Tag 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.

https://247-football.com/2019/07/03/yet-another-managerial-change-at-forest/

https://247-football.com/2019/07/12/lamouchi-getting-to-work/

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.

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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.

Forest Transfer Review

Many Forest Fans were left disappointed with the season due to the fact the play off push desterilised however I remained positive that significant progress was made and there was still excitement of the possibility of mounting a late charge, which made a change from mid table obscurity/ relegation possibility. Forest finished 9th on 66 points a vast improvement from the season before when we ended 17th on 53 points and the season previous survived relegation on goal difference on the last day. Some might say with the money we spent last summer there was bound to be a big improvement and that the play offs should have been reached however I believe that this was too much to expect.

Forest must now build from last season by first and foremost keeping their best players from last season meaning it is imperative that they resist bids for Joe Lolley and not move on João Carvalho. These two are the most creative assets in the squad and both have been linked with moves away, Joe is receiving interest from his boyhood club Aston Villa and whilst this must tempt Joe he seems to be settled at Forest and not one to be pulled by money offered by the new premiership side and so far Villa have not offered what I consider to be his true value. João has been linked with a move to owner Evangelos Marinakis other club Olympiacos, this to me would be ridiculous and shows that the owner may have more interest in the Greek side. João may not have got as much game time under Martin O’Neil however he still made an impact and was brilliant against Middlesbrough. Forest lack creativity as it is and need to add in this department not weaken it.

Another two players that were on loan last season and should be looked at bringing back permanently are Jack Colback and Sam Byram. Jack was runner up in the player of the season awards to Lolley and showed an incredible level of consistency at the base of midfield. His wages and potential interest from other clubs may be stumbling blocks however. Also the future of Colback’s club manager Rafael Benitez may be delaying negotiations between the clubs so the sooner that is sorted the better. If Colback does not sign we have the options of Ben Watson,Claudio Yacob and Liam Bridcutt But they club will look to move at least two of those players this summer and have been linked with midfielder Harrison Reed of Southampton. Reed spent last season on loan at Blackburn, helping them to consolidate their position in the second tier, having made the step up from League One – and he made 36 appearances for Rovers, scoring 3 goals. 

 I am a big fan of Sam Byram and was delighted when he signed on loan last year unfortunately he was injured soon after joining and we didn’t get to see much of him. I would still pursue with his signing however because he has massive potential which persuaded West Ham to buy him in the first place and fits perfectly in a right wing back if we stick with that formation.

Forest’s prime targets in the Transfer Market should be a striker who can back up Grabban in the goal scoring department, it was proved last season that to get in the top 6 you need more than one 15 goals a season striker, WBA had Gayle and Rodriguez and Sheffield United had Sharp and Mcgoldrick. Secondly they need extra creativity as either an attacking midfielder or winger/wing back. So far we have been linked with Gavin Whyte, Cristian Stuani, Hosam Aiesh, Asmir Begovic, Martin Olsson, Kamil Grosicki, Callum O’Dowda, Lawrence Shankland and James Mclean. I have to admit to not knowing much about many of these targets however I’ll assess each individually.

Gavin Whyte

The Oxford United winger who the Reds are said to have tabled a £2m bid for is a Northern Ireland International who Martin O’Neil has been said to be scouting whilst in action in the euro 2020 qualifiers. He was a regular for the League One team during his first season in English football, making 47 appearances and scoring nine goals, which included a hat-trick. He fits the bill of young winger however I am not sure he is of the quality required and worth the money being asked for with some reports suggesting Oxford want as much as £4 million.

Cristian Stuani

Scored 19 league goals for Girona in La Liga last season, has had his buy-out clause halved to £6.1m after his side were relegated to the Segunda Division. Forest face competition from none other than giants Barcelona who are said to be waiting on any deal for Antoine Griezmann before making a decision. Barca’s interest shows he is held in high regard however £6.1m is a big fee for someone who hardly set the world alight at Middlesbrough. On the other hand he could be the striker to back up Grabban in the goal scoring department.

Hosam Aiesh

Ostersunds FK’s British boss Ian Burchnall has confirmed that the club are yet to receive any bids for the forward. But the former Bradford City and Leeds United coach revealed that scouts were circling at last month’s 3-1 defeat to Djurgarden. Forest, Leeds and Reading have all been linked with a move for the 24-year-old who has been in fine form for the Swedish outfit over the past 12 months. Earlier this year, Aiesh revealed that he had been promised by chairman Daniel Kindberg that any bid that matches his two million euro valuation would be accepted. The Swedish international has already told the club that he wished to leave during this summer’s window.

Asmir Begovic

Would be an excellent addition, he admits his season at Bournemouth has been one of frustration, as speculation surrounding his future grows. Begovic is believed to be valued at around £7m, and understood to earn in the region of £70,000 per week on the south coast, baring this all in mind a move to the Championship would appear unlikely. Another goalkeeping option is Manchester City goalkeeper Arijanet Muric on loan. Reds boss Martin O’Neill and goalkeeper coach Seamus McDonagh watched the Kosovan international help his side to a win in Bulgaria last weekend. The duo were sufficiently impressed with the performance of the 20-year-old and the Championship club have now installed him as one of their summer targets.  

Martin Olsson

A player I rate and would suit the wing back formation perfectly, On Friday the Sun claimed that the 31-year-old was set to hold talks with Rangers However, it has now emerged that the former Norwich defender, who is available on a free this summer, wants to stay in England and would favour that over a move north of the border.

Kamil Grosicki

Another player I rate highly having been impressed with his performances for Poland and Hull over the past few years. The Reds are likely to face a battle if they’re to sign one of the second tier’s most potent wingers. The £2.5m rated 30-year-old has also been linked with a move to Middlesbrough during a fine season on Humberside, Grosicki netted nine times for Nigel Adkins’ side, racking up 12 assists along the way

Callum O’Dowda

This link has been made by reds legend Kenny Burns following O’Dowda’s support of Martin O’Neill this week, while away with the Republic of Ireland squad. “I think with Martin it was more that he made me feel like a better player than I actually am,” said the Callum star. This would be a good signing however this fells like Burns putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 5.

Lawrence Shankland

A free agent as his Ayr United contract comes to an end this summer, and a prolific season in the Scottish Championship. Now Ayr manager Ian McCall has revealed the 23-year-old front man has two English sides and a leading club in Scotland all vying for his signature adding “There are a couple of pretty sizeable clubs in England where I’m pretty sure he would play. One in particular would suit him, a sleeping giant type club. Could this be Forest? Maybe.

James Mclean

Was linked with a move to Forest in January and would come with a lot of baggage having been the subject of a torrent of abuse at the City Ground just seconds into the Championship fixture between Forest and Stoke in November over his decision not to wear a poppy. Despite this he remains a good player. Another forward being speculated about is Heracles forward Brandley Kuwas. The forward can play either though the middle or on the right and has proven himself as a robust player, able to burst his way through defences using a combination of power, speed and skill.

Five young Championship players who could step up to the Premier League this summer

The quality of the Championship has undoubtedly soared over recent years and as a result their are many young players making a name for themselves in English footballs second tier. With players such as Dele Alli and Harry Maguire beginning their careers outside the top flight and now starring in the Premier League with full international honours, it is clear that there is real talent out there. But which young Championship stars are ready to make the step up now?

Mason Mount, Derby (Loan)- The young loanee from Chelsea has really made an impact at Derby this season and has led them all the way to the play off final. With 11 goals and 6 assists the 20 year old has been in fine form despite a few injury troubles, and with Chelsea’s current transfer embargo Mount could become a key player for Sarri’s side next term. If not he will almost definitely be on loan at another Premier League club after proving he is a cut above Championship level. He has all the key skills a good attacking midfielder needs but is also not afraid to do the dirty work, tracking back and putting challenges in, expect big things from Mount over the coming years.

Daniel James, Swansea- Heavily linked with a big money move to Manchester United, Swansea winger Daniel James has turned heads with his incredible pace, dribbling skills and end product. The 21 year old was close to joining Leeds in January but the deal fell through at the last minute, contrary to many other players who’s form nosedives after a failed transfer, James continued his stellar form and recorded three goals and five assists after Christmas to take his overall tally to 5 goals and 10 assists in 38 games. The Welsh international went viral earlier this season after a goal he scored against Brentford highlighted his immense pace as he sped through the whole defence from just inside his own box and finished well.

Marcus Tavernier, Middlesbrough- Brother of Rangers captain James Tavernier, Marcus has made a name for himself on his own right after a string of promising performances for Tony Pulis Middlesbrough during 18/19. The left winger has broke through this season making 27 appearances and recording four goals and three assists with many feeling he would be the perfect replacement for Ryan Fraser at Bournemouth. Eddie Howe has a reputation for giving football league prospects a chance such as Callum Wilson and David Brooks and a move to the South Coast could be the perfect place for the 20 year old to develop.

Che Adams, Birmingham- The 22 year old striker has just enjoyed the best season of his career with Birmingham and has bagged 22 goals in 48 games, not missing a single League game and finally turning that potential into consistent performances. His finishing has dramatically improved and he is now much stronger, allowing him to hold the ball up much better and bring teammates into play. Premier League clubs such as Burnley, Crystal Palace and Southampton are interested in Adams and it seems inevitable the Leicester born goal scorer will be playing Premier League football next season, the only question is where?

Jarrod Bowen, Hull- Winger Jarrod Bowen has built on a very good 17/18 and upped the ante this term grabbing more goals, assists and playing more games. Playing predominantly off the right hand side cutting inside onto his left foot, Bowen has bewildered many fullbacks this season and almost managed the impossible of carrying a very average Hull side to the play offs. Unsurprisingly he picked up the player of the year, the fans player of the year and the players player of the year at the end of season awards and rumour has it Champions League finalists Tottenham are sniffing around the 22 year old.

Who do you think would have the biggest impact on the Premier League?

Why has Jorge Grant failed at Mansfield Town?

When Jorge Grant signed for the Stags back in January on a loan deal till the end of the season, the transfer was met with much praise from Mansfield fans and left other League Two clubs envious of the shrewd business that the Nottinghamshire-based side had done to acquire the talents of Grant. However, after four months at the club, it appears Grant has split options at the One Call Stadium with some fans smitten by his skillful on-the-ball ability and dead-ball prowess. On the other hand, some of the Mansfield faithful have questioned his commitment and attitude towards playing for the Stags.

Grant joined Mansfield back in January on a loan deal until the end of the season from fellow Nottinghamshire-based club, Nottingham Forest. Grant had started the season out on loan at newly promoted Luton Town. However, after failing to establish a first-team spot in Nathan Jones’ side, Grant was recalled back to Forest who wanted to send the 24-year-old attacking midfield out on loan to gain key crucial game time.

Mansfield, along with a plethora of other suitors in both League One and Two, wanted to sign the midfielder, however Mansfield acted swiftly to secure the signing. The Stags also had the help of another Forest loanee and friend of Jorge Grant, Tyler Walker. Walker convinced the Banbury born midfielder to sign for the Stags and it seemed to fans and pundits that this could be the golden combination to help Mansfield achieve promotion to League One.

The first few games for Grant were stupendous with the attacking midfielder showing his range of talents that he has at his disposal. In Grant’s first five games for the Stags, the on-loan Forest midfielder contributed to six goals. (4 goals & 2 assists) Fans couldn’t believe their eyes and felt Grant was the missing piece in the Mansfield promotion puzzle.

However, after a tremendous start, Grant would fail to provide a goal or an assist for 533 minutes of football and would see an increasing amount of criticism head his way. Grant eventually broke his dry spell with a corner ball that found the head of EFL team of the season member Krystian Pearce. However, Grant’s game wasn’t remembered for his assist rather for throwing a childlike strop as he was substituted after 59 minutes.

But why has Grant failed to fit in at Mansfield? It appears that Grant is a highly talented individual who has the ability to turn a game on its head however it appears Grant doesn’t fit in the Mansfield system when playing better quality opponents. Under David Flitcroft, Mansfield have played a 3-5-2 system or a 3-4-1-2. In this system, Grant plays the furthest forward midfielder who drifts wide allowing wingbacks to cut inside and allowing midfielders Bishop and Mellis space to run into.

This system when playing an inferior opponent suits Grant to a tee with the midfielder allowed a free role allowing him to find space and time on the ball. However, when playing a higher class opponent or one that overloads the midfield similar to the tactics adopted by Oldham on Easter Monday, it means Grant has to track back and drop back into a flatter midfield three.

Grant has struggled to do this job. It just doesn’t suit his play style and leads to Mansfield being overrun in the middle of the park and the Stags being forced to carry a man for large parts of the game. If David Flitcroft wants to accommodate Grant into his side he would have to change from the reliable 3-5-2 and 3-4-1-2 that he has used all season and play Grant in either a left or right midfield role that Grant is much more accustomed to playing.

Case in point last season, the Banbury born midfielder racked up an impressive 19 goals and 9 assists playing for local rivals Notts County. During his loan spell with the Magpies Grant was deployed predominantly on the left side of midfield but also being used on the right.

With a wider role, Grant’s defensive responsibilities were reduced meaning he could concentrate on his attacking output however some County fans did question his effort during games starting at times that Grant was reluctant to track back.  

It’s clear to see Grant is a highly talented individual who can enthrall fans with his ability but lacks the correct attitude and defensive abilities to play in certain systems.  

Why do you think Jorge Grant has failed at Mansfield?