Pre-Match Report

Preview: Nottingham Forest v Arsenal

Nottingham Forest v Arsenal

We head to Nottingham Forest for our final away game of the season, in what will be our first Premier League fixture at the City Ground since 1999.

A win for the hosts would virtually see them clinch safety in their first season back at this level since then, as they head into the weekend sitting in 16th spot, three points clear of the drop zone with just two games remaining.

A defeat for us would hand Manchester City the Premier League trophy before they host Chelsea on Sunday, where a win would also see them crowned champions regardless of our result as we hope to keep the title challenge going right until the final week.

Forest nearly there

Nottingham Forest celebrate scoring against Chelsea

During a remarkable season that has seen 29 first-team players come through the door, Steve Cooper has managed to mould a side that is on the brink of achieving their pre-season aim of avoiding the drop.

The Forest hierarchy stuck with the Welsh boss despite a difficult start to the season which saw them win one of their first 12 league games, and that faith was rewarded with signs of recovery just before the World Cup. After that, 11 points from a five-game run at the start of the year saw them climb as high as 13th, but a subsequent run of 11 winless games undid that good work.

However, a corner has since been turned. Home wins over Brighton and Southampton plus a draw at Chelsea last weekend means seven points have been claimed from their last four games. Forest have also scored at least twice in four of their last five matches to put themselves within touching distance of safety.

What the managers say

Steve Cooper and Mikel Arteta

Arteta on Forest: "[Steve Cooper has been] brilliant. They made so many changes and I’m sure he found it very difficult with the number of signings they had. The club was patient, especially with the way they performed the year before and what they’ve done in the league.

"Maintaining that belief and that unity around the place - it's a big credit to him for what he’s done with the team." - read every word of Mikel's pre-match press conference

Cooper on us: “I expect to come up against a team that has quite rightly been at the top of the Premier League for most of the season. We’re coming up against a top, top team.

"If you put all the context to our situation and theirs to one side, we know we have to be at our very best at the weekend. That's the bare minimum."

Team news

Gabriel Martinelli receives treatment against Brighton

Gabriel Martinelli was forced off just 20 minutes into the game against Brighton last week with an ankle injury. Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Arteta said that further assessment was needed on the "pretty nasty injury" but confirmed that Martinelli and Oleksandr Zinchenko will not play for the rest of the season.

They join William Saliba (back), Mohamed Elneny and Takehiro Tomiyasu (both hamstring) on the sidelines.

Forest's Danilo limped off late on at Stamford Bridge last week and it remains to be seen if he’ll be fit for this one. However, Cooper could have Emmanuel Dennis back after the striker missed the previous two games with a knock, while Gustavo Scarpa is also back in full training after a calf problem has kept him out since the start of April.

Neco Williams (jaw), Scott McKenna (collarbone), Chris Wood and Dean Henderson (both thigh) are all out for the rest of the season with long-term injuries.

Facts and stats

Forest have won just two of their last 10 home league games against us (D1 L7).

We won 5-0 in the reverse fixture at the Emirates – only once have we done the Premier League double over the Reds, doing so in 1998/99.
We have won our last four league games against Forest, we’ve never won five in a row.

Taiwo Awoniyi has scored four goals in his last two league games, as many as he had in his previous 23. With braces against Southampton and Chelsea in his last two games, he could become just the second Forest player to score multiple goals in three consecutive Premier League appearances, after Bryan Roy in 1995.

We have only failed to score in one of our 18 Premier League away games this season, a 1-0 loss at Everton in February. 

Martin Odegaard has scored more on the road than any other player in our squad this season (9), with Riyad Mahrez the last midfielder to reach double figures in a single campaign in 2015/16.

Match officials

Anthony Taylor

For the sixth time this season, Anthony Taylor has been handed one of our matches to oversee, with the last coming in our home defeat to Manchester City in February.

We had won all of the previous nine games he had been appointed to before then, including the wins over Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton & Hove Albion before the turn of the year, and Manchester United in January. We have only lost seven of the 46 games he has run the rule over.

No referee has shown more than the four red cards he has dished out this season, while Paul Tierney is the only man in the middle to have booked more players.

  • Referee: Anthony Taylor
  • Assistant Referee 1: Gary Beswick
  • Assistant Referee 2: Adam Nunn
  • Fourth Official: Graham Scott
  • VAR: Neil Swarbrick
  • Assistant VAR: Darren Cann

Recent visits to the City Ground

While this is our first league trip to Nottingham in the 21st century, we have tasted cup defeat on the last two occasions we have pitched up on the banks of the Trent, including last season’s 1-0 defeat in the FA Cup third round when Lewis Grabban got the only goal.

The same fate befell us in 2018 when a 4-2 defeat at the same stage of the competition ended our interest, but we did manage to get a win back in September 2016 in the League Cup, when a brace from Lucas Perez plus strikes from Granit Xhaka and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain claimed a 4-0 win.

Take a look back at our last league win in 1999, plus other memorable meetings by revisiting some classics at the City Ground.

Breakdown Live

Breakdown Live

Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke are in the My Arsenal Rewards box at Emirates Stadium for our final away game of the season. They'll look back on the best bits of a fantastic campaign on the road in 2022/23. Also, we’ll hear Mikel Arteta speaking to the media ahead of this one.

Then from 5.30pm, they hand over to Dan Roebuck and Jonathon Rogers who will be on live commentary at the City Ground who will take you through all the on-field action as we aim to finish our away campaign on a high.

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Fixtures & Results