Preview: United undefeated in the last seven matches against Forest; top four push requires a win as Spurs slip up again

Rashford, Fernandes, Casemiro & Eriksen key to getting a good result?

Manchester United -v- Nottingham Forest

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Tuesday 27 December 2022, KO 20:00 GMT

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Tuesday where they will welcome Nottingham Forest to the Theatre of Dreams. It will be the second match for United following the completion of the World Cup just over a week ago. United and Forest both returned to action in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup last week with United beating Burnley 2-0 and Forest beating Blackburn Rovers 4-1. United face Charlton Athletic and Forest face Wolves in the quarter finals.

After Tottenham Hotspur drew 2-2 with Brentford on Boxing Day, United will have a good chance of cementing their chances of breaking into the top four with Spurs sitting four points clear of them with United having two matches in hand. A victory over Forest with turn that into a one point lead for Spurs with United looking likely of breaking into the top four. However, they will need to keep an eye on Newcastle United, Liverpool. Brighton and Hove Albion and even Chelsea.

Erik ten Hag’s side may just have a full squad available for the clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux on New Year’s Eve but that would depend on Lisandro Martinez returning from Argentina fit and ready to play, which may not be the case. Providing he is injury free, he could well be on the bench for that match. United need to be ending 2022 on a high with two victories, should see them break into the top four – but Spurs face Villa on New Year’s Day.

Manchester United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Burnley 2-0 W, Fulham 2-1 W, Aston Villa 4-2 W, Aston Villa 3-1 L, Real Sociedad 1-0 W, West Ham United 1-0 W

Goals: 9 – Marcus Rashford, 4 – Anthony Martial, 3 – Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, 2 – Christian Eriksen, Alejandro Garnacho, Own Goal, Scott McTominay, 1 – Casemiro, Diogo Dalot, Fred

Assists: 6 – Christian Eriksen, 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Bruno Fernandes, Alejandro Garnacho, Anthony Martial, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luke Shaw, 1 – Casemiro, Diogo Dalot, Anthony Elanga, Scott McTominay, Jadon Sancho, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Nottingham Forest – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Blackburn Rovers 4-1 W, Crystal Palace 1-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 W, Brentford 2-2 D, Arsenal 5-0 L, Liverpool 1-0 W

Goals: 4 – Taiwo Awoniyi, Brennan Johnson, 2 – Morgan Gibbs-White, Jesse Lingard, Sam Surridge, 1 – Emmanuel Dennis, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Renan Lodi, Lewis O’Brien, Ryan Yates

Assists: 2 – Cafú, Emmanuel Dennis, Morgan Gibbs-White, Jesse Lingard, Sam Surridge, 1 – Neco Williams, Ryan Yates

Previous Meetings & Connections

United and Forest have met 10 times in the Premier League. United have won seven times, drawing two times with Forest winning one time. United have scored 31 goals, winning no penalties. Forest have scored six goals, winning no penalties. Forest still sit in the relegation zone heading into 2023 so they will need to have a massive turnaround in their form to continue playing in the Premier League next season. United need to solidify their position in the top four this season.

United have kept a total of five clean sheets with Forest keeping none. There has been some disciplinary issues with United players shown 12 yellow cards and no red cards. Forest players have been shown 20 yellow cards and no red cards. United have been a team that can win matches in fine form but have also shown poor form with the recent defect to Aston Villa. Post-World Cup though, United are back on a winning streak and look determined to remain on that track.

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.

Team News

Axel Tuanzebe, Jadon Sancho and Lisandro Martinez look to be ruled out for this match because of injury, other problems and the World Cup in the case of Martinez. Diogo Dalot (thigh) has a 25% chance of featuring for United in this match, which seems unlikely whereas Harry Maguire (illness) and Raphael Varane (World Cup) both have a 50% chance of featuring for United at Old Trafford. It could well be that United will not look much different from the victory over Burnley.

Both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams featured for United in the victory over Burnley in the Carabao Cup, should could be battling to play in the right-back position in this match. Casemiro played in the back four in that match also and should Maguire or Varane, or both be passed fit for this match, he may find himself back in a midfield role. United will be seeking find their form again ahead of the New Year’s Eve clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

Moussa Niakhate, Cheikhou Kouyate, Giulian Biancone and Omar Richards have all been ruled out of the trip to Old Trafford because of injury. Dean Henderson in ineligible to feature against United due to to only being on loan this season with the Premier League new boys. Wayne Hennessey has a 75% chance of featuring against United whereas both Morgan Gibbs-White and Serge Aurier only have a 50% chance of representing Forest against United.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-3-3

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Fernandes, Casemiro, Eriksen;

Rashford, Martial, Garnacho

Predicted Nottingham Forest Starting XI – 4-3-3

Hennessey;

Aurier, Worrall, Boly, Lodi;

Yates, Mangala, Freuler;

Johnson, Awoniyi, Lingard

Match Prediction

United and Forest have met competitively 105 times in the history of both clubs. United have won 48 times, drawn 24 times and lost 33 times. The last time both teams met was back in the 1998/99 treble winning season at the City Ground with United winning that match 8-1 with Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke each scoring a brace and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coming on in the 71st minute scoring four goals. United are on a run of seven matches unbeaten by Forest, last losing in 1992.

Forest will be weakened with Dean Henderson not eligible to feature against his parent club but there is one player in the squad that will be seeking to perform well against his former club – Jesse Lingard. That said, he has only scored two goals and two assists for his club this season, so it will be a big ask from him to be the star in this match. United will need to be at the top of their game to get the better of Forest as it is matches like this that see United slip up.

Ten Hag chose a 4-3-3 formation against Burnley last week which could be the key formation for United post-Cristiano Ronaldo as they will not have to slow down the play to accommodate the forward. That said, United will be light in attacking players with Jadon Sancho out of action and Anthony Martial as the only out-and-out striker. January will need to see at least one addition in the attacking ranks or it could see United come unstuck in their big for top four this season.

Manchester United 3-0 Nottingham Forest

Written by John Walker

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About John Walker 1875 Articles
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.