After running out of steam in the 2022-23 Premier League title race, Mikel Arteta’s side get going again on Saturday. Look ahead to the game with our Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest prediction and preview.
Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest: The Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer gives Arsenal a 66.8% probability of emerging victorious over Forest, who are unsurprisingly major underdogs here.
- Arsenal begin their 2023-24 season having broken the record for most days top of the table without winning the Premier League title in 2022-23.
- Forest beat Arsenal at the City Ground in their most recent meeting, a result that confirmed their survival and handed Manchester City the title.
A lot has changed at Arsenal over the past 15 months or so. After missing out on UEFA Champions League qualification at the end of the 2021-22 campaign, to Tottenham of all clubs, their direction was questioned by many.
Last season saw them take a huge leap in the right direction, however, leading the Premier League for 248 days in total – the most for a team who didn’t win the title – before ultimately finishing second.
Of course, there was undoubtedly a sense of disappointment again, but this time for completely different reasons, and most fans were able to see beyond that to the promise and positivity that enveloped everything they achieved as the club qualified for the Champions League for the first time since 2015-16.
They have now caught up with Manchester City in a sense; they’re both back to square one as the Premier League prepares to return for the 2023-24 season, and Arsenal’s penalty shootout success over Pep Guardiola’s men in last weekend’s Community Shield might just give them a psychological advantage – for a few weeks, anyway.
City open the new season on Friday against Burnley, and Arsenal are next on the slate in Saturday’s early kick-off slot at home to a Forest side who managed to retain their Premier League status last term despite a rather chaotic approach to the transfer market.
Most would suggest this to be a relatively kind start to the new season for Arsenal, who haven’t begun a Premier League campaign with a home game since losing 2-0 to City in their 2018-19 opener.
Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest Head-to-Head
The odds will be stacked against Forest on Saturday – not that this will surprise anyone. They’ve not beaten Arsenal in any of their last nine league meetings in London, a run that stretches back to March 1989.
Forest were 3-1 winners back then, with Stuart Pearce, Franz Carr and Nigel Clough all on the scoresheet for the away side. Arsenal had been defending champions that season but went on to finish fourth, 17 points behind eventual winners Liverpool.
Arsenal and Forest also went up against each other on the opening day of the 1998-99 season, with the former winning 2-1 at Highbury. Forest were relegated to the second tier at the end of that campaign, and they didn’t return to the top flight until last term.
In fact, Forest ended up playing a relatively significant role in the downfall of Arsenal’s title challenge last season. They beat them 1-0 at the City Ground in May thanks to Taiwo Awoniyi’s finish from a Morgan Gibbs-White through ball.
That goal confirmed Forest’s survival and handed the title to City; they’ve not won consecutive games against Arsenal since the days of the legendary Brian Clough in September 1978, however.
Arsenal ended the 2022-23 Premier League season in underwhelming fashion – at least in the context of the rest of the campaign.
Half of their six league defeats last term came in their final six games as they failed to keep pace with a relentless, all-conquering City side.
Nevertheless, that didn’t completely overshadow what was generally a very impressive season for Arsenal; they were only outscored (88) by City (94), conceded the third-fewest goals (43), were tied for second-most clean sheets (14), and their 84 points was the most won in a single season by Arsenal since the Invincibles.
Their exploits last term have many considering them to be the biggest threats to City once again.
Forest, on the other hand, rose to the occasion when it really mattered. Mired in a relegation battle, Steve Cooper’s side lost just one of their last six matches at the end of the 2022-23 season, winning three to keep themselves in the Premier League with a game to spare.
Their survival was in spite of a dreadful away record, however.
They claimed just eight points on the road, winning a single match away from the City Ground all season. While they did end the campaign with more goals in their final four away games (six) than they did in their first 15 combined (five), this is clearly a record they’ll need to improve on if they’re to push on in 2023-24.
Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest Prediction
Forest’s last trip to Emirates Stadium resulted in a 5-0 defeat last October, with Arsenal scoring four of their goals in the second half. While it’s fair to say Cooper’s men have improved significantly since then, they’re still big outsiders here.
The Opta supercomputer gives Arsenal a 66.8% likelihood of winning on Saturday, unsurprisingly making them overwhelming favourites.
Forest have a 12.2% chance of leaving with an unlikely away win, with the draw at 21%.
That does mean the model thinks Forest have as much as a 33.2% probability of at least getting a point; they’d probably take those odds.