Nottingham Forest were drawn away to Premier League giants in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday with the Reds looking to complete another upset against the Gunners.
Forest edged past Fleetwood and dominated local rivals Derby County to set up a tie with the North London giants. They of course will hoping to emulate the famous win over Arsenal in the FA Cup back in 2018.
But times have changed for both of the sides with Forest having appointed a new manager in the summer and Arsenal now 12 months into a new regime under Unai Emery,
Forest have had a good start under the new manager, currently sitting just outside of the play-off places with the pick of their results being a 2-1 away win at Fulham last Saturday.
Having seen a lot of Nottingham Forest on the highlights this season, I’ve been impressed with the new style of football under Sabri Lamouchi as he seems to have put an emphasis on the attacking part of the game. Forest have added a host of attacking talent to their ranks which have shown their worth in recent weeks.
Under Martin O’Neill, Forest were a lot more cautious and perhaps fired blanks more often. I don’t think that under O’Neill, Forest could go and cause an upset at Arsenal.
With Forest’s superb start to the season in attack, they look likely to cause Arsenal problems. Despite Arsenal having a solid transfer window, I expect Emery to make wholesale changes and underestimate Forest.
Arsenal’s strength in depth is often highlighted as a serious concern for their domestic competitions which will play into Forest’s favour. It is likely that a side with not a huge deal of game experience will be fielded with a few senior pros thrown in.
Another issue of Arsenal’s happens to be their defence. David Luiz came in over the summer transfer window but it is unlikely that he will feature but he certainly has improved their defensive woes. If Forest can get the ball into the likes of Joe Lolley and Matty Cash who can run at their inexperienced opponents and put them under pressure.
Lolley has been bang in form so far this season and you can see his growing influence in the side. He will be pivotal if Forest are to walk away from the Emirates still in the hat for the next round.
Arsenal are typically the type of team that like to dominate the ball in any game that they play, they like to make their opponents chase the ball and work hard. This means that Forest have to be disciplined in their approach and not come out to attack too early. Should they be drawn out, they will leave gaps in behind that the likes of Reiss Nelson will look to exploit.
The Reds need to break the game down into smaller segments in order to mentally get through the tie. Danny Cowley explained the method as Lincoln City progressed through the FA Cup latter stages. When playing an opponent who is much stronger and quicker than you, to be able to get through small segments can help a team mentally. This is how his side managed to remain in the game at Burnley in the 5th round of the competition.
Although it will certainly be a tough task for Forest, there could be a real chance of a cup upset taking place. Ostersunds showed that it is possible to catch Arsenal off-guard at their own ground.