Nottingham Forest -v- Manchester United
City Ground, Nottingham
Sunday 16 April 2023, KO 16:30 GMT
Manchester United return to Premier League action against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Sunday. Erik ten Hag’s side drew 2-2 with Sevilla in the UEFA Europa League quarter final first leg at Old Trafford on Thursday evening, losing both Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez to injury. The Argentinian has been ruled out for the remainder of the season, which is a massive blow and the Frenchman out for a few weeks – so there is some good news at least.
United will be boosted with their midfield with Casemiro eligible to feature in domestic competition once again and the return from injury of Christian Eriksen. Scott McTominay should be back in action too. Marcel Sabitzer scored both of United’s goals on Thursday evening, taking his tally to three goals so far this season, with an assist. He could be a decent player for the remainder of the season with United needing to find the goals to win them their matches.
United will be seeking to beat Forest and stay in the top four in the Premier League. United Sit in fourth place in the league prior to any matches being played this weekend but should Tottenham Hotspur beat Bournemouth on Saturday, United would slip into fifth place in the league. Third placed Newcastle United face Aston Villa and should they not win at Villa Park, a victory for United over Forest would send them back into third place in the Premier League.
Manchester United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists – WWLWWD
Sevilla 2-2 D, Everton 2-0 W, Brentford 1-0 W, Newcastle United 2-0 L, Fulham 3-1 W, Real Betis 1-0 W
Goals: 28 – Marcus Rashford, 10 – Bruno Fernandes, 7 – Antony, Anthony Martial, 6 – Fred, 5 – Casemiro, Own Goal, Jadon Sancho, 4 – Alejandro Garnacho, 3 – Scott McTominay, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcel Sabitzer, 2 – Christian Eriksen, Wout Weghorst, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw
Assists: 11 – Bruno Fernandes, 9 – Christian Eriksen, 8 – Marcus Rashford, 6 – Casemiro, Luke Shaw, 5 – Fred, 4 – Alejandro Garnacho, 3 – Anthony Martial, Wout Weghorst, 2 – Diogo Dalot, Anthony Elanga, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, 1 – Antony, Scott McTominay, Facundo Pellistri, Marcel Sabitzer, Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Nottingham Forest – Form, Goals Scored & Assists – DWLLWW
Aston Villa 2-0 L, Leeds United 2-1 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 D, Newcastle United 2-1 L, Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 L, Everton 2-2 D
Goals: 10 – Brennan Johnson, 5 – Taiwo Awoniyi, 3 – Sam Surridge, 2 – Emmanuel Dennis, Morgan Gibbs-White, Jesse Lingard, Ryan Yates, 1 – Sèrge Aurier, Willy Boly, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Renan Lodi, Orel Mangala, Lewis O’Brien, Chris Wood, Joe Worrall
Assists: 5 – Morgan Gibbs-White, 3 – Emmanuel Dennis, 2 – Cafú, Brennan Johnson, Jesse Lingard, Sam Surridge, Ryan Yates, 1 – Willy Boly, Danilo, Felipe, Harry Toffolo, Neco Williams
Previous Meetings & Connections
United and Forest have met 11 times in the Premier League. United have won eight times, drawing twice with Forest winning once. United have scored 34 goals, winning no penalties. Forest have scored six goals, winning no penalties. United have kept six clean sheets against Forest, who have kept none. United players have been shown 15 yellow cards with Forest players shown 21 yellow cards in this fixture. Neither team has had a player sent of in the Premier League.
This will be the fourth match between United and Forest this season. United beat Forest 3-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League back in December 2022 with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Fred scoring the goals. United also met Forest in the Carabao Cup semi final over two legs beating them 5-0 on aggregate; 3-0 at the City Ground with Rashford, Wout Weghorst and Bruno Fernandes scoring the goals with a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford with Martial and Fred scoring.
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 and Dean Henderson have all played for both United and Forest. The stand out players here are Roy Keane, who signed for United just £3.75 million, Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham – who all won the treble with United in the 1998/99 season.
Donny van de Beek (knee), Tom Heaton (ankle), Raphael Varane (other), Alejandro Garnacho (ankle) and Lisandro Martinez (ankle/foot) are all currently ruled out through injury. United lost both Varane and Martinez in the 2-2 draw with Sevilla on Thursday evening – both are currently being assessed. Marcus Rashford (groin) has a 25% chance of being available this weekend, so that is not all that likely. However, he could be back against Sevilla next week.
Luke Shaw (thigh) and Scott McTominay (knock) were both absent from the draw with Sevilla at Old Trafford on Thursday but should be back in the squad to face Nottingham Forest on Sunday with a 75% chance of being available. United seem to have gone from one injury crisis to another, which is not great but the club will have to get through it. This could be good news for Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Facundo Pellistri – who could all get more minutes at the moment.
Omar Richards (calf/shin’heel), Moussa Niakhate (thigh), Cheikhou Kouyate (thigh), Giulian Biancone (knee), Dean Henderson (thigh), Willy Boly (thigh) and Chris Wood (thigh) have all been ruled out of the visit of United to the City Ground on Sunday. Ryan Yates (shoulder) has a 50% chance of being involved whilst the trio of Serge Aurier (other), Renan Lodi (other) and Gustavo Scarpa (knee) all have 25% chances of being available this weekend, which seems less likely.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1
Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;
Antony, Fernandes, Sancho;
Predicted Nottingham Forest Starting XI – 3-4-2-1
Worrall, Felipe, McKenna;
Williams, Shelvey, Mangala, Toffolo;
United started off well against Sevilla on Thursday evening, scoring two goals in the opening 21 minutes. They will need to start in similar fashion against Forest at the City Ground on Sunday, especially with the blow that Martinez has been ruled out for the remainder of the season and Varane being out for a few weeks. United will have to make do with Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire, which could also see Luke Shaw play a central defensive role or even a formation change.
That might not happen this weekend but ahead of the second leg clash against Sevilla in the UEFA Europa League, there could be time for Ten Hag to make these changes or at least start making them for some of the bigger matches to come before the end of the season. Forest are in a pretty terrible position this season and have been dragged back into a relegation battle and United need to take advantage of this to ensure they do not have a problem finishing in the top four.
Forest are four points clear of the bottom whilst sitting in 18th position – goal difference separating them and Everton, who are 17th and still in a relegation battle. At the moment, the bottom nine teams are in a relegation battle but some of them could start moving away in the coming weeks but Forest may not be one of them looking at their fixtures. United have beaten them three times already this season and this should easily be the fourth. United should dominate the match.
Nottingham Forest 0-3 Manchester United
Written by John Walker