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Arsenal vs. Nottingham Forest: good times rolling?

The Gunners look to keep their attacking form trending in the right direction.

Arsenal Training Session Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal travel to Nottingham Forest to continue their Premier League campaign, nine days after a much-needed 5-goal outburst against Crystal Palace. Mikel Arteta’s side are trying to keep pace at the top of the Premier League. Nuno Espirito Santo is fighting to keep Forest out of the relegation zone with the club staring down the barrel of possible sanctions for breaching the Premier League Profit & Sustainability rules.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

City Ground has been a house of horrors for Arsenal. The Gunners have lost their last three trips to that particular part of the Midlands — recently losing twice in the FA Cup and at the end of last season in the league. That loss last May clinched the PL title for Manchester City and guaranteed safety for Forest. Arsenal owe Forest one.

Will that recent history give Mikel Arteta’s side a little extra oomph today? The Gunners cannot afford to drop points in the Premier League, especially against bottom sides. That said, Forest beat both Newcastle and Manchester United since Nuno took the reins.

My bet is Arsenal turn up well today, especially after surviving a scare at Luton Town earlier this season. They’ve got plenty of experience and reasons to not overlook Forest.

KEY MATCHUP

Nottingham Forest have the 5th worst defense in the Premier League on goals allowed despite being middle of the pack in expected goals against. Arsenal’s attacking struggles have been well-documented. They may have started to right the ship putting five past Crystal Palace. So today I’ll be focusing on the Arsenal attack against the Nottingham Forest defense, generally.

Forest are in the top half for both fouls committed and bookings received. With Arsenal expected to dominate possession, the attackers are likely to be picking themselves up off the turf a fair few times. How the permissively the referee calls the match, both in terms of fouls and bookings, could significantly affect the result.

Nuno Espirito Santo has always built his teams from the back out, and I expect his side to set up deep and look to hit on the counter. Will Arsenal be patient or try to force things? Will they ultimately be able to break down the expected deep block?

TEAM NEWS

Arsenal will be without Thomas Partey, who has returned to training but isn’t fit enough for today’s match. Both Declan Rice and Gabriel Magalhaes face late fitness tests to determine their availability. Mohamed Elneny and Takehiro Tomiyasu remain away on international duty, although Elneny should rejoin the squad soon — Egypt were knocked out of AFCON.

Felipe, Taiwo Awoniyi, Anthony Elanga, and Divock Origi have all been dealing with muscle injuries for Forest. Origi has yet to return to training and will miss out today. The other three may or may not be available. Ola Aina, Cheikhou Kouyate, Willy Boly, Serge Aurier, Ibrahim Sangare and Moussa Niakhate are all away on international duty at AFCON. Nuno Tavares, who has been starting since Espirito Santo took over, cannot face his parent club.

LINUEPS

Arsenal - Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Rice, Smith Rowe, Odegaard, Saka, Martinelli, Jesus

Forest - Turner, Mangala, Williams, Gibbs-White, Wood, Toffolo, Dominguez, Danilo, Montiel, Omobamidele, Murillo

WHAT: Arsenal at Nottingham Forest
WHERE: City Ground, Nottingham
WHEN: Tuesday, January 30th 10:30 am PT | 2:30 pm ET | 7:30 pm GMT
HOW TO WATCH: Streaming on Peacock.

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