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Why Do Nottingham Forest Keep Losing 3-2?

Christian Eriksen takes a corner for manchester united

Nottingham Forest have lost 3-2 six times in 24 Premier League matches this season. The 3-2 loss to Newcastle United on Saturday, February 10, was Forest’s 13th loss of the campaign, leaving them two points above the relegation zone.

So, why do the Reds keep falling on the wrong side of the same scoreline? Let’s take a look at the six games that have followed this pattern to try and find some answers.

Nottingham Forest Losing 3-2 in the 23/24 Season

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Inability To Defend a Lead

On five of the six occasions that Forest have lost 3-2 this season, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men have been in the lead and gone on to lose. The first time this happened was away at Manchester United, when the Reds raced into a 2-0 lead after only four minutes. However, United came back to win the game in the second half.

This happened a further two times under Steve Cooper, against West Ham and Brighton. Away at West Ham, Anthony Elanga put them in the lead in the 63rd minute. Less than a minute later, Jarrod Bowen scored from a corner to equalise and Tomáš Souček scored a late header to win the game for the Hammers in the 88th minute.

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The loss against Brighton followed a similar pattern, with Forest going ahead and then quickly conceding, culminating in another 3-2 defeat. This pattern under Nuno has not changed. Against Bournemouth and Brentford, the Reds scored the opening goal of the game, however, it only took Bournemouth four minutes to respond and Brentford 16 minutes to equalise following the opener.

Set Pieces

Remarkably, ten of the 18 goals the Tricky Trees have conceded in the 3-2 losses this term have come from set pieces. Whether that be from a corner, the second phase of a wide free-kick, or a penalty, they have continually failed to deal sufficiently with set pieces from opposition teams.

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On December 13, 2023, Evangelos Marinakis appointed a set-piece coach, Simon Rusk. This is the first time that Forest have ever appointed a specialist coach for this discipline. Since his appointment, there has been limited improvement in defending set-piece situations. Ben Mee’s unmarked header in the 3-2 loss at Brentford highlighted this, alongside Newcastle United’s two routines, which undid the Reds with ease.

West Ham Next

The visit of West Ham United on Saturday, February 17, will spell trouble for Nuno’s team if they continue to defend set-piece situations. James Ward Prowse’s “set-piece mastery” from corners and free-kicks aimed at the likes of Souček and Kurt Zouma will be a significant worry for the East Midlands Club.

While outsiders may look at this game as winnable given West Ham’s current form, including a 6-0 loss to Arsenal, Forest fans will be dreading each free-kick and corner that is given away.

To stop the rot of losing 3-2, the Tricky Trees will need to defend more robustly from set-pieces, while also finding a way to manage winning positions much better.

The return of African Cup of Nations winners Ibrahim Sangare and Willy Boly, who will bring much-needed height and experience to the backline, may help Forest change their fortunes.


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