Nottingham Forest vs Crystal Palace: Preview and Prediction

Nottingham Forest find themselves fighting relegation as they take on fellow strugglers Crystal Palace at the City Ground on Saturday.

Nottingham Forest, their fans and the owner were all left baffled by the decision to dock four points for breaching the PSR rules as they return from the international break to take on Crystal Palace. The deduction has thrown them into the bottom three, and now they have a big fight on their hands to get out of there.

To further complicate matters, Nottingham Forest have taken Everton’s route to appeal the deductions, although the two cases are somewhat different. Hence, should the Tricky Trees fail with their appeal, it could lead to more problems, including further deductions to their tally.

Moreover, Nottingham Forest have played 29 games so far, meaning they only have about nine matches to change their fortunes around. Some are still optimistic that despite the deductions, they can make it through, while others feel Luton Town may have the advantage now. Nuno Espirito Santo will treat all the last nine games as finals, starting with the one against fellow strugglers Crystal Palace.

Oliver Glasner will have to reflect on his mixed start to life as Crystal Palace boss, having experienced a win, a loss and a draw in his first three matches in charge. The draw came right before the international break, as Luton Town snatched a late point from the Eagles, which effectively pulled Nottingham Forest into the relegation zone, while Rob Edwards’s side are currently out of it.

Palace took advantage of the international break with a warm-weather camp in Marbella, Spain, which the manager will hope to produce favourable results. With ten games to go in their season, the Eagles will hope to maintain their decent gap with 18th-placed Nottingham Forest and keep it at eight points.

However, there are some extensive tests ahead for the Eagles, with games against Manchester City and Liverpool on the horizon. While they are not expected to win or take anything from those clashes, Glasner will want to take advantage of games they have a chance in, including the one on Saturday with Nottingham Forest.

Team News & Tactics

Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest have a few critical stars out of action, including full-backs Nuno Tavares and Gonzalo Montiel, who are recovering from thigh injuries.

Neco Williams and Harry Toffolo are primed to start in those positions as Ola Aina also remains sidelined with a muscle problem. Meanwhile, Willy Boly limped off with a problem while in action for Ivory Coast during the international break and remains a significant doubt for the Palace clash.

Should he not take part against Crystal Palace on Saturday, then Nuno Espirito Santo might choose one of Felipe and Andrew Omobamidele in Boly’s place in the central defensive partnershiop.

Strikers Chris Wood and Taiwo Awoniyi are also significant doubts for Nottingham Forest, meaning Divock Origi could get another shot at the centre-forward spot. The attacking third will see Espirito Santo bank on the talents of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Anthony Elanga and Morgan Gibbs-White.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Sels; Williams, Omobamidele, Murillo, Toffolo; Yates, Sangare; Elanga, Gibbs-White, Hudson-Odoi; Origi

Crystal Palace

Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone underwent elbow surgery that will see him miss the remainder of the season and the Euros. That is a big blow for England and Crystal Palace, with the Englishman reportedly the choice to start the continental tournament as Jordan Pickford’s principal deputy.

Johnstone has joined Cheick Doucoure, Marc Guehi, Rob Holding and Michael Olise as long-term absentees. There are a few other in doubt, with attacking full-back Daniel Munoz among those. He picked up a minor issue while on international duty, and he could be joined by Matheus Franca, Jeffrey Schlupp, and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi as doubtful stars ahead of the Forest game.

Glasner will rely on the services of Jean-Philippe Mateta to lead the line for Crystal Palace against Nottingham Forest, with the Frenchman set to be provided support by fellow attackers Jordan Ayew and Everechi Eze.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Henderson; Ward, Andersen, Richards; Munoz, Wharton, Lerma, Mitchell; Eze, Ayew; Mateta

Key Stats

  • Nottingham Forest have not won any of their last five games.
  • Nottingham Forest are undefeated in their last seven matches against Crystal Palace in all competitions.
  • Crystal Palace have not won at the City Ground since December 2011, when they played in the Championship.
  • Nottingham Forest have kept one clean sheet in their last 18 Premier League matches.
  • Crystal Palace have conceded 14 times in the last five minutes of Premier League matches this season, more than any other side, including in their two most recent outings against Tottenham Hotspur and Luton Town.

Player to Watch

Morgan Gibbs-White

Embed from Getty Images

Nottingham Forest have come to a point in the season where they cannot experiment with anything, especially after dropping into the relegation zone following their four-point deduction. Now, Nuno Espirito Santo will have to rely on his key players to get them out of the rut and will look no further than the expertise of Gibbs-White.

Gibbs-White continues to be a good performer for Nottingham Forest and will have to step up with his form in this crucial end-of-the-season run-in. The Tricky Trees need a player of his quality in full force at this stage of the season, and he should prove his worth, especially against teams like Palace.


Nottingham Forest 2-2 Crystal Palace

These are two teams poised to end the season well, and they are similar in terms of quality. Nottingham Forest will obviously come into this clash under more pressure than Crystal Palace following their points deduction. However, Nuno Espirito Santo will want to use that factor to harness the confidence in his side and get a favourable result, especially in front of the home fans.

Crystal Palace boss Oliver Glasner will want a positive result to continue his decent start to life at the club. He does have plenty of key players missing out but still has the quality to put on an entertaining show, and get a draw at the very least from the City Ground.

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