Manchester United -v- Nottingham Forest
Old Trafford, Manchester
Saturday 26 August 2023, KO 15:00 BST
Manchester United are back in Premier League action at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. Nottingham Forest will return to the Theatre of Dreams in their second season back in the top flight of English football aiming to beat United this time.
Last season, United and Forest met four times in the Premier League and the Carabao Cup with United winning four times; 3-0 and 2-0 in the league and 3-0 and 2-0 in the League Cup. Steve Cooper will be seeking to get the better of Erik ten Hag.
United opened their Premier League season with a conversion 1-0 victory over Wolves before coming unstuck in a 2-0 defeat to Spurs. Ten Hag’s side will need to find a way to bounce back from the defeat with a victory at the Theatre of Dreams.
United will need to start winning their matches otherwise they will start to get left behind. But that said, there will be 35 matches left to play after this one, so there is time to get a run of form and start turning a corner. However, after the Spurs defeat, it will take some work.
United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists
Spurs 2-0 L, Wolves 1-0 W, Athletic Club 1-1 D, Lens 3-1 W, Borussia Dortmund 3-2 L, Real Madrid 2-0 L
Goals: 1 – Raphael Varane
Assists: 1 – Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Forest – Form, Goals Scored & Assists
Sheffield United 2-1 W, Arsenal 2-1 L, Frankfurt 0-0 D, Rennes 5-0 L, PSV Eindhoven 1-0 L, Leeds United 2-0 L
Goals: 2 – Taiwo Awoniyi, 1 – Chris Wood
Assists: 2 – Serge Aurier, 1 – Anthony Elanga
Previous Meetings & Connections
United and Forest have met 12 times in the Premier League. United have won nine times, drawing twice times with Forest winning once. United have scored 36 goals, winning no penalties. Forest have scored six goals; winning no penalties.
United have kept seven clean sheets with Forest keeping none. United players have been shown 17 yellow cards and no red cards with Forest players shown 23 yellow cards and no red cards. Last season United beat Forest 3-0 in this fixture at Old Trafford.
Last season, Forest’s first season in the Premier Leah for over 20 years, United beat them 3-0 at Old Trafford with goals from Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Fred; and 2-0 at the City Ground, with goals from Antony and Diogo Dalot.
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.
Luke Shaw (muscular), Tom Heaton (calf), Kobbie Mainoo (ankle), Amad Diallo (knee), Mason Mount (groin/hip/pelvis), Tyrell Malacia (knee) and Rasmus Hojlund (lower back) have all been ruled out of the clash with Forest on Saturday due to injury.
Harry Maguire (other) is a doubt for the Forest match with him having a 50/50 chance of being involved in the match. United may need to incorporate the likes of Alvaro Fernandez, Hannibal Mejbri, Isak Hansen-Aaroen and Omari Forson into the squad this weekend.
Olaoluwa Aina (groin/hip/pelvis), Wayne Hennessey (knee), Omar Richards (groin/hip/pelvis) and Felipe de Almeida Monteiro (knee) have all been ruled out of the visit to the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League. Forest will have a strong squad though.
United could come up against former academy player Anthony Elanga this weekend with the Sweden international seeking to prove his point after being sold to Forest this summer. United will also need to watch out for Taiwo Awoniyi and Brennan Johnson too.
Predicted United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1
Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Fernandez;
Pellistri, Fernandes, Sancho;
Predicted Forest Starting XI – 3-4-3
Boly, Worrall, McKenna;
Aurier, Danilo, Mangala, Williams;
Johnson, Awoniyi, Gibbs-White
United will need to earn three points against Forest at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday after failing to get a single point against Spurs on Saturday. Ten Hag’s side were terrible in that match and it has led to some criticism from the supporters about the start to the season.
United have the capacity to get the points they need to mount a challenge of the Premier League title this season but it is unlikely that they will have enough to contend with the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal, who rivalled for the title last season.
United will need to cause a reaction in this match and show Forest similar to what they showed them last season; two win at Old Trafford and two wins at the City Ground as Forest and United faced each other four times; twice in the Carabao Cup – that United lifted.
Ten Hag will be hopeful that Rasmus Hojlund will be fit enough to appear on the bench ahead of making his debut for United after his transfer from Atlanta earlier this summer. United will require the striker to rise to the challenge of the Premier League this season.
Manchester United 2-0 Nottingham Forest
Written by John Walker