After crashing out of the FA Cup two weeks ago, Spurs now find themselves out of the Champions League at the hands of AC Milan. With just the Premier League to focus on, Antonio Conte needs to set his sights on securing Tottenham’s place in the top four and closing the gap on Manchester United before his inevitable summer departure.
This season has been the most typical season for Tottenham Hotspur. Starting the season as an outside shout for the Premier League crown, Conte’s side now find themselves clutching onto their spot in the top 4, misfiring on the pitch and falling apart off it. These next three months are all about damage limitation as Spurs limp over the finish lining, hoping for another season with Champions League football.
Nottingham Forest could have been well away from the relegation zone had they performed against West Ham and Everton. After picking up a massive point against Manchester City, fixtures against West Ham and Everton gave Steve Cooper’s side an excellent opportunity to climb the table and put distance between themselves and the bottom three. However, like we’ve seen much of before this season, Forest seems to struggle when playing teams around them and they picking up just one point from both games against relegation rivals. They still obtain the worst away record in the division, an accolade they need to remove if they want to survive in the top flight. Up next? A tough task of going to Tottenham, with both sides in need of points on the board.
WHEN AND WHERE
Where: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
When: 21st March 2023
Referee: Craig Pawson.
Assistants: Marc Perry, Scott Ledger.
Fourth official: Tim Robinson.
VAR: Darren England.
Assistant VAR: Derek Eaton.
Finally, some good news on the injury front for Nottingham Forest. Taiwo Awoniyi, Moussa Niakhate and Cheikhou Kouyate are all nearing a return to fitness, with some having already returned to first-team training. Five players still remain sidelined with long-term injuries in Steve Cooper’s side.
The hosts will still be without a number of key first-team players, including Hugo Lloris who are all suffering with long-term injuries. Christian Romero, who was sent off against AC Milan will still be available for selection as his suspension doesn’t impact domestic football.
The state of affairs on the pitch has been bleak for both of these sides. Spurs have crashed out of all knock-out competitions, whilst putting in some dreary performances, whilst Nottingham Forest have been dragged into a messy relegation battle after a string of poor performances – meaning this could be a game to forget for anyone tuning in.
No one is quite sure what is going on in North London, but it all seems to be falling apart for Antonio Conte’s side. All signs are suggesting that the Italian will be out of the door this summer, in the meantime, results need to improve, starting with this weekends encounter with Nottingham Forest.
On the road, Forest seems to crumble in the face of the adversary. The Reds are often overwhelmed when playing away from home, looking devoid of all ideas and scared to get out of their own half. Against West Ham we saw Forest unable to link passes together, looked sloppy in possession and couldn’t find a way forward. This is exactly what Spurs need to take advantage of. They’re coming up against a team who are scared and who are in desperate need of points, which is something they can easily exploit.
As long as Spurs can stop any balls forward to Brennan Johnson and Morgan Gibbs-White, Spurs will silence any opposing attacks, then it’s just a case of hitting the Forest backline until it breaks – and break it will. Forest have a sturdy backline, one that’s been tough to break down this season, but as we saw against West Ham just one goal is enough to make the ship sink and cast the floodgates open. This is exactly the game Spurs need to rekindle their form.
Spurs – Harry Kane
Quietly having one of his best ever seasons, Harry Kane currently sits second in the Premier League scoring charts behind the obscene record of Erling Haaland. Kane has proven over the years he always knows how to find the back of the yet, a trend that has continued even when the form of his teammates drops. With teams and scouts watching from across Europe, Kane will soon be weighing up his options for the summer. Nottingham Forest is exactly the type of opposition he needs to get some more goals under his belt, if Forest’s poor away form is to continue no doubt Kane will be on the score sheet.
Nottingham Forest – Brennan Johnson
If Johnson scores 3 more league goals this season, he would have scored 10 goals in the past three consecutive seasons, all at different levels – that is quite the trajectory. The 21-year-old has been in excellent form since the end of the World Cup and is one of the few reasons why Nottingham Forest find themselves 14th in the league, with his brace against Everton rescuing his side a point. If The Reds are to get anything on the road this weekend Johnson will be in the middle of it.
PREDICTED STARTING LINEUPs
Spurs: Forster, Romero, Dier, Davies, Porro, Skipp, Hojbjerg, Perisic, Kulusevski, Kane, Son
Forest: Navas, Lodi, Felipe, Worrall, Aurier, Yates, Shelvey, Scarpa, Gibbs-White, Ayew, Johnson