Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical elements and players of the three clubs joining the Premier League in 2022/23.
Forest return after a 23-year exile from the Premier League with their defining feature being their ability to punish opponents with fast transitions and counter-attacks.
There is a great sense of momentum and unity at the City Ground, built around the amazing transformation since head coach Steve Cooper took charge last September.
Cooper is acclaimed by the Forest faithful, having galvanised a struggling team languishing in the relegation zone and steered them to promotion through the Championship playoffs.
The Reds averaged two points per match over his 38 fixtures during the regular season, and would theoretically have finished as champions on 92 points had he been there from the start.
Cooper settled Forest into a 3-4-1-2 formation during an outstanding second half of the campaign, but it is a relatively little-used shape in the Premier League.
In last season’s competition, no team employed that system as their primary formation.
Cooper is a fan of this shape, using it 25 times when he was Swansea City’s head coach in 2020/21.
It has also happened to be a formation that has suited his key players at Forest.
Djed Spence, on loan from Middlesbrough, was ideal as a right wing-back last term, while Philip Zinckernagel - loaned from Watford - was at his best in a free No 10 role.
It will be interesting to see who will play these roles in the Premier League.
Cooper has also been keen to start his most dangerous attacker, Brennan Johnson, in a striker’s role where he can run in behind the last man.
Having previously operated as a winger, and unaccustomed to playing up front, the Welshman has worked best alongside a natural centre-forward.
It would be a surprise to see Forest deviate away from 3-4-1-2 in the early stages of 2022/23, but much will depend on who they recruit this summer.
|Team||Direct attacks||Fast breaks||Shots from fast breaks|
Forest are extremely dangerous when they turn defence into attack.
The moment they recover possession, Cooper's players make early vertical passes to release the speedy Johnson into spaces down the sides.
Davis, on loan from Aston Villa, and January signing Sam Surridge were also hugely mobile last season, happy to make regular runs into the channels.
Forest are not a pressing side as such, but they have been efficient when there is an opportunity to regain the ball inside the opposition half.
While only three Championship clubs made fewer high turnovers last season, when they did create a transition they often turned it into a goalscoring opportunity.
Forest ranked fifth for the most shots from high turnovers in 2021/22.
|Team||High turnovers||Total turnovers|
Off the ball, they defended as a team with great organisation, keeping a disciplined shape.
Conceding just 26 goals from open play in last season’s Championship, the second-lowest figure, Forest will be confident they can be difficult to break down this season.
From there, you can expect to see plenty of excitement when Forest spring those trademark counters.
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Part 2: Wilson to deliver for Fulham again
Part 3: Bournemouth can disrupt the league
Part 4: Kelly and Billing key figures for Bournemouth
Part 6: Johnson and Yates offer pace and craft