Mikel Arteta’s Gunners have struggled on the road and face another tough task at the City Ground on Tuesday. We look ahead to the meeting with our Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal prediction and preview.
Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal Stats: The Quick Hits
- Arsenal are the favourites at the City Ground, defeating Nottingham Forest in 54.4% of pre-game simulations by the Opta supercomputer.
- Forest have dropped the most points from winning positions since their return to the Premier League last season (46).
- Arsenal have won five of their last six Premier League games against Nottingham Forest (L1) and are looking to do the double over them in the competition for just the second time (also in 1998-99).
Having suffered from a Christmas and New Year’s hangover, Arsenal will be looking for another response to make ground on Premier League leaders Liverpool and build upon a crushing victory over Crystal Palace when they visit Nottingham Forest for Tuesday’s clash at the City Ground.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta cut a frustrated figure over the festive period as his side were defeated in back-to-back league games with Fulham and West Ham United, plus their FA Cup third-round elimination against Jürgen Klopp’s Reds. However, the north London club responded with a 5-0 demolition of Palace on Matchday 21, leaving the Gunners level with Aston Villa and Manchester City – the latter who have a game in hand – as the trio trailing top-flight leaders Liverpool by five points heading into Matchday 22.
Gabriel Magalhães scored the opener at the Emirates Stadium against the Eagles before adding a second soon after, while Leandro Trossard added another prior to Gabriel Martinelli’s late brace in a 21-minute substitute cameo, as many goals as he had managed in his previous 22 Premier League games combined.
The opening two goals characterised Arsenal’s expertise from corners: they have scored the most goals from set-piece situations in the Premier League this season (13, excluding penalties), the most from corners (10) and the most headed goals (10). Meanwhile, Forest have conceded the most from set pieces (11), and only Brentford (11) have conceded more from headers (nine).
Declan Rice and Gabriel were both removed as a precaution during the Palace win, though the pair are expected to return to Arteta’s lineup on Tuesday. That duo will solidify an impressive defensive setup that has kept the most Premier League clean sheets (eight). However, Arteta’s men are looking to record a shutout in consecutive league games for just the second time this term, previously doing so with wins against Bournemouth (4-0) and Man City (1-0) in September/October.
As for the rest of Arteta’s team news, it stays the same: Japan’s Takehiro Tomiyasu and Egypt’s Mohamed Elneny are at the Asian Cup and Africa Cup of Nations respectively, while Thomas Partey, Fábio Vieira and Jurriën Timber remain sidelined with long-term injuries.
As for Tuesday’s hosts, Forest’s frustration with the Premier League continues to bubble on, with the City Ground club reportedly expecting a points deduction for financial breaches, while they wrote to the Professional Game Match Officials Board Limited (PGMOL) after Ivan Toney’s free-kick equaliser in a 3-2 loss to Brentford on MD 21.
Toney removed the referee’s vanishing foam and shifted the ball sidewards – into what Forest claim was a more advantageous position – before scoring past Matt Turner, levelling after Danilo’s early opener. Ben Mee then put Thomas Frank’s hosts ahead in the second half before Neal Maupay crashed in the winner after Chris Wood had levelled in the 65th minute.
Nuno Espírito Santo insisted the Video Assistant Referee should have checked Toney’s finish and intervened before Forest questioned the PGMOL for clarity after the defeat that leaves them 16th in the league table and just four points clear of 18th-placed Luton Town in the relegation zone ahead of MD 22. Forest have been the architects of their own downfall many a time, though, dropping 46 points from winning positions since the start of last season – at least 11 more than any other Premier League side.
As for the hosts’ team news, Nuno remains short-handed by a plethora of absentees, with Sèrge Aurier, Willy Boly, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Ola Aina and Ibrahima Sangaré at the 2023 AFCON and loanee Nuno Tavares unable to feature against his parent club Arsenal. Tuesday’s kick-off will come too soon for Felipe and Taiwo Awoniyi, too, though Anthony Elanga and Divock Origi could return from injury, as Morgan Gibbs-White did in a goalless FA Cup fourth-round draw at Bristol City on Friday night.
Nuno will likely again rely upon Wood up top, with the Forest striker involved in six goals in his last four Premier League appearances (five goals, one assist), as many as in his previous 45 combined. Wood is averaging a league goal every 72 minutes under Nuno, while converting 50% of his shots since the Portuguese took charge.
Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal Head-to-Head
Arsenal have won five of their last six Premier League games against Forest (L1). Arteta’s men are looking to do the double over them in the competition for just the second time (also 1998-99) after winning 2-1 in August thanks to goals from Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah, with Taiwo Awoniyi’s scoring a late consolation.
However, Forest have won their last three home games against Arsenal in all competitions, winning FA Cup ties in 2018 (4-2) and 2022 (1-0) before a 1-0 victory in this exact fixture last season when Awoniyi scored to confirm Premier League safety for the hosts and hand the title to Manchester City.
Forest have never won four consecutive home games against Arsenal but the troublesome away form of their visitors may open up an opportunity on Tuesday.
Arsenal have struggled on the road, winning just two of their last seven Premier League away games – against Luton Town and Brentford – despite triumphing in their opening three such top-flight fixtures with Crystal Palace, Everton and Bournemouth this campaign.
The north London club are winless in their last three away league games after losing to Aston Villa and Fulham either side of a draw with Liverpool – they’ve not had a longer winless run under Arteta since his first six such games in charge between December 2019 and June 2020 (D4 L2).
Forest are in danger of being dragged into a relegation battle with a reported points deduction looming, but their last two Premier League wins have been against sides that finished in last season’s top four – beating Newcastle United 3-1 and Manchester United 2-1 – despite winning just two of their previous 36 such games in the competition (D8 L26).
Both victories over Newcastle and Man Utd came after Steve Cooper’s dismissal saw the appointment of Nuno, whose four Premier League games in charge of Forest have produced a total of 17 goals (F9 A8), an average of 4.3 per game – almost two goals per game more than his spells in the competition with Wolves (2.4) and Tottenham (2.5).
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides:
Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal Prediction
The Opta supercomputer fancies an away win at the City Ground, with Arsenal winning 54.5% of 10,000 pre-game simulations, while Forest triumph in just 19.7%.
A draw would signal more away-day frustration for Arsenal. That result is predicted in 25.8% of data-led scenarios, and would further damage the dwindling title hopes of Arteta’s side.
Arsenal have just a 3.0% chance of winning the Premier League title in Opta’s season-simulations model – below favourites Man City (58.6%) and their nearest challengers Liverpool (37.2%) – while Forest’s relegation likelihood has jumped to 21.5% at the time of writing.