Taiwo Awoniyi’s first-half goal condemned us to a second consecutive defeat, and officially ended our title challenge.
On a frustrating afternoon at the City Ground, we were unable to break down a resolute home side, despite dominating possession.
The result means we can no longer catch Manchester City at the top of the table, with just one match remaining.
Forest fire first
The hosts, knowing that three points would guarantee Premier League survival in their first season back in the top-flight, started with a huge intensity. Their early throw-ins were sent into the penalty area and our remodelled defence had to withstand some early pressure.
Mikel Arteta had reshaped his back four for our final away game of the season, bringing in Thomas Partey at right-back, meaning Ben White shuffled across to partner Gabriel in the centre and Jakub Kiwior went to left-back.
We soon began to see the ball in Forest territory though. A wonderful turn and pass in a tight space from Martin Odegaard released Bukayo Saka into the area, but his cutback was intercepted. The ball did eventually reach Gabriel Jesus but his shot was smothered at close range.
Jesus then floated a header onto the bar from a deep corner, but just as we were imposing some control on the game, Forest went ahead. Odegaard’s loose pass in midfield fell straight to Morgan Gibbs-White. He sprinted forward, released Awoniyi in the area who finished past Aaron Ramsdale as Gabriel slid in to challenge.
The goal, coming against the run of play, lifted the home support again. We had enjoyed more than 80 per cent possession in the first half but the hosts were content to keep everyone behind the ball and look to frustrate us.
We couldn’t find a way through and chances were at a premium. Leandro Trossard volleyed a first-time effort just wide from a corner before Jesus flashed a shot well over.
On the hour mark Saka had a shot from a narrow angle parried away by Keylor Navas after White had gone the aerial route to create the chance. Jorginho’s effort from the resulting corner was then deflected just wide.
Arteta sent on Eddie Nketiah and Kieran Tierney in an attempt to inject some drive into the game, but we only mustered a Jorginho long-range effort that flew just over from 20 yards to ensure Navas remained largely untroubled in the Forest goal in the final exchanges.
What it means
Facts and stats
Nottingham Forest's victory secures their status in the Premier League for next season – it's the fourth different campaign in which all three promoted sides have stayed up, after 2001/02, 2011/12 and 2017/18.
We have lost three of their last five Premier League games, as many as we had in their first 32 this season.
Forest had just 18 per cent possession, the lowest tally on record (since 2003/04) for a winning team in a Premier League match.
Taiwo Awoniyi has scored in seven different Premier League games this season, putting Nottingham Forest 1-0 ahead in every one. His 10 goals have been worth 12 points to Nottingham Forest, the seventh-highest total of any Premier League player this term.
Forest have won three consecutive home games against us in all competitions for the first time since September 1986.
Our 49th and final game of 2022/23 is against Wolves at Emirates Stadium, next Sunday, May 28. We know we will finish second in the Premier League for the first time since 2016 and will be back in the Champions League next season.
Then we head into the close season. Premier League fixtures are announced on June 15 and our first confirmed pre-season friendly is against the MLS All-Stars in Washington on Wednesday, July 19.
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