HomeFootball NewsNottingham Forest vs Manchester United: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and...

Nottingham Forest vs Manchester United: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

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The State of Play

Since Nuno Espirito Santo took the reins at Nottingham Forest, there’s been an immediate upswing in performance, marked by a win and a loss in his first two matches over the festive period. The defeat, however, had its share of challenges, with Willy Boly being sent off in the 23rd minute, resulting in a 3-2 loss at home to Bournemouth, including a 94th-minute winning goal by Dominic Solanke.

Undeterred, Nottingham Forest bounced back with an impressive showing at St James’ Park on Boxing Day. Overcoming an initial goal deficit, they triumphed 3-1 against Newcastle, with former Magpie Chris Wood delivering an outstanding hat-trick.

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Erik ten Hag found a glimmer of relief on Boxing Day as his Manchester United side, trailing by two goals, staged a dramatic comeback to defeat title-contending Aston Villa 3-2 at Old Trafford. Prior to this crucial win, United had managed just a single point in their preceding three matches.

With only ten victories in their 19 league games this season, United are locked in a battle to maintain their position in the top seven. The turnaround against Villa prevented them from potentially slipping into the bottom half this weekend, ensuring they enter the New Year above teams like Wolves and Bournemouth.

Team News

Taiwo Awoniyi continues to be a crucial absentee for Nottingham Forest, with the Nigerian striker expected to remain unavailable until at least mid-March. On a positive note, Willy Boly is set to return from suspension, providing a boost to The Reds.

For Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, Ibrahim Sangare will be absent due to suspension, while defensive pair Felipe and Serge Aurier are ruled out with injuries.

As Manchester United head south to the City Ground this weekend, they continue to miss key defenders such as Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martinez, who are anticipated to make their returns in early 2024. However, Erik ten Hag grapples with ongoing absences, including Casemiro, Mason Mount, Victor Lindelof, and Harry Maguire, although all four are nearing their comebacks. Additionally, doubts loom over the availability of Amad Diallo, Anthony Martial, Sofyan Amrabat, and Luke Shaw.

Expected Line-ups

Nottingham Forest: Turner; Montiel, Boly, Murillo, Toffolo; Yates, Danilo; Elanga, Gibbs-White, Hudson-Odoi; Wood

Manchester United: Onana; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Evans, Dalot; Mainoo, Eriksen; Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford; Hojlund

What they Said

Nuno Espirito Santo on his early impressions since taking the reigns at Nottingham Forest.

“That we have to improve and that we have to keep on going. It’s still early days, but as the training sessions and games go by we are being able to know individuals more and what they can give us to try to achieve what we want – a team that can compete well in every game.”

Erik ten Hag on his side’s comeback against Aston Villa:

“No team can deal with as many setbacks as we had. The number of points we are not satisfied with but have to be pleased. When we have all the players back and we proved it against Liverpool, Arsenal, Villa, with determination and the right mentality, we can beat anyone.”

When and How to Watch

Sky Sports subscribers will be able to watch the match live on Sky Sports Premier League, as well as stream the action on Sky Go.

Prediction

The appointment of Nuno Espirito Santo as Forest boss initially raised some scepticism, but the team has swiftly demonstrated intensity, securing three unexpected points. Now, they face a Manchester United side that, despite weathering numerous challenges this season, is perceived by many as being in a ‘crisis.’ Nuno is renowned for his pragmatic style, and as it stands, only three teams have scored fewer goals than Manchester United in the Premier League this season. Consequently, a match of few goals is expected, and draw certainly wouldn’t be a surprise.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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