It’s back to the Premier League for Manchester City as they host Nottingham Forest at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The blues have a 100% record so far this season and will be looking to continue their fine start against the team that effectively handed them the title last season.
Forest faced Arsenal at the City Ground and a solitary goal for the home side was enough to condemn Arsenal to defeat and crown the blues as Champions of England for a third season running.
The visitors have proved themselves to be no pushovers this season and, given City’s injury crisis, the fans should be prepared for a tough encounter.
Forest go into the match on the back of a draw at home to Burnley and a win at Chelsea. The visitors were lucky against the Clarets when a late goal for Vincent Kompany’s side was ruled out for offside. However, they pulled off a stunning 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge at the beginning of September.
That’s their only win on their travels so far this season, with their last visit to Manchester ending in a 3-2 defeat in Stretford. Forest were 2-0 up at Old Trafford after just four minutes, but United came back to level before, predictably, the visitors were reduced to 10 men. They then conceded, also predictably, a late penalty which gave the Stretford Rangers all three points.
In their other away game, Forest lost 2-1 at Arsenal on the opening day of the season. Despite only winning two of their five matches so far, Forest sit in 8th position and are ready to better last season’s placing.
Forest were very active last summer, signing enough players to rival Chelsea’s squad and this summer, they’ve been equally as busy. Defensive midfielder Ibrahim Sangare was the most expensive signing from PSV Eindhoven, while winger Anthony Elanga moved from The Swamp to the City Ground.
Newcastle striker Chris Wood, Norwich centre-back Andrew Omobamidele also joined, while the biggest surprise was the arrival of Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, who was once placed in the same bracket as City’s Phil Foden. The biggest departure was winger Brennan Johnson, who joined join Spurs for £48m.
Taiwo Awoniyi is leading the Forest line and has so far scored three goals this season. He’s played six games and had seven shots at goal, with a 43% conversion rate and shot accuracy. Elanga has scored one goal from six appearances, buy Hudson-Odoi marked his debut with his first goal for the club,
Chris Wood has also played six games but has had just the one shot at goal. However, it found the back of the net as he scored an 89th minute winner in Forest’s 2-1 home win over Sheffield United.
Awoniyi is definitely one for City to watch as he also has two assists, along with Serge Aurier. However, the latter has attempted more passes in midfield with 178, completing 127 and having a pass accuracy of 71%. Elanga and Morgan Gibbs-White have also provided assists this season.
Forest did something unusual last season and retained the services of manager Steve Cooper, despite being close to the relegation zone. Normally, managers of newly promoted clubs get the boot at some point in the season, but Forest’s trust in Cooper paid off.
Cooper guided the side to safety and the Reds are looking up the table, rather than over their shoulder. The former Swansea manager joined Forest in 2021, leading them back to the Premier League in his first season via the play-offs.
Cooper has managed 96 games for Forest, winning 41 and losing 32, giving him a win ratio of 43%.
Last Time in Manchester
You had to feel sorry for Forest as they arrived at the Etihad last season. Erling Haaland had just bagged a treble against Palace, then hit another three past Forest as the blues hit the visitors with a 6-0 win.