Saturday 25 November 2023 sees Brighton visit the City Ground facing an injury crisis and selection issues of which could work in Forest’s favour and see them in with a good chance of the three points.
The Seagulls are missing Pervis Estupinan, Solly March, Danny Welbeck – all key contributors at the start of the season – as well as veteran James Milner and central midfield partner Mo Dahoud.
This is made worse with Kaoru Mitoma, Brighton’s flying Japanese winger set to miss Saturday’s clash, while Evan Ferguson is a doubt after picking up an injury on international duty with the Republic of Ireland and captain, Lewis Dunk withdrawing from the latest England squad.
This sees Brighton down to the barebones as they struggle to balance league and European fixtures but despite this, Roberto de Zerbi’s side are unbeaten jn five, albeit their only two wins coming against Ajax in the Europa League and their last three Premier League matches ending in 1-1 draws.
Forest aren’t quite out of the woods themselves with injuries this season however, as Anthony Elanga and Taiwo Awoniyi picked up injuries during the break, the latter picking up a groin issue after only just returning from the sidelines with a similar injury.
Elanga pulled out of the Sweden squad with an unknown injury whilst summer signing Callum Hudson-Odoi remains out with a pulled hamstring.
This leaves Steve Cooper with a sticky selection issue, particularly up front with strikers Chris Wood and Divock Origi competing for the sole starting berth.
Wood has proven he can live up to the task in Awoniyi’s absence, netting a brace against Luton in a 2-2 draw in October.
While Felipe remains out with a knee injury, the defence is pretty set in stone with Odysseas Vlachodomos continuing to impress in between the sticks with the pairing of Murillo and Niakhate in front of him accompanied by Ola Aina and Harry Toffolo at wing back.
That centre back duo were immense against Aston Villa as Forest humbled the Villains at the City Ground but even if Murillo wasn’t passed fit, the experienced Willy Boly is more than capable to step in for Steve Cooper.
Forest will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 3-2 loss against West Ham before the break and Brighton, previously a side to be feared only a few months ago now look like they could be there for the taking if Steve Cooper can play his cards right.
On current form, Brighton’s attack is a far cry from the free flowing exhibit that scored goals for fun and placed them at the summit of the Premier League in September and if Forest’s defence can hold out like we know it can, a fourth clean sheet of the season could be earned.
Regardless of injuries to Forest frontmen, whoever starts up top should be more than capable of holding their own and forcing the Brighton back line towards their own box, allowing wing backs to overlap and provide crosses from which Forest can capitalise.
Football is football and time and time again it’s proven it doesn’t matter what’s written on the paper that defines results.
It’s a tough game for any side in the league but Forest, buoyed by their home fans at a packed out City Ground could continue their climb up the table, potentially reaching 12th if results go their way.
Platform Predicts: Nottingham Forest 2-1 Brighton