In front of the Sky Sports cameras on Friday night, AFC Bournemouth will host Nottingham Forest in a mouth-watering Championship clash. The latter are resurgent since the arrival of Steve Cooper whilst Bournemouth have been in the automatic promotion mix for most of the season. Who will come out on top on the South Coast?
AFC Bournemouth Host Forest at the Vitality Stadium
The league of Entertainment
This season, as is normally the case, the Championship has been intriguing week-in-week-out. Whether it be last-minute goals or high-scoring thrillers, it is coming in abundance. Fulham are running away with it at the top of the tree, putting six past Bristol City and Birmingham plus seven past Reading all in the same week. The chasing pack features the likes of Blackburn, Sheffield United and the two teams in question, Forest and Bournemouth.
THE 𝗦𝗖𝗘𝗡𝗘𝗦 😍 pic.twitter.com/G4TnSkYvKj
— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) February 12, 2022
As previously mentioned, Fulham are a class above the rest under Marco Silva, as is to be expected with their budget. That being said, Bournemouth are just six points off of the top spot in second and the pair have a league game at the Vitality coming up in April. Bournemouth are second in the scoring charts behind the Londoners with Forest in fifth, plus the Cherries have the joint best defensive record alongside Fulham and ninth-placed West Bromwich Albion.
Forest in Fantastic Form Before AFC Bournemouth Game
A few months ago, Nottingham Forest were nervously looking over their shoulder at the relegation zone. Things became sour in the latter stages of Sabri Lamouchi’s reign and with the experienced Chris Hughton brought in next, not a whole lot changed. Now, though, having impressed at the helm of Swansea as well as in England’s youth system. Steve Cooper has lost just four of his 25 games since taking over which has dragged them out of obscurity and into a very plausible playoff race.
In the league, he has taken Nottingham Forest from the bottom of the table to the top six.
In the FA Cup, he has knocked out the most successful side in the competition and the current holders.
— bet365 (@bet365) February 9, 2022
Forest are one of the form teams in the second tier. Meanwhile, Bournemouth have been up-and-down recently. Their last draw came in early December with Fulham and it has been a balance of wins and losses. Since that 1-1 tie with the Cottagers, Bournemouth have won five and lost four in the league. Losing 1-0 to strugglers Hull as well as being defeated by fellow promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough and Blackburn is quite the blow. Amongst the teams that Scott Parker’s men have beaten are QPR and, last time out, Blackpool.
When Bournemouth visited the City Ground back in mid-August, they came out on top. Welshman David Brooks opened the scoring and it was Bournemouth who led at the break. Centre-half Scott McKenna levelled it up for Forest before Phillip Billing restored the Cherries’ lead. Goalscorer Brooks was dismissed just moments later, yet Forest were unable to rescue anything from the fixture.
Forest have lost four of their last five trips to Bournemouth with the solitary victory being by a 2-1 scoreline back in August of 2014. However, Forest’s fortunes have been looking up since the arrival of Cooper. In fact, in this time period, only Fulham (with 48) have accumulated more points than Forest (43) in the league.
AFC Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest Team News
Starting in goal for Forest will not be the number one Brice Samba due to his suspension. He is one of the best goalkeepers in the division, but he can occasionally be erratic. Samba was sent off last time out and so USMNT shot-stopper Ethan Horvath will finally get a chance after joining from Club Brugge in the summer. He excelled in the CONCACAF Nations League final when it mattered most, saving a penalty from Andres Guardado after replacing an injured Zack Steffen. This played a major role in the US’ success.
Beyond Horvath, it will likely be business as usual with Steve Cook continuing to be an integral part at the back. Aston Villa loanee Keinan Davis and academy graduate Brennan Johnson are working well together in the final third and they will need to play a major role if Forest are to prevail.
— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) February 11, 2022
Talking of Steve Cook and he will of course be lining up against his former club. Cook was with Bournemouth for numerous years, from the lower reaches of the EFL all the way up to the promised land, a.k.a. the Premier League. The aforementioned David Brooks of course remains absent as he battles with Stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma, so well wishes are with him. Apart from that, and Kieffer Moore’s broken foot, there are no new omissions to report for Bournemouth.
Championship football under the lights is always worth tuning in for. AFC Bournemouth vs Nottingham Forest is no different; it promises to be a thriller.