Kenilworth Road hosts a massive six-pointer in the Premier League’s relegation battle. We look ahead to Saturday’s game with our Luton Town vs Nottingham Forest prediction and preview.

Luton Town vs Nottingham Forest: The Quick Hits

  • Across 10,000 simulations of Saturday’s game conducted by the Opta supercomputer, Luton Town won 42.7%, with Nottingham Forest triumphing in 30.1%.
  • Luton have scored in their last 16 Premier League games – only Newcastle in 1993-94 (20) have had a longer run as a promoted side in their debut season in the competition.
  • Between August 2018 and April 2021, Nuno Espírito Santo only lost three straight Premier League games on one occasion. He has since done so four times including Forest’s current run, but he has never lost four in a row in the competition.

Match Preview

If Luton Town are unsuccessful in their fight for Premier League survival, they may look back on Wednesday’s rearranged fixture against Bournemouth with more than a few regrets.

With Tom Lockyer watching from the stands four months after suffering a cardiac arrest in the original staging of the match, Luton raced into a 3-0 half-time lead with Tahith Chong, Chiedozie Ogbene and Ross Barkley on target. It was certainly a game of two halves, though, as Dominic Solanke’s superb turn and finish set Bournemouth on their way to a stunning comeback, with Illia Zabarnyi bringing them within one before Antoine Semenyo’s brace completed the turnaround.

bournemouth 4-3 luton xg race

That made Luton just the third team in Premier League history to lose a game in which they led by three goals at half-time, after Tottenham (3-5 vs Manchester United, September 2001) and Leicester City (3-4 vs Wolves, October 2003).

It also piled even greater pressure on Saturday’s meeting with Nottingham Forest, who sit just three points clear of the Hatters on the other side of the dreaded dotted line, with the prospect of a points deduction for breaching the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability Rules hanging over them.

Luton are now winless in their last seven Premier League games (two draws, five losses), though few could question their efforts in the final third. Rob Edwards’ team have scored in each of their last 16 Premier League matches – only Newcastle United in 1993-94 (20) have had a longer such run as a promoted side in their debut season in the competition.

Returning to Kenilworth Road on Saturday should suit forward Carlton Morris, who has scored in each of his last three home Premier League games – against Sheffield United, Manchester United and Aston Villa. Morris has four goal involvements in his last four Premier League matches at Kenilworth Road (three goals, one assist), one more than he managed in his first 10 (one goal, two assists).

The Hatters have no new injury concerns, but Elijah Adebayo, Mads Andersen, Gabriel Osho and Albert Sambi Lokonga are not expected to return until after the international break.

It would be no surprise if Luton looked to exploit set-pieces again on Saturday, with only Arsenal (18) and Everton (15) scoring more goals from dead balls situations than their 12 in the Premier League this season (excluding penalties). Forest, meanwhile, have shipped a league-high 18 goals from such scenarios.

luton set-piece goals

Forest boss Nuno Espírito Santo channelled his inner Mario Balotelli last week, asking; “Why always us?” after his team were on the receiving end of another contentious decision. This time, it was Michael Salisbury’s failure to punish Jakub Moder’s reckless, studs-up lunge with a red card which drew his ire, as Andrew Omobamidele’s own goal condemned Forest to a 1-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.

Nuno’s team cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves ahead of Saturday’s big six-pointer, though. Between August 2018 and April 2021, a span encompassing his first 109 Premier League games with Wolves, he only suffered three straight losses on one occasion. He has since done so four times in the space of 26 matches, including Forest’s current run, but he has never lost four in a row in the competition.

An attacking downturn has not helped Forest of late; having scored in their first nine league matches under Nuno, they could now go three top-flight games without a goal for the first time since April 1999, following 1-0 defeats to Brighton and Liverpool.

If they are to turn their form around, Chris Wood could have a key role to play, having replaced Anthony Elanga up front last week. Wood scored twice as Forest and Luton played out a 2-2 draw in October’s reverse fixture at the City Ground.

The New Zealander’s next goal in English league football will be his 150th, and Forest could become the fifth team he has reached double figures for in the top four tiers (Burnley 49, Leeds United 41, Leicester 14, Millwall 11).

Forest could be short at full-back on Saturday, with Gonzalo Montiel out with a muscle injury and Nuno Tavares and Ola Aina doubtful. United States international Giovanni Reyna will also be assessed after missing two games with a knock.

Luton Town vs Nottingham Forest Head-to-Head

Luton are unbeaten in their last five league games against Forest, winning two and drawing three, after losing five of their previous six against them (one win).

Forest lost on their last league visit to Kenilworth Road as a Championship club in April 2022, while they were also beaten on their last top-flight trip to the ground in April 1992 (1-2).

More generally, Forest have only won one of their last 18 Premier League games against promoted teams (11 draws, six defeats), beating Sheffield United 2-1 earlier this season.

On their travels, they have drawn eight of their last nine such games, losing the other to Fulham at Craven Cottage last term.

Recent Form

While Kenilworth Road will be a bear pit for what is surely Luton’s biggest game of the season, the Hatters have struggled at home of late.

They have lost six of their last eight Premier League home games (two wins), including each of their last three in a row. They last lost more consecutive league matches on home soil in April 2015 while in League Two (four), while they last did so in the top flight in February 1984 (four).

Forest, though, have a dismal away record, only winning on two of their last 24 Premier League road trips (six draws, 16 defeats). They have also kept just two clean sheets in those 24 matches, both of which came in London (1-0 against Chelsea last September, 0-0 versus Crystal Palace in October).

They may struggle to rectify that here, with Luton scoring in 13 of their 14 home Premier League games this season, the only exception being a 1-0 defeat to Tottenham in October.

Only Manchester City and Spurs (both 100%) have scored in a higher share of their home matches this term than the Hatters (93%).

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 this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Luton Town vs Nottingham Forest Prediction

Luton vs Nottingham Forest Prediction

Luton know a victory would be enough to see them leapfrog Forest and escape the bottom three, and the Opta supercomputer makes the Hatters favourites to do exactly that.

Of 10,000 pre-match simulations conducted by the supercomputer ahead of kick-off, Luton won 42.7%, with Forest winning 30.1% and 27.2% finishing level.

Following their midweek defeat, Luton’s chances of relegation from the Premier League are estimated at 75.9% by the supercomputer. While Sheffield United (99.6%) and Burnley (99.1%) are surely doomed, Forest are the next-most likely team to be dragged in, going down in 16.2% of our season simulations.

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