Arsenal are set to welcome Nottingham Forest to the Emirates this weekend, looking for a win after enduring a win-less streak in the last 2 games.
The Gunners went down 2-0 to PSV Eindhoven in the Europa League after their draw against Southampton last weekend, while Nottingham Forest bested Liverpool 1-0 on the same weekend. Amid a stretch of just four goals in five fixtures, Arsenal failed to secure three points in successive outings for the first time in the 2022/23 campaign over the course of this past week.
Mohamed Elneny and Emile Smith Rowe are still sidelined with their hamstring and groin injuries respectively, while Oleksandr Zinchenko and Marquinhos both missed training on Wednesday, and the latter is definitely absent.
Should Gabriel be ruled out of this contest, Ben White could shift across to partner William Saliba at centre-back, with Takehiro Tomiyasu and Kieran Tierney down the flanks. Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka will also be among the players to return to the first XI.
As for the visitors, the quartet of Omar Richards, Jack Colback, Harry Toffolo and Moussa Niakhate remain sidelined, while Lewis O’Brien has been dealing with a nasty case of illness. It remains to be seen if O’Brien recovers sufficiently in time for the trip to the Emirates.
Nevertheless, Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper should leave his starting lineup largely untouched against Arsenal following their memorable success over Liverpool. Jesse Lingard endured another fruitless afternoon and was taken off just after the hour mark, which means that Brennan Johnson could likely get an immediate recall to the first XI.
Player To Watch Out For – Brennan Johnson
Brennan Johnson will be looking to take the Premier League by storm the same way he did in the Championship last year. The 21-year-old is skilfull, speedy and a danger in front of the goal. Johnson notched 19 goals and 9 assists in 53 games for Forest in their 2021/22 campaign (stats via transfermarkt), as Forest got promoted to the Premier League.
His dual moves, in an attempt to widen vertical channels by drawing opponents out of their defensive line, provide opportunities for his team to create and exploit those spaces in equal measure. Johnson’s double moves also stand out as Forest, looking to counter from a deep block, rely on him to carry the ball. In these scenarios, he is usually placed on the right flank and mimics an inversion before receiving the ball closer to the sideline.
His strength is to receive on the right foot, with the extra space allowing him to run the ball across his body and start a smooth drive down the touchline. When space opens up, especially in wide areas, he uses heavy touches to directly exploit those gaps.
In moments of attacking transition, the Welshman excels in attacking the goal without the ball. He hangs in front of the defensive line and ends up trying to position himself in his marker’s blind spot.
A significant proportion of Johnson’s goals are first-time efforts from close range, following a transitional phase. He needs to grow significantly as a player to play in a more possession-based system. Despite his shortcomings, Johnson is an exciting player to watch, and he certainly has a bright future ahead of him.
Arsenal Predicted Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1):
Aaron Ramsdale (GK); Takehiro Tomiyasu (RB), William Saliba (CB), Ben White(CB), Kieran Tierney (LB); Granit Xhaka (CM), Thomas Partey (CM); Bukayo Saka (RW), Martin Odegaard (CAM), Gabriel Martinelli (LW); Gabriel Jesus (ST).
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Predicted Score: Arsenal 2-0 Nottingham Forest
Arsenal should get a comfortable 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest on the weekend with their rested squad after losing to PSV in Europa League. Forest despite stunning Liverpool haven’t found that consistency in their play to beat the league leaders. Gabriel Jesus and Odegaard will score for the Gunners to extend their stay at the top.
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