Matchweek 35 preview: Now or never for Forest

By Alex Keble 5 May 2023
Premier League - Nottingham Forest v Brighton & Hove Albion

Alex Keble says Nottingham Forest have to beat Southampton to avoid relegation

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Alex Keble looks at the key talking points for Matchweek 35. 

Now or never for Forest 

After the agony of their 2-1 defeat at Brentford, where Nottingham Forest led until the 82nd minute, Steve Cooper must know it is now or never.

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Victory at home to bottom club Southampton is essential.

Anything less would be a crushing blow to their chances of safety.

Forest need to find another win from somewhere, and given that 80 per cent of their points have been won at the City Ground – and with Arsenal their only other home match left – Cooper’s side are running out of wiggle room. This really is it. 

The bottom six

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
15 Bournemouth BOU 38 -34 39
16 Nottingham Forest NFO 38 -30 38
17 Everton EVE 38 -23 36
18 Leicester City LEI 38 -17 34
19 Leeds United LEE 38 -30 31
20 Southampton SOU 38 -37 25
See the full table

Fortunately for the hosts, this is a good time to face Southampton, who won two of their first three outings under Ruben Selles but are now on a nine-match winless run.

What’s more, Forest’s only away success this season was a 1-0 victory at St Mary's Stadium, and Forest have been resurgent over the last few weeks. 

Beginning with a narrow 3-2 defeat at Liverpool, Cooper’s team have looked rejuvenated, scoring six goals in three matches and only losing at Brentford by the tightest of margins; the story of their season. 

Forest have been beaten by a single goal in the Premier League seven times this season, including in three of their last six matches. They took the lead but failed to win on three separate occasions in April, losing two of those matches.

Cooper's side need a bit more luck to get over the line this weekend and revitalise their push to avoid relegation. But with Sam Allardyce at Leeds United and Dean Smith making progress at Leicester City, even three points here might not be enough.

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