Monday, October 22, 2018

Prediction: Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal

Ashley Randall in FA Cup, Free Soccer Predictions 5 Jan 2018

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Verdict: Arsenal to win and both teams to score

Best Odds: 2/1

Bookmaker: Bet 365

It’s the first weekend of the New Year which means the return of the FA Cup third round in England. Holders Arsenal travel to the City Ground to take on Championship outfit Nottingham Forest. We take a look at the eagerly anticipated fixture.

Nottingham Forest

It’s been a disappointing festive period for Nottingham Forest in which they have only managed to pick up two points from a total of 12. In truth, the season hasn’t been what many fans were expecting as Forest sit in 14th place in the Championship and a poor run of results was unfortunately the main reason in the sacking of manager Mark Warburton. His departure paved way for temporary coach Gary Brazil to take over the reins and he did manage to achieve a credible 0-0 draw away at Leeds in his first game in charge. However, the Englishman knows his side need to start picking up wins from somewhere if he is to prevent them slipping further down the table. It may be somewhat of a relief then that they have the FA Cup to think about this weekend in a match which doesn’t really hold any significance or any pressure. It isn’t expected that Nottingham Forest will be able to beat holders Arsenal on Sunday but a decent result may just be what is needed to kick-start their season and fight their way up the league.

Team News

Daryl Murphy may return to the squad after missing the draw with Leeds on New Year’s Day due to a knock.

However, Matt Mills and Jack Hobbs will remain out due to injury.

Arsenal

It’s evident that Arsenal aren’t having the best of seasons and they currently find themselves sixth in the Premier League – five points off the top four and an incredible 23 away from leaders Manchester City. Manager Arsene Wenger is currently nine games unbeaten in all competitions but they have only won four of these and it could be a trophy-less campaign if they struggle to turn draws into wins. The Premier League may have been a competition that Arsenal have struggled with in recent years but they have been dominant in the FA Cup. Three of the last four finals have belonged to the Gunners and they’ve only lost once in 23 matches which is an incredible statistic. It’s quite the norm for Wenger to rest a few of his stars for cup competitions and it won’t be any different on Sunday. However, Arsenal will be well equipped to get the job done and it could turn into a comfortable afternoon for them in the Midlands.

Team News

Arsene Wenger is expected to ring the changes but Arsenal have a number of players out because of injury, including Granit Xhaka, Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey.

Meanwhile Saed Kolasniac, Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny and Santi Cazorla are all long-term absentees.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Nottingham Forest have won just one of their last 14 matches against the Gunners in all competitions (D4 L9)
  • Arsenal have twice eliminated Forest in the FA Cup (1978-79 and 1992-93) and they went on to win the trophy both times
  • Nottingham Forest have kept clean sheets in eight of their last 12 home FA Cup games
  • Arsene Wenger has never been eliminated in the third round of the FA Cup
  • Arsenal have only lost once in the last 23 matches in the competition

Conclusion

We’re expecting Arsenal to win this no matter how many changes are made as Wenger’s record in the competition has been phenomenal the past few seasons. Nottingham Forest have been struggling of late but we can see them scoring a consolation goal at home against the Gunners inconsistent defence.

Verdict: Arsenal to win and both teams to score

Best Odds: 2/1

Bookmaker: Bet 365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Randall


Ash is a freelance football writer who lives, breathes and dreams the beautiful game. A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder, if he isn't at Molineux then he will be watching any game on television that he can set his eyes on. Producing work for various football websites and publications, Ash has also written for regional newspapers and global magazines.

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