By Bulldog Drummond
If you want to see the sort of optimism that so many Arsenal fans now lack, it can be seen from the fact that 48% of Forest fans voting in a Nottingham Post on line survey agreed that of course Forest could spring a surprise and beat Arsenal.
42% said it would be tough and 10% said they have no idea.
SeatPitch – a Forest website – says that 8000 Forest fans will be at Arsenal for what it calls “A glamour third round tie [that] has captured the imagination of a loyal fan base – along with reasonably priced tickets.”
Well yes, £10 a ticket for the away fans section is certainly reasonable. Is anyone giving Arsenal credit for this? No, of course not. This is Arsenal we are talking about.
Forest are unbeaten away this season (below is the league table based on away games only)
|3||Queens Park Rangers||4||3||0||1||6||5||1||9|
|5||West Bromwich Albion||4||2||2||0||6||4||2||8|
Overall in the league they are also sixth, just two points behind the automatic promotion places.
Their one defeat came in the opening match of the season. Since then it has been nine unbeaten, including the two league cup games in which they beat Fleetwood Town and local rivals Derby County.
|03 Aug||Nottingham Forest v West Bromwich Albion||L||1-2||Championship|
|10 Aug||Leeds United v Nottingham Forest||D||1-1||Championship|
|13 Aug||Nottingham Forest v Fleetwood Town||W||1-0||League Cup|
|17 Aug||Nottingham Forest v Birmingham City||W||3-0||Championship|
|21 Aug||Charlton Athletic v Nottingham Forest||D||1-1||Championship|
|24 Aug||Fulham v Nottingham Forest||W||1-2||Championship|
|27 Aug||Nottingham Forest v Derby County||W||3-0||League Cup|
|31 Aug||Nottingham Forest v Preston North End||D||1-1||Championship|
|14 Sep||Swansea City v Nottingham Forest||W||0-1||Championship|
|21 Sep||Nottingham Forest v Barnsley||W||1-0||Championship|
So they are on a roll and looking promising, although in the last five league games they have scored one goal each time except for one match when they got two.
Above all they will be encouraged by the last meeting between themselves and Arsenal in the FA Cup of 2018 where they won 4-2. Prior to that it was one win in 14 for Forest – that coming in 1996.
What sort of team will Arsenal put out? Well, presumably one not including any of the starters from the league game on sunday.
Both Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin have now played for the Under-23s – but that game was only on Friday so I can’t believe they will now be given a run out again, especially against a lower league club where the forwards and midfield will do anything to get the chance to be in another Forest team to beat Arsenal. Mesut Ozil clearly needs a game, and this match is five days ahead of the game against Man U so it could well be something for him to get back into the swing of things.
Other players most likely to be used are Martinez, as the backup keeper used for Cup games, Mustafi, Nelson, Smith Rowe and Martinelli. And some time we will see the return of Konstantinos Mavropanos but when I know not. Torreira could be used to hold the middle of the pitch together.
As for Maitland Niles my understanding of the rules is that yellow cards only count in the competition they are issued in, but red cards cross all competitions. So Maitland Niles is serving his suspension in this game. I think.
Here is a line up from the Star
Bellerin Chambers Holding Tierney
Smith-Rowe Ozil Nelson
Arsenal Station give us a variation by dropping Ozil and Chambers – and I’d agree about Chambers… let’s not overplay him. Their version is
Bellerin Mustafi Holding Tierney
Nelson Smith-Rowe Martinelli
Last, this is for anyone looking for a ticket. It might be worthwhile taking some of the on line offers with a dollop of salt as with this one which was showing (at least yesterday) on the internet
I think it might be best to give that one a miss.
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