Preview: United must beat Forest to save face; a massive reaction is needed from key players!

Ten Hag needs to forget about lumping faith on his preferred players when they are not performing on the pitch!

Nottingham Forest -v- Manchester United

Emirates FA Cup

City Ground, Nottingham

Wednesday 28 February 2023, KO 19:45 GMT

Manchester United travel to the City Ground to face Nottingham Forest in the Emirates FA Cup on Wednesday evening in another must win match for Erik ten Hag which could also see United’s season come to an end without any hope of silverware – which is justified.

It has been a terrible season for United which has seen the club seek to raise their stakes after winning the Carabao Cup last season – Ten Hag’s first trophy as United manager to a point where there will be nothing to play for this season, especially if they fail to reach top four in the league.

Forest have also suffered an abject season but they too have a chance to at least stake their claim for silverware this season, no matter how unlikely that may seem. United should be beating this team but at this time, it looks like United would struggle to beat themselves.

United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Fulham 2-1 L, Luton 2-1 W, Villa 2-1 W, West Ham 3-0 W, Wolves 4-3 W, Newport 4-2 W

Goals: 13 – Rasmus Hojlund, 8 – Scott McTominay, 7 – Bruno Fernandes, Alejandro Garnacho, 5 – Marcus Rashford, 4 – Casemiro, 2 – Diogo Dalot, Kobbe Mainoo, Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, 1 – Antony, Christian Eriksen, Hannibal, Victor Lindelof, Raphael Varane

Assists: 7 – Bruno Fernandes, 5 – Marcus Rashford, 3 – Diogo Dalot, Alejandro Garnacho, 2 – Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Rasmus Hojlund, Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Antony, Jonny Evans, Omari Forson, Victor Lindelof, Anthony Martial, Lisandro Martínez, Mason Mount, Facundo Pellistri, Luke Shaw

Forest – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Villa 4-2 L, West Ham 2-0 W, Newcastle 3-2 L, Bristol 1-1 (5-3 pens) W, Bournemouth 1-1 D, Arsenal 2-1 L

Goals: 9 – Chris Wood, 6 – Taiwo Awoniyi, 5 – Anthony Elanga, 4 – Morgan Gibbs-White, Callum Hudson-Odoi, 3 – Nicolás Domínguez, 2 – Danilo, 1 – Ola Aina, Willy-Arnaud Boly, Orel Mangala, Moussa Niakhaté, Andrew Omobamidele, Divock Origi, Harry Toffolo

Assists: 7 – Anthony Elanga, 4 – Morgan Gibbs-White, 3 – Taiwo Awoniyi, Gonzalo Montiel, Harry Toffolo, 2 – Sèrge Aurier, Nicolás Domínguez, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ryan Yates, 1 – Ola Aina, Felipe, Murillo, Divock Origi, Neco Williams, Chris Wood

Previous Meetings & Connections

United and Forest have met six times in the Emirates FA Cup with the first match taking place in 1935 which was a 0-0 draw resulting in a replay with United losing 3-0 dats later. In 1947 they met again with Forest winning 2-0 this time. United knew they needed improvement.

In 1981 they met again with Forest winning again, this time with a 1-0 scoreline. Eight years later they met again, winning 1-0 again in 1989. In 1990, United actually beat Forest 1-0. In six matches, United have lost four, drawn one and won one. They will need to do so much better this week.

Jonathan Greening, Scott Wootton, Roy Keane, Danny Higginbotham, Lee Martin, Andy Cole, John Curtis, Viv Anderson, Teddy Sheringham, Michael Stewart, Federico Macheda, Neil Webb, Saidy Janko, Jesse Lingard, Dean Henderson and Anthony Elanga have played for United and Forest.

Team News

Lisandro Martinez (knee), Tyrell Malacia (knee), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (other), Mason Mount (calf) and Anthony Martial (groin), Luke Shaw (thigh) and Rasmus Hojlund (other) are all ruled out due to injury, which has helped derail United’s positive start to 2024. But that is not an excuse.

Casemiro (head/face) has a 25% of featuring against Forest on Wednesday evening. It is something that United do not need right now. Omari Forson started his first Premier League match against Fulham on Saturday and more youth need to be included ahead go this match.

Nuno Varela Tavares (other), Chris Wood (thigh), Olaoluwa Aina (other), Ibrahim Sangare (other) and Willy Boly (other) have all been ruled out of the FA Cup clash with United on Wednesday evening. Forest have players to utilise though and will be well up for this match.

Predicted United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

Onana;

Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Amass;

Eriksen, Mainoo;

Garnacho, Fernandes, Antony;

Rashford

Predicted Forest Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

Sels;

Williams, Felipe, Murillo, Niakhate;

Dominguez, Danilo;

Elonga, Gibbs-White, Hudson-Odoi;

Awoniyi

Match Prediction

United have been playing a terrible brand of football for the majority of the season but since the turn of 2024, they have been fortunate that Rasmus Hojlund has been in the zone and firing for the club – which has been the difference for United in the last six matches at least.

Since the Dane was injured and is likely to miss the next three weeks of football, United have looked complacent in front of goal with a lack of creativity and hunger and no players to become the talisman of the team – which is unlikely considering the wages paid to overrated players.

Forest will be up for this challenge. In the not too distant future they have beat United – the last match of 2023 saw them overcome this United team, who looked faceless. It is likely that it will happen again with United in a similar position – a lack of belief, hunger and fight.

Nottingham Forest 1-2 Manchester United

Written by Paul


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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.