Nottingham Forest extended their unbeaten to three games at the weekend, drawing 0-0 with Birmingham City at the City Ground.
The Reds will have been looking to build on a couple of positive results of late, defeating Sheffield Wednesday before picking up a point against Millwall at The Den.
They made it three games unbeaten on Boxing Day, holding Birmingham City to a 0-0 draw at the City Ground in a game which lacked real quality throughout.
Chris Hughton’s side were the better team in the opening 45 minutes, having the game’s best chance when Ryan Yates saw his volley be denied by Neil Etheridge at close-range.
But Birmingham did assert their dominance on the game a lot more in the second-half, and could have snatched all three points late on when Ivan Sanchez forced a fine save out of Brice Samba.
In the end, the spoils were shared after a drab Boxing Day display on Trentside. Here, we take a look at three things we clearly learnt about Forest after their stalemate at the weekend…
Lack of firepower a concern
For the fourth time this season, Forest drew a blank at the City Ground, failing to find the back of the net on home turf following a disappointing display.
Very few chances were carved out throughout, with Hughton’s men struggling to break down a well-drilled, compact Birmingham side.
Anthony Knockaert, Lyle Taylor and Joe Lolley were all introduced on the hour mark, but even then, the trio’s introduction couldn’t bring any inspiration.
And, when they did create half-chances for themselves, they failed to take them. Yates’ volley in the first-half was straight at Etheridge, and Sammy Ameobi could have done better with a curling effort.
Forest need to start picking up wins, and to do that, they need to find the net. Despite having so much firepower going forward, once again, they lacked that cohesion and rhythm.
Figueiredo steps up
Before the game, Chris Hughton’s decision to drop Loic Mbe Soh and bring Tobias Figueiredo back into the side raised eyebrows amongst fans.
Mbe Soh had produced two positive performances against Sheffield Wednesday and Millwall, whilst Figueiredo’s form has dipped this season.
But Figueiredo, alongside his trusted defensive partner Joe Worrall, produced a fine defensive performance and helped nullify Birmingham’s physical threat.
They stood up and dealt with balls into the box, and apart from a late chance for Sanchez, the Reds were at very little danger of conceding.
When the chips are down and results aren’t going your way, it’s important to stay solid and grind out a point. That’s what they did.
Consistency is key
This is the first time since returning from the international break that Forest have put a decent run of form together.
They came undone against five of the top-six sides following the break, but it’s now three games unbeaten heading into the New Year after some positive results of late.
Of course, Forest aren’t anywhere near where they want to be at the moment, and this season looks like it will culminate in a bottom-half finish, if not worse.
But this recent run of for could be seen as a step in the right direction, and they will look to extend their unbeaten run ahead of two tough trips to Stoke and Preston.