last month.

Team News

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas is expected to play against Nottingham Forest in what could be his final game before a reported move to Monaco.

Olivier Giroud (ankle), Pedro and Willian (both hamstring) are out, but youngsters Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ethan Ampadu could feature.

Eden Hazard is expected to be rested.

Nottingham Forest

As for the visitors, while Nottingham Forest may find themselves still within touching distance of the playoff positions, Aitor Karanka still finds himself in a difficult situation. Although the Reds were enduring a five-match winless run in December, Forest managed to pick up a very impressive 4-2 win away at leading title contenders Leeds on New Year’s Day. Although the pressure is certainly off the former Middlesbrough manager for now, the 45-year-old will know the importance of improving his side’s record on the road. Forest have now failed to record an away win in their last four attempts. While they will unquestionably travel to Stamford Bridge as an overwhelming underdog, Forest will be boosted by the fact they have already picked up one Premier League scalp this season. Karanka’s men managed to pick up a 3-1 win over Newcastle in the second round of the EFL Cup back in August.

Team News

Forest have a number of injury concerns with Michael Hefele, Michael Dawson, Tobias Figueiredo and Lewis Grabban all out.

Goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon is also a doubt but winger Joe Lolley is fit.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Chelsea have progressed from all three of their FA Cup ties against Nottingham Forest, with all previous meetings being in round four (1933-34, 1999-00 and 2006-07).
  • Chelsea – who have reached the FA Cup final in the last two seasons – haven’t been eliminated at the third-round stage since the 1997-98 campaign.
  • Nottingham Forest have eliminated the FA Cup holders on five of the six previous occasions they’ve faced them, including Arsenal at this stage last season.
  • Chelsea have managed to score more than one goal in a single match in their last five matches.
  • Forest have failed to win any of their last four matches on the road.

Conclusion

While we do believe that the Premier League side will have enough quality to book their spot in the fourth-round of this year’s FA Cup, we expect Chelsea to face a stern test on Saturday. With the Blues now managing to score more than one goal in just one of their last five matches, we’re backing a low scoring victory for Maurizio Sarri’s side this weekend.

Verdict: Chelsea win and under 3.5 goals 

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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