Nottingham Forest have had a mixed start to their Championship campaign, with manager Sabri Lamouchi’s side recording three wins, three draws and one defeat in their first seven games this season, yielding a points return of 12 from a possible 21 available to the Midlands based side.
Lamouchi has spent the summer transfer window strengthening his squad, with the former midfielder bringing in a total of 12 new faces during that period.
The additions of certain loan players provides the club with high quality who can slot into key positions of the team without the club having to spend large amounts of money to strengthen the team, representing smart business by Lamouchi, which seems to be paying off for Forest so far this season.
One of these loan additions has come in the form of 20-year-old Manchester City goalkeeper Arijanet Muric, who has moved to the City Ground for the duration of the 2019/2020 campaign, providing a strong option between the sticks to give competition to the likes of Costel Pantilimon, Brice Samba and Jordan Smith.
We decided to take a look at how the youngster has performed for Forest so far – here’s THREE words that sum up Arijanet Muric’s start to life at Nottingham Forest….
The 20-year-old Kosovan international endured a slow start to his Forest career with the youngster receiving criticism for his early performances at the City Ground, after he made two high profile errors during his debut against West Brom. His poor positioning first allowed a Matty Phillips cross to sail into the net, before later allowing a weak shot from Kyle Edwards to go his through his hands, leading to Forest losing 2-1.
It is still early days for Muric and he has followed up his shaky debut by registering a clean sheet against Birmingham City and producing a brilliant performance away at high-flying Charlton Athletic, with the young keeper denying the in-form Addicks team on several occasions.
When diving deep into Muric’s statistics so far this season, it is clear that the 20-year-old shot stopper has performed OK thus far for Forest.
For example, the young goalkeeper has shown his strength at saving shots from close range, with the Kosovan averaging 1.5 saves within the penalty area per game, with the keeper showing good examples of this ability when denying both Jonathan Leko and Conor Gallagher from close range in the game against Charlton.
It is also worth noting that Muric has appeared on 24 occasions, keeping nine clean sheets in the process, for Manchester City’s first team, showing that Pep Guardiola clearly has a lot of faith in the youngster’s ability, with the Spanish manager no doubt hoping Muric develops even quicker whilst on loan at Forest.
Despite his obvious strengths, Muric does have a number of weaknesses in his game that he should look to improve upon, with the 20-year-old being criticised heavily by Forest fans for his perceived lack of ability to command his area, as was shown by his performance in his recent game against England for the Kosovo national side.
In addition to his positioning, Muric should also look to improve his distribution skills with the youngster having only recorded a pass success of just 56.7%, which could be put down to the lack of accuracy of his long passes, with the Kosovo international recording an average of 10.3 inaccurate long balls per game, supporting WhoScored.com’s claims that this is one of the player’s weak areas of his game.
However, it should be noted that Muric will be more used to playing a more short passing based style of football for his parent club, Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola preferring to play possession football, whereas Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi has his team set up to create chances on the counter attack through a more direct style of play, and this is something Muric will have to adapt to if he is to be first choice at the club.