Nottingham Forest face Manchester United today looking to win a game of Premier League football for the first time in 10 games. It won’t come easily though, with the Red Devils having beaten Forest three times already this season.
Steve Cooper knows he’s under huge pressure to transform Forest’s fortunes. He has been linked with the sack in recent weeks and he desperately needs something to go his team’s way.
Ahead of today’s clash, we’ve looked at how the Reds might line up against United later on this evening. We think that Cooper could spring a change or two from the team that lost at Aston Villa.
Nottingham Forest predicted XI v Manchester United
The Forest rearguard
Things aren’t looking great for the Reds at the back. Moussa Niakhate faces another spell on the sidelines and that could see a change of shape for Forest in today’s clash.
Cooper could go with a 4-2-3-1 system today and that will see Felipe and Joe Worrall start as the central defensive pairing. Scott McKenna is edging closer to fitness and will likely be on the bench again.
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At full-back, there is unlikely to be any change in personnel from Cooper, with Serge Aurier and Renan Lodi likely to be out. That will see Neco Williams and Harry Toffolo keep their places in the team.
The Forest engine room
Again, Forest a missing a major player for today’s game. Cheikhou Kouyate hobbled out of action last week and he is also set to be missing for a few weeks now.
As a result, Cooper has a decision to make. He could opt for the influence and leadership qualities of Remo Freuler but we think he might go for Orel Mangala and Danilo as a pairing instead.
Ryan Yates is also likely to remain unavailable for this contest. The Reds will hope that the academy graduate doesn’t miss too much more action with his energy sorely missed at the moment.
Leading the Forest line
Taiwo Awoniyi simply has to play this evening. United are missing a few regular defenders and their makeshift back-line won’t fancy dealing with the physical aspect of the Nigerian.
Behind him, it should be a trio of players who could cause all sorts of problems if given time on the ball. Morgan Gibbs-White, for starters, should get the chance to play in his natural number 10 position.
Brennan Johnson will once again play on the right-hand side. He hopes to add to his nine Premier League goals this season and fire Forest to a positive result.
On the left, we think Emmanuel Dennis could play. He’s very direct and at times he can prove frustrating but ultimately Forest look more like an attacking threat when he is called upon.
Here is how a predicted Nottingham Forest Xi could look: