Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest: Match Preview | Premier League 2023/24

By afcaarush
8 Min Read

Arsenal start their 2023-24 Premier League campaign at the Emirates for the first time in 5 years as they take on Nottingham Forest on a sunny afternoon.

With a successful pre season and a memorable triumph in the Community Shield vs treble winners Manchester City, Arsenal will look up to start the season on a high note. Finishing last season just short of the Premier League title, Mikel Arteta would want to get his hands to the trophy this time around.

Nottingham Forest managed to survive relegation and finished in 16th place in the Premier League standings and were fairly impressive towards the end of their campaign. The Tricky Trees had a decent pre season tour where they managed to win only 2 of their 7 friendlies with lots of experimenting in their shuffled teams. Scoring thrice and conceded 10 times, Cooper would like to change their fate and start the new season on a positive note vs Arsenal.

This one could be a season starter with the Forest side making a long trip to N5, but yet there is someone who’s all at home at the Emirates. A certain Matt Turner who just recently completed his move away from Arsenal to Nottingham Forest is all set to start in goal for what I am now calling, the Matt Turner derby. 

When and where?

Date: 12th August 2023
Time: 5:00 PM IST
Venue: Emirates Stadium

Match Officials

Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: Stuart Burt, Dan Cook
Fourth Officials: Darren Bond
VAR: Jarred Gillett
Assistant VAR: Darren Cann

Team News:

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Arteta in his pre match interview signaled a green light the health of the players in exception to that of Mohamed Elneny who is continued in rehab following his knee injury back in January and main man Gabriel Jesus who underwent a small procedure on his knee in the pre-season and is expected to be back in a couple of weeks.

This also means Jorginho, who missed the Community Shield final and Zinchenko who missed pre-season are both back and travelled with the main squad.

Now there was this huge uproar around Gabriel Magalhaes around the FPL deadline time yesterday, but he is expected to be fit and starting from the information available.

Taiwo Awoniyi, last seasons; top scorer for the visitors is back in training but is struggling to recover from his ankle injury. Felipe is set to miss out and Brennan Johnson is expected to return to the squad after picking up an ankle injury on international duty.


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Arsenal were brilliant tactically last week against Pep’s City, but Nottingham poses a different challenge – they will surely be expected to have more feel of the ball as they look their way around Steve Cooper’s side. This also means they will have to deal will different kind of threats, especially ones that start in the opponent’s box and transit their way at pace. Nottingham have been good at posing threat in such transition plays.   

The Gunners start with two full-backs that are good on inverting, but Timber is expected to cuff on that role while Ben White takes up the third CB position on build-up although will be more involved on the wings helping Saka/Odegaard in the half-spaces as the game progresses. 

Declan Rice was slicing the centre-back duo of Saliba & Gabriel on build-ups while Timber was taking more of an offensive role against City, it will be interesting to see how that side of build-up process is taken up by the Gunners as well today. 

As last couple of games, Partey & Rice are taking up that midfield spots alongside Odegaard, and Havertz upfront – need to keep an eye on Mikel and his starting lineup if Kai Havertz drops back to make way for Eddie/Trossard and Rice takes charge of that mid-three although having said that, I expect the former. 

Key Players:

Bukayo Saka:

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Saka was nothing short of exceptional throughout the pre-season encounters, being a constant threat in the team. Bagging 2 goals and 3 assists in pre-season for Arsenal. Bukayo Saka last season featured in all of Arsenal’s 38 instrumental fixtures which saw them come 2nd in the league. He was one of only two players to register over 10+ goals & 10+ assists (14 goals 11 assists). His ability to hold the game to the width of the pitch and excellent dribbling skills make it almost impossible to get the ball away from him. He could take advantage of Forest’s not so reliable back line and open his tally for the Premier League season.

Jurrien Timber:

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Arsenal’s new recruit this summer bought from Ajax for €34M has showed his worth in this young Arsenal side every time he has featured. Playing as LB in Zinchenko’s absence, Jurrien Timber played a pivotal role in Arsenal lifting silverware in the Community Shield fixture vs Manchester City. His ability to win duels, interceptions and anticipate the match is what makes him different from all. He would want his Premier League debut to be memorable if he could get a win and a clean sheet!

Morgan Gibbs-White:

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Gibbs-White was a big proportion of Forest’s offense last season and he is expected to take on the reigns for Forest this season as well, especially following his impressive performances in England’s triumph of Euro U21.  The 23 year old finished second in the team for most goals, while he lead the team high 9 assists in 37 appearances. The previous fixture vs Arsenal, it was Morgan Gibbs White’s through ball which Awoniyi pounced upon last season which narrowed the chances of Arsenal’s title challenge last season. It confirmed their survival and handed City the title, talk about the magnitude of impact he can have…

Predicted XIs:

Arsenal (4-2-1-3): Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Timber, Partey, Rice, Odegaard, Saka, Havertz, Martinelli
Nottingham Forest (3-5-2): Turner; Worrall, Boly, McKenna; Aurier, Yates, Danilo, Mangala, Aina; Gibbs-White, Elanga.

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