Arsenal kick off their Premier League campaign with a home game against Nottingham Forest in the early game on Saturday.
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Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest predictions
Arsenal mean business this season.
No one anticipated a Premier League title tilt last term, not after Mikel Arteta’s men had ended 2021/22 in fifth place.
But Arsenal confounded expectations to emerge as the pace-setters for most of the campaign, until a relentless Manchester City side overtook them late on.
The Gunners will look back with pain at their poor end to the season, but finishing just five points behind Pep Guardiola’s treble-winners was a better outcome than anyone could have realistically expected before a ball had been kicked.
But after their near-miss in 2022/23, Arsenal now have a target on their backs. There is a sense of expectation around the Emirates Stadium, with most season previews suggesting they will finish first or second.
The manner in which Arsenal have conducted their transfer business offers reason for optimism. They moved quickly to acquire Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber in time for their pre-season matches.
Rice in particular is an excellent addition. The West Ham United midfielder shone in a struggling side last season and his leadership qualities will be just as welcome as his on-field ability.
Arsenal look well equipped to mount another sustained title challenge and the fixture computer has given them a reasonably kind start with this home game against Nottingham Forest.
Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest betting tips
This should be a comfortable start to the new campaign for Arsenal, who will be looking to make an early statement of intent against Nottingham Forest.
Arsenal to win to nil – Evens (Spreadex)
There were many reasons why Arsenal fell away towards the end of last season. One was fatigue and another was a lack of trophy-winning experience within the group.
But perhaps the biggest factor was the sudden downturn in their defensive solidity. In the space of four games against Liverpool, West Ham, Southampton and Manchester City in the run-in, Arsenal shipped 11 goals.
They would later concede three times at home to Brighton & Hove Albion in a game in which the Gunners looked physically and mentally shattered.
For most of the campaign, though, Arsenal were resolute and disciplined at the back. Few opposition attacks had much joy against them.
Even after the drop-off late on, only Manchester City and Newcastle United conceded fewer goals than Arteta’s team.
With William Saliba fully fit again after a costly injury in March, a clean sheet should be well within Arsenal’s grasp this weekend.
Nottingham Forest secured survival with a 1-0 victory over the Gunners in May, but they scored a league-low 11 goals on the road last term.
No team amassed as few points as Forest at opposition stadiums, which is something Steve Cooper’s side must improve on this time around.
Arsenal -2 handicap – 31/20 (Spreadex)
Nottingham Forest ultimately finished four points clear of the drop zone after a late-season rally last time out.
That victory over Arsenal was part of a run in which Forest picked up 11 points from a possible 18 to clamber out of danger.
It was a close-run thing after a chaotic campaign at the City Ground, as the club took an ill-advisedly haphazard approach to recruitment.
They have been more low-key this summer, with Anthony Elanga and Ola Aina the only senior incomings at the time of writing.
Forest fans are hoping to see more in the coming weeks. The squad is not exactly short of numbers but there is more deadwood that needs to be shifted.
As things stand it is hard to envisage much more than another season of struggle, but Cooper’s continued presence in the dugout is a major plus point.
Nevertheless, it would not be a surprise to see Forest near the foot of the table a few weeks in. After this trip to north London, they will lock horns with Sheffield United, Manchester United and Chelsea before the September international break.
Forest lost this fixture 5-0 last October and although they will be more confident of avoiding a thrashing this time around, Arsenal should prove too strong.
A win by a three-goal margin or more would not be a surprise in the slightest as Arteta’s charges look to get up and running.
Over 1.5 goals first half – 11/10 (Spreadex)
In the Community Shield last Sunday, Arsenal were on the back foot for most of the first half.
That was against Manchester City, though, and the tables will be turned against Nottingham Forest this weekend.
Cooper’s men will have to dig deep if they are to get to half-time with the scores still level.
But Forest shipped a remarkable 44 goals in 19 away games last term, and Arsenal’s attack could have too much quality for the visitors to the Emirates.
Gabriel Jesus is out injured but the Gunners still have plenty of options in attack. Kai Havertz could start through the middle as he did against Manchester City, or Leandro Trossard could be used in that role.
Arteta also has the option of moving Gabriel Martinelli centrally, so Jesus’ absence should not be an issue in this match at least.
How to watch Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest
- Location: Emirates Stadium, London, England.
- Date and time: Saturday 12 August 2023, 12.30pm.
- How to watch: TNT Sports.
About the author
Greg Lea is a freelance football writer from London. He predominantly covers the Premier League and has had work published by the Guardian, FourFourTwo, ESPN and others.
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