Wednesday night sees Manchester City’s first midweek game of the season and begins a trend of midweek games until the World Cup starts in November. Only an international break at the end of September interrupts this and their first match under the lights sees new boys Nottingham Forest arrive in Manchester.
Forest won promotion via the play-offs last season when they beat Huddersfield Town 1-0 at Wembley to secure a return to the Premier League after an absence of 23 years. Forest were, in fact, a dominant force in English football, but their sad demise culminated in them spending three seasons in League One. Now, they are back where their supporters have been desperate to be and will no doubt be eager to make an impact on the Premier League.
Going into the match, Forest’ form is probably where they’d expect it to be after four matches. They lost at Newcastle on the opening day of the season, but beat West Ham in their opening game at the City Ground. A 1-1 draw at Everton, where a late equaliser from Demarai Gray rescued a point for the struggling Toffees.
A 3-0 League Cup win at Grimsby was followed by a 2-0 home defeat to Spurs at the weekend, where they had just one shot on target from the 17 attempted. However, as the blues showed at the weekend, one shot is usually all it takes to score past the blues and, if that doesn’t work, just knock it against a defender, we’re pretty sure it’ll find the back of the net!
Star players and new faces
Forest have been very busy in the transfer market over the summer and have signed a second team in order to beat the dreaded drop this season. 14 players have arrived at the City Ground, which include:
Former United man Jesse Lingard
Former Chelsea man Cheikhou Kouyate
United keeper Dean Henderson (loan)
So far, January signing Sam Surridge is the one to watch with two goals, although both came in their win at Grimsby in the League Cup and is yet to score in the Premier League. Portuguese midfielder Cafu, not to be confused with Brazil legend Cafu, has so far claimed two assists from two games. He has created two chances, and both were taken. No surprises for guessing both were against Grimsby.
Who’s the boss?
Steve Cooper is the man tasked with bringing glory back to the Red side of the Trent. He joined Forest in 2021 after previously managing Swansea. Cooper took over at the City Ground on 21st September and immediately set about changing their fortunes. Having won just one match from their opening eight matches which left them bottom of the table, Cooper’s team went five further games unbeaten, catapulting them to 12th in the league. By the end of the year, Cooper had guided Forest to 9th, five points from the play-off zone.
A 5-1 win over his former club Swansea saw Forest move up to third in the league, just three points behind second-placed Bournemouth, and a win at the home of the Cherries would put them in the automatic promotion spot. Forest lost 1-0, but finished the season in fourth place. Victory over Sheffield United sent Forest to Wembley, and Cooper became a hero as his team stunned favourites Huddersfield to return to the top flight.
Cooper has presided over just 49 games as Forest boss, but has won an incredible 29 and lost just nine, a win ratio of 59%
Last time out
Forest last visited City in the FA Cup 3rd round in 2009. Mark Hughes’ side were expected to beat the Championship side comfortably, but the visitors were 2-0 up at half-time, before adding a late second half goal to dump City out of the cup.
In the league, the two faced of at Maine Road in March 2002, when City ran out 3-0 winners, thanks to a Darren Huckerby hat-trick.