Chelsea vs Nottingham Forest Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats

Chelsea will aim to continue the recent winning run when they welcome Nottingham Forest to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The dreaded international break is nearly upon us, with Gameweek 4 being the final matchday before the fortnight-long hiatus. Chelsea will aim to make it three wins in a row when they host Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

Chelsea did not start the Mauricio Pochettino era as well as they would have liked. After playing out a 1-1 draw with Liverpool in their season-opener, the Blues suffered a 3-1 defeat to West Ham United in Gameweek 2. But Pochettino and his charges have bounced back in the past week, beating Luton Town and AFC Wimbledon.

On the other hand, Nottingham Forest will be disappointed at getting eliminated from the EFL Cup this week, losing 1-0 at home to Burnley in the second round. But the Tricky Trees have given a good account of themselves in the Premier League, losing two games by the odd goal while clinching a 2-1 win in their only home game thus far. Such a run has left them 14th on the table.

Chelsea and Nottingham Forest clashed four times last season, with the Blues winning twice and the other two games ending in stalemates. But the corresponding fixture ended in a 2-2 draw, with Raheem Sterling and Taiwo Awoniyi scoring a brace each. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics


Mauricio Pochettino does not have any new fitness issues hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, the Chelsea manager will be bereft of the services of as many as ten first-team players.

Benoit Badiashile (thigh), Romeo Lavia (match fitness), and Mykhailo Mudryk (knock) have been regaining fitness. But Saturday’s game might have come too soon for the trio, with only Lavia having a chance to feature off the bench.

Meanwhile, Marcus Bettinelli (knee), Reece James (hamstring), Trevoh Chalobah (thigh), Wesley Fofana (knee), Carney Chukwuemeka (knee), Armando Broja (knee), and Christopher Nkunku (knee) remain on the sidelines.

Robert Sanchez has become the undisputed first-choice goalkeeper for Chelsea since arriving from Brighton & Hove Albion. And the home side should line up in a 3-4-2-1 formation in front of the Spaniard. The system will morph into a 4-3-3 under certain circumstances, with Ben Chilwell acting as a winger.

When the formation changes into a 4-3-3, Conor Gallagher will drop into the midfield, helping Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo create overloads in the middle of the park. Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Jackson pick themselves in the final third.

Malo Gusto has stepped up well in Reece James’s absence. And he will look to continue from where he left off against Luton Town last week when he takes his spot on the right flank. Finally, Axel Disasi, Thiago Silva, and Levi Colwill will form the central defensive unit.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Sanchez; Disasi, Silva, Colwill; Gusto, Caicedo, Enzo Fernandez, Chilwell; Sterling, Gallagher; Jackson

Chelsea XI vs Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest

Unlike his counterpart in the Chelsea dugout, Steve Cooper has greeted a positive update on the team news front ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge. The Nottingham Forest manager might be without only one first-team player on Saturday.

Joe Worrall has served a one-match suspension after seeing red against Manchester United last weekend. But it is unclear if the Nottingham Forest captain will be unavailable after his uncle – a police Sergeant – tragically lost his life while trying to help a man on railway tracks.

If Worrall is unavailable, Serge Aurier will play as an auxiliary centre-back, lining up alongside Moussa Niakhate and Willy Boly. That will also enable Gonzalo Montiel to make his Premier League debut after making his Nottingham Forest bow in the EFL Cup clash with Burnley.

Ola Aina should complete the full-back pairing, with Montiel likely to have a more offensive-minded role. As for the midfield unit, Danilo’s possible absence due to a hamstring injury will give Andrey Santos and Cheikhou Kouyate the opportunity to make their mark in the middle of the park.

Apart from Danilo, Cooper is also sweating over the fitness of Orel Mangala (knock) and Wayne Hennessey. Meanwhile, Scott McKenna is unavailable for the foreseeable future due to a hamstring strain. But Nottingham Forest might soon have a Chelsea player in the first-team squad amid heavy links with Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Finally, the offensive unit picks itself, with the in-form Taiwo Awoniyi spearheading the attack. Brennan Johnson and Morgan Gibbs-White have been top performers for Nottingham Forest in the last few months. And they will support Awoniyi while playing behind him. So, Anthony Elanga will be an option off the bench this weekend.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Turner; Aurier, Niakhate, Boly; Montiel, Kouyate, Santos, Aina; Johnson, Gibbs-White; Awoniyi

Key Stats

  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last nine meetings with Nottingham Forest in all competitions since a 2-0 loss in January 1997. However, following a run of seven straight victories, the Blues drew both Premier League clashes against Forest last season. Meanwhile, the Tricky Trees have won just one of their most recent 14 away games against Chelsea in all competitions (D5 L8) and are winless in nine since a 2-0 victory in January 1995.
  • Chelsea earned their first league win of the season against Luton Town last week, ending a run of eight Premier League games without a home win (D5 L3). They last won consecutively at Stamford Bridge between August and October last season (a run of three).
  • Nottingham Forest have won just one of their 21 Premier League away games since their return to the division last season (D5 L15), going down 3-2 to Manchester United last week despite going 2-0 ahead in just four minutes.
  • Chelsea are the only side yet to have a shot from high turnover in the Premier League this season, despite ranking sixth for high turnovers overall (28). Only Wolverhampton Wanderers (10) and Liverpool (7) have faced more shots from high turnovers so far than Nottingham Forest (6).
  • Nottingham Forest have scored more headed goals than any other Premier League side this season, with three of their five goals so far being headers. Overall, five of their last nine strikes in the competition have come from the head, including both against Chelsea in this fixture in May last season.

Player to Watch

Raheem Sterling

Embed from Getty Images

After a debut season to forget, Raheem Sterling came into the new campaign with uncertainties surrounding his future. So it was imperative for the English international to step up and earn his spot as the first-choice attacker. And he has done that with aplomb thus far, delivering the goods against Luton Town last week.

Interestingly, Sterling scored all three of Chelsea’s goals against Nottingham Forest last season. Meanwhile, he has attempted more take-ons (21) and made more drives into the box (4) than any other player in the Premier League this season. And with the 28-year-old finding his feet at Chelsea, expect him to stamp his authority again.


Chelsea 2-1 Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest might be the worst travelling team in the Premier League. And after a dreadful 2022/23 campaign, Chelsea might be among the poorest sides at home. But that was last term and this is the new season. The Blues are unbeaten at home thus far this in 2023/24, comfortably beating Luton Town last week.

Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino is seemingly bringing the best out of several players, including Raheem Sterling. The English international loves playing against Nottingham Forest and should make his mark again. But Taiwo Awoniyi is on a magical run. And he will score in an eighth Premier League game in a row on Saturday.

But that might not be enough for Nottingham Forest to steal at least a draw from Friday’s game. And with that in mind, The Hard Tackle predicts a hard-fought 2-1 win for Chelsea, with Mauricio Pochettino continuing to deliver the goods.

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