Nottingham Forest have made an encouraging start to the season under Sabri Lamouchi and are currently fourth in the Sky Bet Championship table.
After a run of five games without a win, the Reds have won their last three matches and are starting to build some momentum again.
Forest will be hoping to continue their good form going into the second half of the season, but for now, they must turn their attention to the FA Cup third round, where they will travel to eight-time winners Chelsea.
The Reds were knocked out of the competition by Chelsea at this stage last season, losing 2-0 at Stamford Bridge – thanks to a brace from Alvaro Morata.
Forest will be hoping to avoid a repeat of that scoreline this season and with this in mind, here is the starting XI that Lamouchi should pick for the clash at Stamford Bridge…
Winning promotion is the most important thing for Nottingham Forest this season, so Lamouchi should use this game as an opportunity to rest some of his key players, but he should keep faith with the 4-2-3-1 formation.
Brice Samba has been magnificent for Forest this season and should keep his place in goal. He’ll be determined to put on another good performance and keep his 12th clean sheet of the season.
Chema suffered an injury in the previous game, so Jack Robinson is likely to return to the side at left-back. The 26-year-old has been criticised by Forest fans for some poor performances this season so he may feel that he has a point to prove.
Joe Worrall should keep his place at centre-back, but Michael Dawson should come into the side in place of Tobias Figueiredo. He’s been on the bench for the last four matches and could do with the minutes.
Matty Cash should keep his place at right-back and will be looking to continue his good form.
Moving into midfield, Lamouchi is likely to rest Samba Sow and Ben Watson. John Bostock and Ryan Yates should both come into the side and both will be keen to impress their manager.
Sammy Ameobi keeps his place on the left, with Joe Lolley on the right. The latter has been a key player for Forest and has shown signs over the past few matches that he’s getting back to his old self.
As there’s over a week until the next game, Lolley should keep his place in the side and will be hoping to continue his reassurance.
Joao Carvalho should come into the side in the No. 10 position, with his compatriot Tiago Silva dropping to the bench.
The 22-year-old hasn’t started a game for Forest for five matches and with his future at the City Ground currently uncertain, he’ll be determined to put on a good performance to impress his manager.
Up front, Lamouchi should make a change. Lewis Grabban has been excellent for Forest this season and is in fine scoring form at the moment, but he should be rested for this game.
He’s such an important player for Forest and they cannot afford to lose him to an injury. Wolves loanee Rafa Mir is expected to leave the club this month, so it seems unlikely that he would start in place of Grabban.
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With this in mind, Lamouchi should start Albert Adomah up front. It’s not his natural position, but the forward played their against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup earlier in the season and he should have enough experience to make it work against Chelsea.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.