Manchester City welcome Nottingham Forest to the Etihad Stadium for the first time since 2009, when the visitors upset Mark Hughes’ City by winning 3-0 in the FA Cup third round. Sparky’s City were not doing that great in the Premier League, siting 13th in the table after winning just six of the 20 matches played. Forest weren’t exactly a threat either. At the time, they were only above the Championship relegation zone on goal difference, level on points with Doncaster Rovers, and a match between two massively underperforming teams ended in a win for the Championship side.
Wednesday’s meeting is the first in the league since March 2002 when the blues won 3-0. Darren Huckerby scored a hat-trick as Kevin Keegan’s City moved to with five points of an immediate return to the Premier League. City and Forest have had some good tussles over the years as the stats now show.
A series of indifferent results
If recent history is anything to go by, then the result of Wednesday’s match is far from guaranteed. In the Premier League era, City have won just two at home against Forest in all competitions. That’s a run of eight matches where the blues have also lost and drawn three. The saving grace here is that two of those matches were cup ties and three were in Division 2 / League Division One / Championship. Whatever you call it, it wasn’t in the top flight. In fact, all three Premier League matches have ended in draws – 2-2 in October 92, 3-3 in October 94 and 1-1 in December 95.
The last time City won this fixture in the top flight was September 1992. An entertaining fixture between two attack-minded teams on a warm September evening ended with the blues winning 2-1, thanks to goals by Niall Quinn and Andy Hill.
History predicts a City win
Historically, City have had the upper hand over Forest in this fixture. They first met in April 1900, when the blues ran out 2-0 winners, and City lost just once in a 12-match run – 2-0 in the FA Cup in 1902. Forest’ first victory in the league at Maine Road was 3-1 in February 1924, but didn’t win again until 1960. The blues have enjoyed long stretches unbeaten against Forest, and the visitors have only achieved back-to-back victories at City once – April 1983 and April 1986 both saw the visitors winning 2-1 at Maine Road.
Unbeaten runs? yes. Winning streak? not so yes
As stated, City have enjoyed some long stretches unbeaten at home to Forest. Eight matches unbeaten between April 1904 and January 1924 was followed by another eight between September 1924 and August 1959. Another six followed from October 1961 to February 1970, then another seven from January 1972 to October 1981.
In the first run, City won five and drew three, while the second saw four wins and four draws. The third produced three wins and three draws, while the last unbeaten run yielded just two wins and five draws.
City’s longest winning run is four matches between September 1905 and November 1910, while their longest winless run is five matches between October 1992 and December 1997. City lost two and drew three of those matches, with Forest’ last league win being 3-2 in December 1997, although in fairness, anyone could have beaten us in 1997.
It’s fair to say that, while goals have been scored in this fixture, they’re not as free-flowing as some matches. City’s biggest win is 5-0 back in September 1905, while their heaviest defeat is 3-0, achieved twice. The first being November 1989 and the other being the last time they met in Manchester.
Overall, City have scored 83 goals in 51 games and kept 18 clean sheets. Forest, meanwhile, have scored 58 goals and prevented City from scoring on just seven occasions. Between November 1904 and October 1975, City scored in 26 consecutive home matches against Forest, while the visitors record for consecutive scoring is eight matches, achieved between November 1989 and December 1997. They started and finished the run by scoring three goals in each match.
City and Forest have met twice in August and won them both. The first time was 1959 and the last was 1999. They have never met on the 31st, however in 1999, City won 1-0 at Maine Road on the 30th. Is that an omen? Probably not.