Match Focus: Nottingham Forest


Head-To-Head Stats

  • 98 meetings between the clubs – Fulham have won 40, lost 30 with 28 draws.
  • Fulham have won 4 of the last 8 meetings, losing just once.
  • Both teams have scored in 7 of the last 9 matches.
  • One of the 2 exceptions was the last meeting between the sides; a 2-0 win at the Cottage and match 8 of our 23-game unbeaten run.
  • The only club Fulham have faced more times than Nottingham Forest is Blackpool.
  • All 90 league games so far have come in the top 2 divisions, a trend which continues this season.

Last 8 Meetings

  • 03/02/18 – Fulham 2-0 Forest
  • 26/09/17 – Forest 1-3 Fulham
  • 14/02/17 – Fulham 3-2 Forest
  • 27/09/16 – Forest 1-1 Fulham
  • 23/04/16 – Fulham 1-3 Forest
  • 05/12/15 – Forest 3-0 Fulham
  • 21/01/15 – Fulham 3-2 Forest
  • 17/09/14 – Forest 5-3 Fulham

Players in Common

Mark Crossley

Crossley began his career with Forest as a trainee, making his debut in 1987 when he was considered 4th choice. A couple of years later he established himself as their number one and went into make 395 appearances, 392 in the starting lineup.

In 1991 he started in the FA Cup final loss to Spurs and became a firm favourite with the Forest supporters. In total he spent 13 seasons with the club and was given a testimonial in 1999/00 for his service to the club. The Welsh international only parted company with the Nottinghamshire side because financial difficulties forced them to sell.

Nottingham Forest – 395 appearances

Via spells with Boro and Stoke City, Mark signed for Fulham in 2003. In total he represented 9 clubs during his career and although his 4 seasons at Fulham is nothing like his duration at Forest, Fulham were still his second longest serving club.

He spent the majority of his career in SW6 as second choice first to Edwin Van Der Sar and then Antti Niemi but rarely put a foot wrong when he was called upon. His highlights in a Fulham shirt would be his contribution during the famous Chelsea win at the Cottage in 2006, making a couple of vital saves towards the end of the match.  Also, the 1-4 win up at Tyneside when Newcastle recorded 20 shots on target, all but one saved by Mark including one with his face in a stunning man of the match performance.

Fulham – 23 appearances

Plus – Dave Beasant, Andy Cole, Stan Collymore, Mark Crossley, Danny Cullip, Ashkan Dejagah, Roy Dwight, Jonathan Greening, Pajtim Kasami, Paul Konchesky, Ross McCormack, Andy Melville & Nicky Shorey.

Forest Stats from 2018/19  

  • Had a relatively good season, narrowly missing out on the play-offs in 9th place.
  • Forest had a poor away record last season winning only 4 out of their 23 away games, drawing 11 and losing the other 8.
  • This averages out at 1 point per away game last season.
  • They kept 7 away clean sheets in the league and 16 overall.
  • Forest scored 27 away goals averaging a goal every 77 minutes.
  • They conceded 33 away goals which is an average of a goal every 63 minutes.
  • On their travels, they went in winning at half time 4 times last season.
  • 63% of their away goals (17) came in the second half.
  • They scored first away from home 9 times.
  • Of their 4 away wins during the last campaign, only 1 of those came against a team in the top half (Middlesbrough).
  • Fulham are most likely to concede in the first 15 minutes of the game based on when Forest most frequently scored away in 2018/19.
  • Furthermore, Fulham are most likely to score in the last 15 minutes based on when Forest conceded the most.

Forest Player stats  

Key Men last year

  • Striker Lewis Grabban was top scorer for Forest last season scoring 16 and assisting 3.
  • Winger Joe Lolley played all 46 games for in 2018/19 – scoring 11 and assisting 11.
  • Goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon also played all 46 games for them last year and kept 15 Clean Sheets. He has been displaced by new signing Arlo Muric.
  • Jack Colback has Premier League experience and was important for them last season. He made 3.2 tackles per game with a pass success rate of 87.3%.
  • None of their centre-backs last year made more than 15 appearances.

New signings

  • Centre back – Chema was linked with Fulham during the summer. He signed from Levante where he averaged 1.1 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game.
  • Right-back – Carl Jenkinson from Arsenal
  • Right Midfielder – Albert Adomah who scored 21 goals whilst at Villa.
  • They have had a high turnover, signing 13 new first-team players and selling 10.

Battle to Watch

Jenkinson vs Cavaleiro: After the last two games against Huddersfield and Millwall, it’d be hard to disagree that keeping tabs on Cavaleiro will be key in deciding who wins the game against Forest this weekend. After a great goal on Friday night, but not necessarily the best performance overall, Cavaleiro stepped up again with a brilliant performance under the lights against Millwall with two quality goals. The threat all of our front three pose makes it exciting for us to watch but opposition defences can’t be looking forward to facing it – especially the fullbacks.

 After a long association with Arsenal, Carl Jenkinson moved to Forest in the summer and got his first start in a midweek draw with Charlton at the Valley. Not really blessed with great pace, the right-back will have to make sure his positional play is very smart if Forest have a chance of negating at least one of our attacking trident.

Opposition View (@LondonTrickies)

What did you make of Martin O’Neill’s brief spell in charge and are you pleased he was sacked?

Strange one. I don’t think he was ever the right appointment to begin with and was probably about 15 years too late. He made some really odd decisions and the football wasn’t pretty on the eye. Some questionable starting XI’s and his reluctance to play Joao Carvalho, one of our more talented players, was quite frustrating at times.

The bigger issue for me is that another club legend has come in and basically left under a cloud. A lot of fans will naturally always remember that Martin O’Neill is a club legend at Forest but there will now always be this sour note on which he will be remembered. I don’t think he should ever have been appointed to begin with but I also feel he was never given a chance by some elements of our fanbase.

Your very local rivals Notts County were relegated from the football league last season. Is this something that Forest fans celebrate or are you sad that a local derby is even further out of reach?

To most Forest fans Notts County has never been a local rival, more of an annoying little brother who always wanted your attention. Saying that I never personally wished them any bad fortune and was quite sad to see them go down. I know plenty of our fans weren’t too sympathetic of their plight, mainly due to their fans being quite graceless when we’ve had our own difficulties over the years and their previous owner, Alan Hardy, attempting to create some kind of inter-city divide between the two clubs which became quite petty and basically made him look like a complete tool. I think he said County would overtake Forest in 5 years and without tempting fate, this has backfired quite spectacularly for them.

How do you typically set up and what are your strengths/weaknesses?

Hard to say as Sabri Lamouchi has only been here for a short amount of time. We are much more organised than previous seasons and our midfield, an area where we have struggled to impose ourselves in matches, looks a lot stronger with Alfa Semedo and Samba Sow providing some muscle and energy. We will set up in a 4-1-4-1 with Ben Watson sitting just in front of the defence and helping to bring the ball out to our more attacking players.

Our first two games we looked like what we were, a side with a load of new players and a new manager. We focussed on keeping quite a rigid style where everyone knew their roles. Birmingham in our third match was where things clicked, if such a thing is possible after 3 matches! We were clinical, created plenty of chances and caused a lot of problems down the wing with Lolley and Ameobi, in particular, looking good.

Strengths are our defence and organisation, weaknesses are definitely our pace going forward – we don’t have any!

In all honesty, we could expect anything because we are a new team with loads of new players and a new manager.. so it could be interesting!

What are your expectations this season?

Depends on who you ask! For me, another year of building on our 9th place finish would be a good start, whilst keeping the same manager and allowing him to build a squad and style. I imagine our owners and the board are a little more optimistic and would be expecting a serious Top 6 charge. The league does look really open this year (when doesn’t it?!) and outside of Fulham / West Brom / Leeds, there are about 10-12 teams who have a chance.

Top 6 & Bottom 3 predictions?

Leeds, Fulham.

West Brom, Bristol City, Forest (ignore my answer above!), Derby.

Bottom three – Birmingham, Barnsley, Millwall.

How do you see the game panning out?

Similar to the Leeds game, we will probably be quite cautious and let you have a lot of the ball whilst being solid at the back and restricting your changes. Will look to take advantage of set pieces and probably get more adventurous as the game goes on. I think your midfield and attack is much stronger than Leeds’ though so we will have a much tougher time executing the same gameplan. In Lolley and Grabban we have got two very good attackers for this division so we always have a goal threat.

Fulham 2-1 Forest.

Predicted Lineup

(4-3-3) Muric; Cash, Dawson, Worrall, Robinson; Watson, Sow, Semedo; Adomah, Grabban, Lolley.

Thanks to Nottingham Forest supporters group @LondonTrickies for answering our questions. 

Alex’s View

After three wins on the bounce, and improvement in performance each time, going into Saturday’s game with anything other than optimism is difficult. Our ball retention has been good so far this season, but the speed at which the ball was circulated throughout the team on Wednesday made us a far more dangerous proposition. Forest will surely not be as lax in their attempts to pressurise the Fulham players as Millwall – otherwise our passing rhythm has the potential to sweep them away.

In terms of the threat brought by the opposition, Tiago Silva in midfield will need close monitoring by Harry Arter to make sure he doesn’t have the space to utilise his creative talents and the threat from the wings by any of Ameobi, Adomah and Cash could be unsettling. Although any repeat of the performance on Wednesday night should see us through what is likely to be a trickier encounter than we’ve had in the last couple of weeks.

Fulham 2-1 Forest.

Predicted Lineup

(4-3-3): Betts; Sessegnon, Mawson, Ream, Bryan; Arter, Johansen, Cairney; Knockaert, Mitro, Cavaleiro.