Nottingham Forest host Luton Town this weekend, in a tie that both teams will be desperate to win. When the two sides have recently gone head to head in the Championship, Luton have been victorious in two of the last three occasions, however each of the last three games has witnessed less than two goals.
Forest are 13th in the Premier League currently after eight matches, which is rather impressive considering they have faced four of the big six teams already. In games that they should pick up points, they have done, which is a testament to the job that Steve Cooper is undertaking. Furthermore, they are actually unbeaten at the City Ground this campaign. Forest have featured in plenty of low scoring matches since their 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford, which has put their average goals scored tally to one per game and their average conceded per match at 1.25. Cooper has managed to make his side an extremely difficult unit to breakdown, due to togetherness, resilience and the boss’ tactical approach.
We saw this before the international break, when Forest walked away from Selhurst Park with a point after a goalless draw. The back four and midfield three frustrated Palace and allowed the pacy wingers, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Morgan Gibbs-White, to attack them on the counter. New signing, Murillo, who is a 21-year-old Brazilian centre half was the standout player, as he also had the confidence top carry the ball into attacking zones. He made two key passes and created a big chance for his side.
Luton have struggled since being promoted and their biggest problem seems to be that they lack a hint of self-belief, especially in the final third. Only Carlton Morris has displayed anywhere near last season’s Championship form, as he has netted three times and registered an assist. This means he has contributed to over half of Luton’s goals this season. Rob Edward’s side have also conceded 15 goals in eight matches, which is the fifth worst record in the top flight. A positive for Luton is that they have the best record of all the promoted sides and they sit in 17th place.
Prior to the International break, Luton hosted top-of-the-table Spurs and suffered a 1-0 defeat. The score was 0-0 at half time, but just before the break, Yves Bissouma was handed a second yellow card which put the hosts in an excellent position to pick up points against a top side. However, a moment of James Maddison magic set up Micky Van de Ven, who scored just after half time. From that point on, Luton didn’t control the tie even though they created enough chances to get back into the game. Edward’s will be frustrated that his side didn’t show enough quality in the final third.
Neither side are particularly strong in front of goal and this game could be a close tie where fine margins decide the result. Forest are the favourites and I cannot envision them losing the tie, especially with the quality in their squad.
The final prediction is Nottingham Forest 1-0 Luton.