Everton will look to pick up their first points of the new Premier League season when they welcome newly-promoted Nottingham Forest to Goodison Park on Saturday.

Frank Lampard and Everton are looking for their first points of the season, but they will have a tricky test at Goodison Park against newly-promoted Premier League side Nottingham Forest. The Toffees are one of just three teams yet to get off the mark after back-to-back defeats, so they currently find themselves sitting in the relegation zone.

The Toffees were beaten 2-1 at Villa Park last weekend, having lost 1-0 at home to Chelsea in their Premier League opener a week prior to that. Following last season’s great lucky escape, there were high expectations that Frank Lampard would not have to endure another battle to save the Merseysiders’ bacon.

However, two games into the new season, they face new boys Forest at Goodison Park on Saturday in what already feels to be a must-win relegation six-pointer. Everton supporters are showing a lot of faith in Lampard, who will undoubtedly be under pressure to deliver all three points in this vital clash.

On the other hand, Steve Cooper’s Forest are up and running after claiming their first Premier League win in 23 years, defeating West Ham 1-0 at the City Ground last time out. Forest remain one of the busiest Premier League clubs in the transfer market, showing they mean business after landing midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White from Wolves.

They have spent more than £140 million in this window with that deal as Cooper conducts a complete overhaul of his squad, with no less than 16 additions as. The Hard Tackle will now analyze both the teams, potential lineups, and injury issues ahead of Saturday’s encounter at Goodison Park.

Team News & Tactics

Everton

Everton will have to do without the services of forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin, defenders Yerry Mina (ankle) and Ben Godfrey (fibula), along with Andre Gomes and Andros Townsend (knee), who are all out injured. Calvert-Lewin is projected to return in mid-September, but Townsend and Godfrey are not expected back until next year at the earliest. Abdoulaye Doucoure is also out with an injury.

Meanwhile, Dele Alli is strongly linked with a move to Turkish outfit Besiktas and may not be included in the squad. While the Toffees have looked much more organised this season compared to last, Frank Lampard is in desperate need of a new striker. Salomon Rondon came off the bench against Aston Villa and will be their only available recognised centre-forward here.

Jordan Pickford remains the undisputed starter in goal, with the Toffees lining up in their 3-4-3 system in front of him. He will be shielded by a three-man defence comprising of Mason Holgate, Conor Coady, and James Tarkowski, with the trio responsible for keeping things solid at the back, while Coady will take part in play-making with his excellent ball distribution.

Ukrainian wing-back, Vitaliy Mykolenko, could retain his spot at left wing-back, whereas Nathan Patterson will also keep his place on the opposite flank after putting in a couple of impressive displays.

Amadou Onana came off the bench at Villa Park and looked sharp. So, he might start against Forest. Alex Iwobi could get the nod alongside him in midfield in the absence of Doucoure. There are unlikely to be any changes in the front line as Anthony Gordon — a transfer target for Chelsea— leads the line in a false-nine role, with Demarai Gray and Dwight McNeil completing the attack.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Pickford; Holgate, Coady, Tarkowski; Patterson, Doucoure, Onana, Mykolenko; McNeil, Gordon, Gray

Nottingham Forest

Forest were woeful in their opening day trip to Newcastle, and they rode their luck to see off West Ham to claim all three points. And Steve Cooper will be pushing for more points, with games against Tottenham and Manchester City coming up to conclude the month.

The former Swansea manager is likely to pick the same lineup that defeated West Ham 1-0 on Sunday. Ryan Yates, who has not featured for the club this season, is currently nursing a minor knee injury, but in positive news from the Forest manager, he is back in light training.

Otherwise, Omar Richards and Jack Colback will be the other two ruled out here, while Cooper has remained coy about the involvement of centre-back signing Moussa Niakhate, who missed the final ten minutes of Forest’s first victory of the season last time out, holding his right hamstring.

The defensive trident of Joe Worrall, Niakhate and Scott McKenna should retain their place at the back, with Dean Henderson proving to be an excellent addition in between the sticks for the visitors. Cooper can also call upon veteran Steve Cook, if Niakhate is deemed unfit, to shore up his back-three.

Former Liverpool full-back, Neco Williams, will carry an attacking threat from the right flank, while another new arrival, Harry Toffolo, should occupy the left wing-back. Moving into the centre of the park, Lewis O’Brien and Orel Mangala should hold on to their places in the lineup, with new signing Remo Freuler likely to be amongst the substitutes.

Taiwo Awoniyi will lead the line with Brennan Johnson, who will be a buzzing presence with his exquisite flicks and touches, attempting runs in behind, and stretching the opposition backline. Jesse Lingard looked more like himself against West Ham, working hard, getting into scoring opportunities, and providing support for the front two. New signing Emmanuel Dennis will be a lively impact option on the bench.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Henderson; Worrall, Niakhate, McKenna; Williams, Mangala, O’Brien, Toffolo; Lingard; Awoniyi, Johnson

Key Stats

  • This is the first Premier League meeting between Everton and Nottingham Forest since 1999, with Forest picking up a narrow 1-0 victory thanks to a Pierre van Hooijdonk goal at Goodison Park last time out.
  • Everton have lost all of their last four Premier League matches, conceding 11 goals while scoring only 4 in reply.
  • The hosts boast a poor record against newly-promoted sides, having lost seven of their last 10 Premier League games against newcomers (W2, D1), losing the previous two against Brentford and Watford last season.
  • The Blues have not lost each of their opening three games in a league campaign since the 1990/91 season, and they will be hoping to maintain that record here.
  • With Morgan Gibbs-White joining Nottingham Forest, they are the biggest-spending promoted sides in Premier League history (£145.5 million), eclipsing Aston Villa’s 2019/20 summer spent (£134 million).

Player to Watch

Amadou Onana

Embed from Getty Images

Summer signing Amadou Onana looked bright on his debut off the bench, provoking the own goal scored by Lucas Digne against his former side before getting the best chance for an equaliser.

The £35 million midfielder was signed as a defensive midfielder thanks to his physical build, but considering his impact in advanced areas, Lampard could allow him some license to attack on Saturday. Powerful, fast, technically skilled, and versatile, he could be a big difference-maker for Everton on Saturday.

Prediction

Everton 1-0 Nottingham Forest

This encounter has all the makings of a tight, tense, and scruffy game, devoid of any goalmouth action since Forest are still settling into the intensity of the English top-flight, while Everton lacks quality up top without a potent striker. Also, nine of Forest’s last ten away matches in all competitions have resulted in under 2.5 goals, which also includes five clean sheets as well, so a goal-fest is certainly not on the cards.

The visitors are coming off a morale-boosting victory and are loaded with fresh recruits, but they have struggled to adjust to the rigours of the top-flight and boast the highest expected goals against tally in the division. Everton, meanwhile, have displayed better defensive elements than their opponents in the opening two games and could come away with all three points in a narrow 1-0 victory this weekend.

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