Nottingham Forest Looking to Kick on and Establish Themselves in the Top Flight
By Space Coast Daily // September 19, 2023
It’s fair to say that Nottingham Forest’s only mission last season was to maintain their Premier League status.
Despite massive investment in the playing squad, which led to a huge influx of new players for head coach Steve Cooper to get to grips with, Forest had the sole aim of staying up after their sensational promotion from the Championship in the 2021-22 season.
For a while, things were looking pretty shaky. Forest were loitering dangerously in the relegation zone for a significant portion of the campaign, and Cooper’s position was looking more and more fraught as the weeks went by.
However, the club stuck by the Welshman, and Cooper repaid that faith, getting the results needed to scramble clear of the relegation dogfight and finish 16th in the table in their first season back in the top flight.
Now, having sealed another season in the Premier League, Cooper and co. will be hoping to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with. That major influx of new signings have now had a chance to settle in and acclimatise to surroundings at the City Ground, and Forest are ready to make sure they stay amongst English football’s elite.
They’ve enjoyed a decent start to the 2023-24 campaign, with two wins and two defeats. Those two losses came against Arsenal and Manchester United, but in both games, Forest gave a good account of themselves and were unlucky not to come away with something from the game.
At the Emirates, despite trailing 2-0 at the break, Forest gave a spirited second-half performance, getting one back through Taiwo Awoniyi, and they had Arsenal under real pressure in the closing stages of the game. On another day, an equaliser could have been on the cards.
At Old Trafford, Forest raced into a 2-0 lead, before Manchester United struck back to win 3-2. It was a painful defeat for Cooper and his players, but it was proof that Forest have the quality to compete with these top sides.
Their two victories came over Sheffield United and Chelsea respectively. The match against Sheffield United was a classic Friday night under the lights at the City Ground, with Awoniyi setting the tone with an early goal before Chris Wood popped up with a late winner to win the game 2-1.
Most recently, Forest went to Stamford Bridge and emerged with a precious 1-0 win against Chelsea. Awoniyi’s strike made all the difference, but Cooper will have been tremendously pleased with how his side dictated play for large periods.
Next up for Nottingham Forest is a home game against Burnley, and it’s a tough one to call according to the Forest v Burnley betting odds. Indeed, it’s a repeat of the recent EFL Cup meeting between the two sides, where Vincent Kompany’s side earned a 1-0 win at the City Ground.
Forest fans will be optimistic of a better outcome this time around though. To have emerged from their opening four fixtures with six points — a run that included away games against Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea — indicates that this Forest team have the potential to be a real force this season.