Category Archives: Nottingham Forest

FOREST 1-0 Brentford

Nottingham Forest went second in the Championship Table (level on points with leaders West Brom), by beating Brentford at the City Ground on Saturday. In the process making it 10 league games unbeaten.

The match was one in which both sides were happy to play through midfield and be patient, which meant not many goal scoring chances were created. Forest controlled possession of the ball better than Brentford but often opted to play a safe pass rather than one that would open up a defence.

The closest either side came to scoring in the first half was from a Thiago Silva free-kick which went just wide from around 30 yards out. Brentford also threatened from a free kick as they had an effort from Mathias Jensen deflected, which forced Forest keeper Brice Samba to pull off a very good save. The second half was played at a higher tempo as Forest looked to make the break through, they had the chance to do so when Lewis Grabban was played in but was denied by some good defending and an equally good save.

It wasn’t long after that Forest did take the lead. It came from a corner which found Joe Worrall free at the far post who headed back, allowing Captain Ben Watson to finish powerfully and high into the net. This was Watson’s second winning goal in consecutive home matches for Forest and it came in the same minute as his winning goal in the previous home game against Barnsley. Watson had previously failed to find the net since his transfer to Forest in January 2018. It’s been quite a turnaround for Watson this season, who received much criticism last season from the Forest faithful. His performances have much improved and he now has them singing his own chant.

Forest were reasonably comfortable in defence of the lead, they worked extremely hard to get men behind the ball and deny Brentford any space to create chances with their renowned passing style.

It has been a promising start to the season for Forest having topped the table for the first time in 5 years. It’s fair to say it wasn’t expected, following another summer of changes – but so far the change of manager and his subsequent signings have paid off.

Lamouchi clearly knows how to get results and in different ways. From back to wall displays at Leeds and Charlton where Forest came from behind to earn valuable points, deserved wins away at Fulham and Swansea where great defence was matched by excellent counter-attacking, and finally grinding out wins or draws against teams who are difficult to break down at the City Ground. These are all things that have let Forest down in the past.

Another significant difference is the extra strength and power in central midfield, previously Forest could be bullied by teams like Millwall, but the signings of Samba Sow and Alfa Semedo and extra togetherness mean this is no longer likely.


Nottingham Forest 3-0 Derby County

This was a second-round League Cup tie like no other. Both sides made significant changes to their sides from their last league outing, however, no other tie had the same atmosphere and meant as much as this one.

Forest made 8 changes and Derby made 10, although if you looked at the line ups, Forest’s was the more familiar. It surprisingly included a star man in Joe Lolley who has been carrying a knock and therefore his inclusion was not expected. Other players that have featured regularly either as a starter or from the bench were Albert Adomah, Joe Worrall, Alfa Semedo. There was a first start for 18-year-old Brennan Johnson, while Joao Carvalho was named on the bench for the first time this season following an injury.

The Derby line up included many untested youngsters and this proved to be a pivotal reason why the match went the way it did.

Derby started with plenty of youthful enthusiasm and had a few long-range efforts early on that didn’t worry the Forest Keeper. Once the game settled down, Forest took charge and their first chance came to Rafa Mir, but his effort was well wide.

Mir then had two further opportunities to open his account for Forest, but he lashed at both displaying that he is a bit too eager to grab his first goal for Forest.

Forest took the lead from a Joe Lolley corner which found an expertly timed run by Albert Adomah who from close range grabbed for his second goal in three games, after netting in Forest’s draw at Charlton.

Just ten minutes later and The Reds had doubled their advantage with a fine header from Lolley. Adomah turned provider as he crossed for Lolley to head into the bottom corner past Ben Hamer who stood no chance.

Both Sides were playing out from the back but it was Forest who were using the tactic more effectively, John Bostock often dropping deep to collect from the back and starting attacks, this allowed Matty Cash to move higher up the pitch from his right-back starting position and in turn, Joe Lolley could drift infield.

Derby lost possession on a few occasions deploying the tactic which could’ve cost them. Former Red, Jamie Paterson created an opportunity for Lee Buchanan but he blazed way over Brice Samba’s crossbar as Forest took the lead going into the break.

Forest started the second half brightly and could have added a third when Cash’s effort was just deflected wide. From the resulting corner, Mir met Lolley’s floated delivery but his header was caught by Hamer.

Derby started to improve and created a half-chance for substitute Jack Marriot but his snap-shot was superbly blocked by Joe Worrall, who was fantastic all evening.

Paterson then showed a lack of discipline when he first appealed for a penalty, took a corner to which he was roundly jeered by the Forest Fans and took his frustration out on Cash as he broke forward and duly got himself booked.

Forest, however, put extra gloss on the victory in fortuitous fashion. In the 79th minute, when Curtis Davies’ clearance cannoned off substitute, Carvalho and past Hamer in a flash.

Forest saw the game out to continue a good recent record against the rams and retain the Brian Clough Trophy. They have now won back to back derbies for the first time since Billy Davies’s first spell as manager, haven’t conceded in 4 derbies and still haven’t tasted defeat to the Rams at the City Ground in 6 meetings, winning 4.

As a Forest fan, the most pleasing aspects were the style of play deployed and the strength in depth that the squad is displaying.

Despite making 8 changes, Forest seamlessly continued where they left off against Fulham (a 2-1 win at Craven Cottage). The way they continuously passed the ball with a purpose and stretched the opposition out wide was very pleasing to watch and is something we haven’t seen since Billy Davies was in charge.

There was a sad scene off the pitch as a Derby supporter looked in a very bad condition, after around 70 minutes into the game. Paramedics were called to the scene and laid the man on a stretcher and treated him. News as to the extent of his condition and the cause has yet to emerge but from my position in the crowd, the man looked to have gained unconsciousness.

In other off the pitch news, there was an altercation whilst Derby substitutes were warming down and Forest ground staff were tending to the pitch after the match. A member of the Forest staff has told me that his colleague asked the Derby players to move so they could tend to that area of the pitch.

This prompted an unnecessary angry response from Derby Captain Richard Keogh who pushed the women over, she was taken to hospital with knee injuries and is in the process of suing Keogh for ABH. Nottingham Forest and Derby County are said to be investigating the incident.

Lamouchi Getting to Work

Forest’s new manager is getting down to business in the transfer market bringing in 5 new players in the past week having only been in the position for 2 and a half weeks. He has brought in midfielders Tiago Silva and Alfa Semedo from Feirense and Benfica respectively. Silva joins on a two-year contract whilst Semedo on a year’s loan. Yuri Ribeiro has also joined from Benfica on a permanent deal and goalkeeper Arijanet Muric has joined on a season-long loan from Manchester City. Today Albert Adomah has been signed on a 2 year deal and with Sammy Ameobi joining before Lamouchi’s arrival Forest’s number of additions so far this summer has reached six.

20-year-old Kosovo international Muric is a highly-rated shot stopper who made the move to Manchester City in 2015 with a reputation of being one the brightest young goalkeepers in the game. Muric was given his full debut in September 2018 as he featured in City’s run to the Carabao Cup final last season, playing in their 3-0 victory at Oxford and he went on to perform superbly in the quarter-final at Leicester, saving two penalties in the shoot-out to ensure City progressed to the last four. Those displays earned him international recognition from Kosovo and he has since played in their last three European Championship qualifiers and is expected to be between the sticks when his nation play England in Southampton in September. Speaking shortly after he signed for The Reds he said: “I know the Championship quite well, I spent a lot of time watching it on TV last season and I know it’s a really tough league. I’m here to fight for the number-one spot in the team and to make sure I have some game time. Forest have been chasing Muric all summer as Costos Pantilimon was criticised (sometimes harshly) by many Forest Fans last season however some competition for the goalkeeping jersey can only be healthy and in Muric they certainly have signed someone with pedigree. Pantilimon kept 15 clean-sheets in the Championship last term, but the arrival of Muric means he now faces a battle to be first-choice. Given Forest also have Luke Steele and Jordan Smith, at least one of those three will be allowed to leave – and Pantilimon is understood to be on the radar of fellow Evangelos Marinakis-owned club Olympiacos.

21-year-old defensive midfielder Semedo already has Champions League experience under his belt having played three times in the competition last season for Benfica. Having graduated from Benfica’s academy in 2016, Semedo had successful spells with Portuguese sides Vilafranquense and Moreirense before he returned to the Estádio da Luz ready for the start of the 2018-19 campaign. Perhaps the highlight of his career so far came in October 2018 when he scored the winner in Benfica’s 3-2 victory at AEK Athens in the group stage of the Champions League. Semedo spent the second half of the season on loan at Espanyol. He certainly seems a promising signing with good experience already under his belt at his age and the potential to be a key man for Forest using his strength and power to break up play and start of attacks. He is highly regarded, with Forest beating competition from Burnley, Middlesbrough and Wigan for his signature who were all understood to have been monitoring his progress.

22-year-old defender Ribeiro also progressed through the Benfica academy, before he spent the 2017-18 season on loan with Portuguese side Rio Ave where he made 25 appearances and scored one goal in the 2-0 victory over Boavista . He joins Forest with Europa League experience to his name having featured in Benfica’s victories over Galatasaray and Dinamo Zagreb in the competition last season and has previously made appearances for Portugal Under 21s at international level. He is likely to be understudy to Jack Robinson at left back but will provide a more natural deputy in that position to Ben Osborn.

Silva is a former Portugal under 21 international known as a technically-gifted midfielder, the 26-year-old is another product of the Benfica academy but made his professional debut for Portuguese side Belenenses in August 2013. Silva made a permanent move to Portuguese Primeira Liga side Feirense in the summer of 2018 and enjoyed a successful 2018-19 campaign as he scored five goals and weighed in with nine assists from midfield.  In his first interview since signing Silva said

“I’ve only been here for a day or so but everyone has made me feel very welcome and part of the group. It seems like a really good group of players here so I’m looking forward to getting started. “I already know two of the players; Tobias Figueiredo from my time with the Portuguese national team and Joao Carvalho from when I was in the Benfica academy so at least there will be two friendly faces.

“I prefer to play in central midfield, as a number eight, and make sure I can win the ball in the middle of the pitch. Making assists is important for me as well and hopefully I can contribute some goals to the team also.

Silva chipped in with nine assists for former club Feirense last season and the midfielder says proving opportunities for other players is a big part of his game.

 It remains to be seen if Silva will operate in that number 8 position or as an Attacking Midfield and provide Joa Carvalho some competition for that position but he should add some needed creativity and flair to the ranks.

A concern from some fans is that Forest are adopting a similar strategy to last summer in bringing in players from Portugal, Last season they signed Carvalho and made Tobias Figueiredo’s loan move permanent along with Gil Dias and Diego Goncalves on loan. With the later 2 largely disappointing, But who is to say these will work the same or not. The main problem for last summer’s signings was their physicality and certainly in Semedo’s case this should not be a problem and they could become as popular as Carvalho has.

Former Aston Villa winger Albert Adomah has joined as a free agent after being released from Villa Park and will add more power, strength and experience to Forest’s front line. The winger says he cannot wait to get out and play at The City Ground in front of The Reds’ faithful.

Speaking to iFollow Forest he said: “Every time I’ve been here, the support has always stood out to me. I remember playing at The City Ground for Bristol City and the atmosphere was really intense. I know the attendances were really strong last season so I’m hoping to be able to show my talent in front of a massive City Ground crowd. “Having been an Aston Villa player  for the past few years, it’s an absolute pleasure to sign for another massive club and hopefully I can show people what I can do. It is a really exciting time for me.” “I’m here to play football but I’m also here to be successful. Promotion has to be the number-one aim for a club like this and that’s what I’m here to achieve. “I’m excited to meet my new teammates and take part in my first training session here at Forest. I’ve heard there is a really strong group of lads here so I’m looking forward to meeting them all and getting started.”

Adomah experienced the thrill of promotion during his time at both Middlesbrough and Aston Villa and the winger says he hopes to use those memories to full effect in the upcoming Sky Bet Championship campaign.

Sammy Ameobi will also add to Lamouchi’s attacking options, being capable of playing as a winger or striker. The former Bolton Wanderers man has had decent runouts in friendlies against Alfreton and Dundee, weighing in with an assist and hitting the post against the former. He like Adomah is a physical forward with pace and this something Forest lacked. With the deal being a free transfer and a one year contract it is a low risk move.

Forest still have work to do in the Transfer Market both in the incoming and outgoing departments , The squad is top-heavy on numbers and players need to be moved on who are unlikely to feature in order boost wages available for new additions. With Semedo’s arrival Ben Watson and Liam Bridcutt fall in to this category, Peterborough United are reportedly interested in Bridcutt. Claudio Yacob is said to be interesting fellow Evangelos Marinakis-owned club Olympiacos. However I feel Yacob is the better option to keep rather than the other 2 defensive midfielders mentioned .

Another player whose future is in doubt is Daryl Murphy with reports suggesting he has been told he can leave and possibly returning to Ipswich. Jason Cummings and Zach Clough are others that futures lie elsewhere and deals need to found for.

In terms of further additions Forest need another goal scorer as to ensure not too much of a burden is on Lewis Grabban. Whilst Karim Ansarifard showed glimpses towards the end of last season and Tyler Walker may get his chance I feel more fire power is needed to mount a promotion challenge. It concerns me that Forest have not been linked with many strikers, Only Christian Stuani fits this bill, however the signings of Adomah and Ameobi do lessen the need for a forward as both will provide gaols however not enough and from mainly a wide posoition. 

There have been suggestions that Sheffield United want to sign Ben Osborn, I have mixed views on this as Ben has been a superb servant and grafter for Forest, he provides the odd moment of real quality and his work rate is tremendous and these attributes could be missed if allowed to leave. However he has 1 year left on his contract and if a bid is received close to 5 Million then it may be time for him to move on and despite him being Forest through and through the chance to play in the premier league doesn’t come everyday.

As for where else the Reds need to strengthen…. A right-back may well be on their list, to push Tendayi Darikwa for a place in the team. Sam Byram impressed on loan last season despite being hampered by injury, and parent club West Ham United are said to be willing to let him leave. It remains to be seen where he will end up though, with reports he was offered to West Bromwich Albion as part of a £10m bid for Salomon Rondon which also included Jordan Hugill as a makeweight.

Yet another Managerial Change at Forest

Martin O’Neil has become the latest manager not to be given time to be judged fairly by the Forest Board. This time it has been suggested that some of the players were not happy with O’Neil and let the board know their feelings. The identity of the players and what exactly they were unhappy about remains unknown but given how Lewis Grabban’s and Joao Carvalho’s times under O’Neil went then they are strong candidates, Adlene Guediora is another name some have suggested was involved. Whether they were right to complain or just be professional and get on with their jobs is also up for debate. On one hand players won’t perform to their best if they are not happy and on the other the manager is in charge and his way goes. Therefore for the change to be made we must assume the members of the board agreed with what the players were saying, we can also assume they were having the same thoughts for a while as the new man was through the door immediately.

The New Man at the helm is unknown quantity Sabri Lamouchi, Who is he? Was the question on many forest fans lips upon the announcement, well Lamouchi was most recently in charge of Rennes in the French top flight, taking them from the relegation places to qualify for the Europa League in 2017-18. He also led the Ivory Coast to the 2014 World Cup as the top-ranked side in Africa and the quarter-finals of the 2013 African Cup of Nations, that side contained the likes of Yaya Toure and Didier Drogba therefore those achievements were not good enough and he lost that job because of it. One positive has emerged from his appointment and that is he plays an Aitor Karanka style 4-2-3-1 formation, which the players performed better using and are used to therefore the transition should be fairly straight forward. Although the Nottingham Evening Post have said at Rennes, the Frenchman enjoyed playing different variations of a 4-5-1 and a 4-4-2 formation, deploying the tactic in 56 percent of his sides matches across all competitions. The post also added he didn’t tend to over-focus on dominating possession of the ball – they ranked 11th in the division in terms of ball possession with an average of 48 percent. However, they did rank third in the division in terms of highest number of passes into the final third and fourth in terms of highest number of progressive runs. Whilst Lamouchi’s record in terms of attack suggests there is work to be done at Forest next season, his ability to create a sturdy defence looks guaranteed. With him at the helm, only PSG, Lyon and Montpellier conceded fewer goals than Rennes total of 29 goals.

Guy Moussi, who knows the new Forest manager well from his time in French football has said appointing Sabri Lamouchi is akin to Derby recruiting Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard heading to Rangers and Zinedine Zidane’s revival of Real Madrid. Moussi is convinced Lamouchi is a man who will command respect in the Forest dressing room, because of what he has achieved in the game.

French football expert Julien Laurens says Sabri Lamouchi’s man management style gives him the potential to be a success with Forest. “He had a very good career as a player, he was a very intelligent midfielder who was very hard working,” Laurens told BBC5Live. “Lamouchi’s playing career saw him play for European giants Lyon and the former French international, Inter and Marseille But he is someone who is very demanding with his own players, who plays quite attractive football, even though he is quite pragmatic in how he wants his teams to play.”

Still the anguish from forest fans would’ve been less tempered if an experienced championship manager like Chris Houghton was brought in. The last time Forest appointed an unknown foreign manager it was Phillip Montanier which was a complete disaster and almost ended in relegation. However who knows he could be the next Nuno Espírito Santo, only time will tell. However one thing is for sure Forest need stability and I was more confident of that under O’Neil despite some of his tactics at least he knew the British game and forest inside out.

The timing was out of the blue and leaves just over a month for him to stamp his authority, but better to make the change now than once the season has started. As for what players Forest may bring in during the transfer window this is now a complete mystery and who and why did they sanction the signing of Sammy Ameobi?

Carabao Cup: Round One Draw Announced

The Carabao Cup Round One draw was made on Thursday evening from Morrisons, Colindale, North West London.

There were two stand out ties from the draw with AFC Wimbledon playing MK Dons, while newly-promoted Salford City will face Leeds United.

The draw was conducted by two former England internationals in John Barnes and Ray Parlour and was split into two regions – North and South.

Huddersfield Town, the hightest-ranked team in the Northern Section, will face Lincoln City while the highest ranked Southern side, West Bromwich Albion, will face Millwall.

Every club from Sky Bet League One and League Two enter the Carabao Cup in Round One, along with 22 Championship clubs.

Only Cardiff City and Fulham – who finished 18th and 19th respectively in the Premier League last season, will enter in Round Two, alongside the clubs from the Premier League, not in European competitions.

The first round matches are scheduled to take place week commencing Monday 12thAugust, with the final due to take place on March 1, 2020.

Full Round One Draw can be seen below:

North Draw

Tranmere Rovers v Hull City

Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers

Wigan Athletic v Stoke City

Port Vale v Burton Albion

Nottingham Forest v Fleetwood Town

Bradford City v Preston North End

Blackpool v Macclesfield Town

Blackburn Rovers v Oldham Athletic

Mansfield Town v Morecambe

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland

Scunthorpe United v Derby County

Rochdale v Bolton Wanderers

Huddersfield Town v Lincoln City

Middlesbrough v Crewe Alexandra

Shrewsbury Town v Rotherham United

Sheffield Wednesday v Bury

Salford City v Leeds United

Barnsley v Carlisle United

South Draw

Colchester United v Swindon Town

AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons

Oxford United v Peterborough United

Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City

Plymouth Argyle v Leyton Orient

Wycombe Wanderers v Reading

Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers

Gillingham v Newport County

Stevenage v Southend United

Luton Town v Ipswich Town

Walsall v Crawley Town

Bristol Rovers v Cheltenham Town

Brentford v Cambridge United

Coventry City v Exeter City

Swansea City v Northampton Town