Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal led the way at the top of the Premier League for much of last season before some poor performances and results throughout April effectively cost them their first league title in nearly 20 years. Despite that, though, The Gunners will begin the 2023/24 campaign in a positive mood with some impressive summer acquisitions and a victory over eventual 2022/23 Premier League winners Manchester City in the Community Shield last week, defeating City on penalties.
The hosts have UEFA Champions League football to contend with this season so cannot rotate as much as they did for UEFA Europa League group stage games last year and that could be something that halts another genuine title challenge. However, the opening month of the season is unaffected by that and after starting so well and efficiently last season with five wins out of five in August, they will be confident of beginning in a similar fashion this weekend.
Nottingham Forest have had a summer of worry and concern. With suggestions they could be punished for falling foul of FFP regulations, The Reds have been relatively quiet in the transfer market with no senior goalkeeper in their squad at the start of this week ahead of the new season. That lack of organisation off the field is something that has seemingly been a theme for a while at the City Ground but, fortunately, they have had the impressive management of Steve Cooper to not just steady them but help them to overachieve.
An impressive run of form towards the end of last season helped Forest survive, mathematically confirming their Premier League status with a surprise 1-0 win against their upcoming opponents Arsenal at home in May. A lack of quality in the squad remains, though, as well as it appearing to be massively unbalanced. A lot of work likely needs to be done in the market in the next few weeks but it is unclear how much work they will be allowed to do.
Betting Trends to Watch
Steve Cooper’s Nottingham Forest made a habit of being able to contain and control their opposition in the earlier stages of matches last season. The Reds’ only 15-minute segment of a match where they scored more than they conceded was in the opening 15 minutes. The issue, though, was that they then conceded 61 goals in the final 75 minutes of matches last season.
Arsenal, who notoriously started slowly in the second half of the campaign with goals conceded extremely early against the likes of Bournemouth and Southampton, managed to score 47 goals in just the second half of matches last season. Backing Forest to take an early lead is still far-fetched if you’re thinking about the football odds side of things but what could offer good value is backing the hosts’ to go relatively big in the second half with over two or maybe even three goals in the final 45.
Arsenal come into this on the back of a penalty shootout victory against Manchester City in the FA Community Shield last weekend, in their most recent outing. Whilst that can be dismissed by many, Arsenal players have been keen to stress how important they have viewed beating City, which has alluded them for a while. The Gunners’ pre-season saw them also win the Emirates Cup on penalties against Monaco after victories against the MLS All-Stars and Barcelona, scoring ten goals in those two games, but also suffering a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United.
Nottingham Forest have endured a really difficult and lacklustre pre-season against, admittedly, relatively strong opposition. The Reds’ most recent outing was a goalless draw against Eintracht Frankfurt, which was their fourth successive match without scoring after defeats to Leeds United, PSV Eindhoven and Stade Rennais. They also suffered a 1-0 loss to Valencia, which sandwiched one-goal victories, 1-0 and 2-1, against League Two Notts County and Spanish Segunda side Levante.
These two sides have faced each other 103 times in their respective histories, with Nottingham Forest winning 29 and Arsenal managing 52 victories. Surprisingly, of the last five meetings to have taken place since 2018, Nottingham Forest have managed three wins to Arsenal’s two with Forest winning two FA Cup ties and that aforementioned end-of-season victory against Arsenal to confirm Premier League survival last season. That win, though, which could well be viewed as anomalous, was just their second win in 13 league matches against The Gunners.
Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest Betting Tips
As mentioned above in my free Premier League tips, Nottingham Forest may be able to go to what should be a raucous Emirates Stadium and be able to nullify the early Gunners threat, as they did quite often last season. However, the likelihood of them escaping with anything other than a comfortable and potentially heavy loss is remote. Arsenal winning and scoring a few goals is likely with Forest’s lack of goals also meaning there should be value in backing the ‘win to nil’ market.
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.