Tottenham Hotspur will look to continue their unbeaten start to their first full Premier League season under Antonio Conte’s watch when they face Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Sunday afternoon.
Nottingham Forest have had a fairly positive start to the new season. They received a rude welcome back to the Premier League with a 2-0 opening day loss away to Newcastle but bounced back with a hard-fought win over West Ham at home before earning another valuable point against Everton away at Goodison Park.
Manager Steve Cooper must surely see four points from a possible nine so far as a satisfactory return, especially given that they conceded a whole lot of shots and currently have one of the worst expected goals against (xGA) in the division. With their EFL Cup second-round win over Grimsby Town, Forest are on a three-game unbeaten run across all competitions and are in good nick.
Off the pitch, Forest continues to splash the cash in the transfer market and are the second biggest spender in the Premier League. They are set to capture former Tottenham full-back Serge Aurier on a free transfer to become their 17th signing of the summer, while Atletico Madrid full-back Renan Lodi could also be heading to the City Ground on an initial loan deal.
Nottingham Forest are on the verge of reaching an agreement Atletico Madrid to sign Renan Lodi. Loan with €5m and €30m buy option will be included, as reported earlier today. 🚨🌳 #NFFC
Talks ongoing on player side – not fully agreed yet.
Atléti, working on Reguilón deal. pic.twitter.com/SpaXrT4uBm
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 27, 2022
The owners have bankrolled their summer spending and have reportedly spent in the region of £140 million. They are not stopping there on the transfer front either, with Steve Cooper’s side likely to make one or two more additions before the window closes.
Meanwhile, Spurs’ season has got off to a solid start, and they have tallied seven points on the board after their three fixtures, but what is most promising for the Lilywhites is the fact that they are yet to hit their maximum potential or fully convince across a whole game.
Tottenham thrashed Southampton 4-1 in their opening game of the season, then drew with Chelsea in an intense but entertaining encounter, before limping to a 1-0 victory over Wolves. This tie at the City Ground will not be a piece of cake for Spurs, with Forest somewhat of an unknown quantity this season, but the Lilywhites are overwhelming favourites here and should be able to come out on top.
Team News & Tactics
Heading into the new Premier League season, Forest needed a lot of signings to make a competitive squad to stand a chance of survival. Injuries to new acquisitions Omar Richards and Moussa Niakhate highlight the need for squad depth.
— Nottingham Forest FC (@NFFC) August 26, 2022
That said, it can be difficult to get so many new players to gel, but Forest have countered this slightly by having a manager who has expertise in getting players to play well together in a short period of time in Steve Cooper.
The English coach will set his team up in a 3-4-1-2 formation in front of goalkeeper Dean Henderson. He will be shielded by the three-man central defensive unit comprising Joe Worrall, Steve Cook, and Scott McKenna. Though, Cooper can also call upon summer arrival Cheikhou Kouyate to slot in there to add physicality.
The width in attack will come from the wing-back duo of Neco Williams and Harry Toffolo, who will have to match the intensity of the up-and-down running of their counterparts and provide quality deliveries into the box.
Remo Freuler made his debut against Grimsby in mid-week but will have to wait for his first Premier League start since the double pivot of Lewis O’Brien and Orel Mangala have yet to put a foot wrong on the pitch and have largely impressed.
All transfers involve an element of risk, but Forest’s club-record signing, Morgan Gibbs-White, showed flashes of his brilliance in the Everton game and could be handed a start behind forwards, Brennan Johnson and Taiwo Awoyini, who have both found their feet in the Premier League and should lead the line confidently. Jesse Lingard and Emmanuel Dennis are likely to feature as impact substitutes.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Henderson; Worrall, Cook, McKenna; Williams, Mangala, O’Brien, Toffolo; Gibbs-White; Johnson, Awoniyi
Cristian Romero (adductor) and Oliver Skipp (hairline fracture) are both absent from full training due to respective injury issues but will return to training next week.
Gearing up for Forest ⚙️
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 26, 2022
Lucas Moura and Bryan Gil are also touch-and-go, but the latter is expected to join Valencia if Spurs can find an apt replacement before the deadline next week, with Leeds United’s Daniel James emerging as one potential option. Meanwhile, Harry Winks is closing in on an interesting move to Serie A side Sampdoria.
Antonio Conte is likely to deploy the same XI that took to the field in the 1-0 win over Wolves last weekend, though Richarlison will feel hard done by not getting a starting berth with Son Heung-min experiencing an early season form dip.
Hugo Lloris remains the undisputed starter in goal, with Spurs lining up in a 3-4-2-1/3-4-3 system in front of him. Despite some worries, Davinson Sanchez did a solid job overall in the absence of Romero against Wolves. He will once again step in here, forming a defensive trifecta alongside Eric Dier and Ben Davies.
The wing-back duo of Ivan Perisic and Emerson will be given the license to maraud forward to cause the opposition problems, with the former an efficient chance creator and the latter posing an attacking threat with his darting runs at the back-post.
In midfield, the double-pivot of Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has been preferred by Conte ever since the former’s arrival back in January. Dejan Kulusevski and Son will provide width to their attack with Harry Kane spearheading the frontline up top.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Lloris; Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Emerson, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Perisic; Kulusevski, Son; Kane
- Nottingham Forest have won six of their last nine games in Premier League games against Tottenham (D1 L2), although the visitors did the league double over Forest when these sides last met in the 1998-99 season.
- Tottenham have won four of their last five meetings with Nottingham Forest in all competitions (D1).
- Tottenham have won 5 of their last 6 Premier League matches.
- The Tricky Trees have won each of their last eight home league games, their longest winning streak since a run of 12 between November 2009 and March 2010.
- There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Nottingham Forest’s last 3 games, while they have conceded only seven times in their last 16 league games at the City Ground, keeping 10 clean sheets.
Player to Watch
England skipper Harry Kane celebrated his 250th career goal for the Lilywhites last weekend to secure a victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers. He is presently the fourth-highest scorer in Premier League history and the highest active scorer, with more strikes than any other player for one club.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 20, 2022
He has rediscovered his scoring boots after a poor start to last season due to the transfer drama, and he has shown no signs of slowing down. With Ivan Perisic, who has two assists in just one start for Spurs, on the pitch from the start, he will certainly get more chances to score.
He has scored in each of his last two appearances and will also be on penalty kick duty. So, there is a good chance he might possibly bag himself a brace if things fall his way as he looks to add to his tally in style this weekend.
Nottingham Forest 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
The City Ground can be a fortress for the Garibaldi, but handling a feverish Tottenham side filled with quality would surely be too much for the newly-promoted side. Forest had an impressive home record last season, with their two losses since the turn of the year coming at the hands of Liverpool in the FA Cup and Sheffield United in the playoffs.
They hold the precious commodity of momentum from the euphoria of winning promotion and the excitement of new summer arrivals. Having said that, they kind of rode their luck in the last two top-flight games but were not punished. That is likely to change this weekend against the likes of Son and Kane.
Antonio Conte’s side mean business, and they have shown that they can win gritty if needed. This will be a difficult assignment for Spurs, but one from which they are expected to come out as comfortable victors.