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Nottingham Forest Predicted Lineup vs Manchester United in FA Cup

Nuno Espirito Santo shouts instructions from the sidelines

Nottingham Forest were disappointing in their 4-2 loss against Aston Villa on Saturday, February 24. Nuno Espírito Santo’s side found themselves 3-0 down after 39 minutes but fought back well in the second half to make the scoreline respectable.

Forest have made it to the FA Cup fifth round the hard way this season, needing replays to beat Blackpool and Bristol City. Manchester United were beaten at the City Ground in the Premier League on December 30, 2023, which was Forest’s first victory against the Red Devils since 1994.

They will be hoping to repeat this feat and secure a spot in the FA Cup quarter-final, as they did in the 2021/22 Championship promotion season. Here is the Nottingham Forest predicted lineup for the visit of the 12-time FA Cup winners.

Nottingham Forest Predicted Lineup vs Manchester United in FA Cup Clash

How Nottingham Forest Have Lined-Up Recently

Matz Sels will likely retain his place in goal, ahead of Matt Turner, who saved a penalty in the shootout victory against Bristol City in the FA Cup fourth round. Turner’s error-strewn performance against United nearly cost Forest all three points in the Premier League game at the City Ground, so Nuno will be reluctant to reinstate the American shot-stopper.

Neco Williams continued at right back against Aston Villa while Argentinian World Cup winner Gonzalo Montiel returned to the bench. Nuno might want to give Montiel valuable minutes to improve his match fitness ahead of some critical Premier League games.

Nuno Tavares was impressive against West Ham on Saturday, February 17, but he wasn’t in the squad against Aston Villa due to an injury. John Percy of the Telegraph reported on Monday, February 26, that the left-back will be out for four weeks.

This paves the way for Harry Toffolo to start against Erik ten Hag’s side. Nuno opted for Moussa Niakhaté at left-back against Aston Villa, but he struggled against Leon Bailey in a torrid first half for the Reds, resulting in Toffolo being subbed on at half-time.

At center-back, Felipe and Murillo began at Aston Villa, but they were unable to get to grips with Villa’s sharp attacking players. Both were subbed off at half-time and are unlikely to start against United.

Read More: Why do Nottingham Forest Keep Losing 3-2?

Danilo and Nico Dominguez were overwhelmed by Villa’s box midfield on February 27. Ryan Yates came on late in the game, and Nuno might be tempted to reintroduce the English midfielder to the lineup against United.

Ten Hag let Anthony Elanga leave in the summer, and the Swedish winger picked up an assist in the 2-1 win at the City Ground. He will be looking to haunt his former club once again.

On the other wing, Callum Hudson-Odoi has scored three goals in four games. Morgan Gibbs-White scored his third goal of the season against Villa and was the hero last time out against United when he scored the winning goal. There is a question mark about whether he will start on February 28, as Forest play Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday, February 2.

Taiwo Awoniyi started against Unai Emery’s side, however, he was withdrawn at half-time due to fitness concerns. Divock Origi came on to replace the Nigerian striker and provided the assist for Gibbs-White’s goal. He is in contention to start against United.

Watch: How Fabrizio Romano Broke Football News Forever

Nottingham Forest Recent Form and Tactics

The game against Aston Villa was Nuno’s time at Forest, in a nutshell. The Tricky Trees were dangerous in attack, and at 3-2, it looked like they could secure a surprise point on the road. However, they were undone yet again by defensive errors, leaving themselves too much to do.

In Nuno’s nine Premier League matches, they have conceded 18 goals, equating to two goals per game. Forest are continually having to score at least twice to pick up a result, meaning the performances do not warrant the results they deserve.

They have scored 17 goals in this time, but Nuno needs to find a balance between defence and attack to win the required games that would secure Premier League safety.

Read More: Analysing The Impact of Nuno Espírito Santo at Nottingham Forest

The Portuguese manager has persisted with a 4-2-3-1 formation, which worked well against West Ham on February 17, but against Villa, the midfield two were continually overrun. Against Manchester United in the Premier League, Nuno opted for three defensive midfielders in Danilo, Dominguez, and Yates. He might be tempted to repeat this tactic to sure up Forest defensively.

United leave huge gaps in their midfield due to their inconsistent press, which will be something that Nuno will look to exploit on the counterattack. Gibbs-White flourished in the game at the City Ground against United, and Nuno will be seriously considering another start for the “talisman”, even with the Liverpool game on the horizon.

Nottingham Forest Injuries to Consider

The three Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finalists, Willy Boly, Ibrahim Sangaré, and Ola Aina, are all unavailable for this match. In his press conference on Monday, February 26, Nuno said: “Unfortunately nothing has changed. We still have the problems with the injured players. It is basically the same. We hope they will be back as soon as possible, that is what we want.”

“Of course it is a big problem for us. It is something we are concerned about; too much of this situation is happening and creating a lot of problems in terms of options for us. Hopefully, it will improve and we have more solutions.”

The list of injured players includes Chris Wood, who has a hamstring injury, as well as Tavares, who has an ongoing thigh issue.

Nottingham Forest Predicted Lineup

GK: Matz Sels

RB: Gonzalo Montiel

CB: Moussa Niakhaté

CB: Murillo

LB: Harry Toffolo

DM: Danilo

DM: Nico Dominguez

RM: Anthony Elanga

CAM: Morgan Gibbs-White

LM: Callum Hudson-Odoi

ST: Divock Origi


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