Arsenal will begin their bid for a first Premier League title in 20 years when they welcome Nottingham Forest to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
- Runners-up Arsenal finished five points behind champions Manchester City last term
- At the opposite end of the table, Forest finished four points clear of the relegation zone
- Forest ended Arsenal’s title hopes with a 1-0 win at the City Ground in May
Fresh from clinching the Community Shield at the expense of Man City, Arsenal will be determined to kick-start their Premier League campaign on a positive note. On the flip side, Nottingham Forest will be eager to avoid another humiliating defeat at the Emirates.
Arsenal’s 2022-23 campaign ultimately ended in disappointment, as a 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest handed Man City the Premier League title on the penultimate weekend of the season. Still, the Gunners can take plenty of positives from last term, having led the title race for the majority of the campaign.
In fact, Mikel Arteta’s men lost just one of their opening 19 league outings last season, picking up 23 victories across the first 29 matches. However, a damaging run of three wins, three draws and three losses saw Man City beat Arsenal to the title at the eleventh hour.
Despite last season’s failure, there is a renewed sense of optimism at the club. With Champions League football returning to the Emirates Stadium, the Gunners will be hopeful of challenging on all fronts this season.
Nottingham Forest Form
Having gained promotion via the Championship play-offs in 2022, Nottingham Forest were among the favourites for Premier League relegation last term, but Steve Cooper and his players managed to prove their doubters wrong and renew their top-flight status for another year.
Despite looking dead and buried on more than one occasion last season – winning just one of their first 11 clashes before enduring an 11-game winless run between February and April – the Tricky Trees rallied during the final few weeks of the campaign to secure survival.
In addition to the win against Arsenal, Forest registered positive home results against the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion last term. That said, the Reds were woeful on their travels, picking up a solitary victory in 19 away league games.
Before Nottingham Forest’s 1-0 victory over Arsenal at the City Ground, the Gunners thrashed the Tricky Trees 5-0 at the Emirates in October, with the hosts racking up 70% possession and 24 shots on that occasion.
In terms of the bigger picture, Arsenal and Forest have met five times since 2018. Thanks to a couple of FA Cup triumphs, Forest have won three of their previous five encounters with the Gunners.
Arsenal will start the season without the injured duo of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko. On a brighter note, the Gunners have strengthened with the signings of Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber, while Brentford goalkeeper David Raya appears to be on his way to the Emirates.
Nottingham Forest’s injury list contains Taiwo Awoniyi, Moussa Niakhate, Felipe, Wayne Hennessy and Omar Richards. In comparison to last year’s spending spree, the Reds have been quiet in this summer’s transfer market, bringing in Anthony Elanga, Ola Aina and Chris Wood.
Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli all scored 15 goals across all competitions last season, combining for 25 assists in the process. At the opposite end of the pitch, William Saliba and Gabriel forged a formidable centre-back partnership.
Once again, Forest will rely on the attacking output of Brennan Johnson and Morgan Gibbs-White this season. Brazilian youngster Danilo also looks set to enjoy a breakout campaign, having played a key role in the club’s survival bid last term.
How to Watch on TV or Online
Fans in the UK can watch Saturday’s showdown between Arsenal and Nottingham Forest on TNT Sports 1 and TNT Sports Ultimate.
Although Nottingham Forest defeated Arsenal at the City Ground back in May, the Gunners made light work of Cooper’s side at the Emirates. Given Forest’s dismal away record last season, Arsenal shouldn’t struggle to kick-start their campaign with a win this weekend.