The Breakdown: Nottingham Forest v Arsenal preview

We kick off our Emirates FA Cup campaign when we visit Nottingham Forest on Sunday afternoon.

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox has examined our opponents in detail.


Nottingham Forest recently parted company with Mark Warburton after nine months at the club, with his assistant David Weir and director of football Frank McParland also leaving the club. With Forest searching for a replacement, caretaker manager Gary Brazil will be in charge this weekend. It’s his third stint as Forest’s caretaker boss, and he has also had two stints in a similar capacity at rivals Notts County.


Brazil deployed a 4-2-3-1 system for last weekend’s goalless draw with Leeds, with perhaps the most interesting development being a first league start of the campaign for highly-rated winger Matthew Cash, who missed the first half of the campaign with ankle ligament damage.


Forest are a good footballing side with plenty of good passers - only Fulham have a higher pass completion rate in the Championship. The central midfield partnership of Liam Bridcutt and Ben Osborne are able to control matches against Championship opposition, and Forest may have decent spells of pressure here.


Young attacking midfielder Kieran Dowell should pull the strings from his No 10 position. Capable of shooting from range and playing clever passes into attack, he’s managed eight goals and four assists this season.


Ex-Gunner Armand Traore has been among Forest’s best performers this season, but he retains a tendency to push forward and leave his left-back zone exposed, so Arsenal might get joy when breaking into that zone.

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