Advertisement
Editor's PicksSports

Nottingham Forest Season Preview 2022/23

Advertisement

For the first time in 23 years, Nottingham Forest will play in the Premier League.

How Forest did last season

For Nottingham Forest supporters, the 2021–2022 season was surreal. Relegation to League One appeared to be an option that needed to be given serious consideration after the team’s worst start to a season in 108 years.

Advertisement

During his seven games in charge last season, former boss Chris Hughton only earned one point, leaving the manager who would succeed him with a big assignment. When Steve Cooper arrived, everything at Nottingham Forest changed. He inspired hope in an entire city.

Cooper led Forest from the bottom of the Championship to fourth after 38 games, earning 76 points along the way. The coach also led Forest to their first FA Cup quarter-final in 26 years before getting Forest to the Premier League for the first time in 23 years.

Forest beat Sheffield United on penalties in the play-off semi-finals before upsetting Huddersfield Town at Wembley to gain promotion. No matter what happens this year, many Forest supporters will consider the 2021–2022 season to be one of the best they have ever experienced.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Outgoings

Nottingham Forest’s outgoings so far are:

Djed Spence, Keinan Davis, Max Lowe, Philip Zinckernagel, James Garner, Gaetan Bong, Tobias Figueiredo, Carl Jenkinson, Ethan Horvath, Brice SambaMohamed Drager, Jonathan Panzo, Tyrese Fornah, Will Swan, Fin Back, Lewis Grabban, Riley Harbottle, Brandon Aguilera and Nicholas Ioannou

Advertisement

Nottingham Forest Season Preview 2022/23

Even though the five loanees from last season were never technically Forest players, their inclusion in the list of departures is justified.

When the final whistle rang at Wembley and Forest were promoted to the Premier League, there was instantly a five-man void in the starting lineup. First-team players Lowe, Garner, Spence, Davis, and Zinckernagel were all essential to Forest’s promotion but returned to their parent clubs following the win over Huddersfield.

Brice Samba left the City Ground for RC Lens in addition to those departures, while Lewis Grabban left the club after his contract expired, declining a new deal. While some fringe players were also released, several young players were loaned out this season to enhance their development.

New signings

Nottingham Forest’s new signings so far are: Taiwo Awoniyi, Dean Henderson, Biancone, Moussa Niakhate, Omar Richards, Neco Williams, Wayne Hennessey, Brandon Aguilera, Harry Toffolo, Lewis O’Brien, Jesse Lingard, and Orel Mangala

For Forest, the twelve new signings and the almost £80 million in spending to date has been absolutely necessary. With the aforementioned list of departures, Steve Cooper was forced to actively recruit, which he did.

The Reds have spent a substantial amount on eight quality first-team players, doing astute business this summer. Dean Henderson has arrived at the City Ground on loan, while Jesse Lingard and Wayne Hennessey arrived without a transfer fee. Lingard’s wages are of course expensive but will not break the bank.

Nottingham Forest Season Preview 2022/23

 

Two of Huddersfield Town’s most promising players, Harry Toffolo and Lewis O’Brien, were reportedly brought in for a combined sum of £10 million, and Moussa Niakhate, the former captain of Mainz 05, was reportedly bought for a reported fee of £10 million plus add-ons.

Forest have also kept one eye on the future too, buying 19-year-old Costa Rica international Brandon Aguilera for less than £1 million before loaning him out to Guanacasteca. Steve Cooper has received financial support from Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis this summer and is likely to add to his team again before the transfer window closes.

The Manager – Steve Cooper

What else is there to say about Steve Cooper? As previously mentioned, this man completely transformed Nottingham. He will be entirely trusted by the fans throughout this season, even if there are bumps in the road and a possible relegation battle.

Steve Cooper has earned the opportunity to complete a full Premier League season to prove that he can compete with England’s top managers. He may very well be one of England’s top managers himself. Cooper led England to victory in the U17 World Cup Final while managing players like Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Emile Smith-Rowe, and Callum Hudson-Odoi early in his management career.

Premier League 2022-23 preview No 16: Nottingham Forest | Soccer | The Guardian

After that achievement, he went to Swansea City, whom Graham Potter had recently led to ninth place in the Championship. In his first season, Cooper led Swansea to the play-off semi-finals; in his second and final season, Cooper led Swansea to the play-off final. The 42-year-old took Forest from the bottom of the Championship to the Premier League in 38 games after two years at Swansea. He simply improves teams.

Steve Cooper is a great man-manager, is tactically adept, and always has a backup plan.

This season, the Welshman will probably stick to his favoured 3412 formation, but the squad has enough options for him to remain flexible. He wasn’t afraid to switch to a back four at times last season, and now that he’s been able to put together a new team during this window, he will already have a plan A, plan B, plan C, and so on.

Steve Cooper’s unique man-management skills play a role in his capacity to enhance a team. He has always been the type to wrap his arm around the shoulder of a player and express his confidence in them. After the play-off victory at Wembley, there is a clip of Cooper telling Brennan Johnson just how proud he is of the youngster.

When viewing scenes from the Wembley dressing room, you can see that messages from the players’ families were arranged by the management team in their section of the dressing room. If Forest struggles this season, it will not be due to the manager’s lack of effort and commitment.

Strongest starting XI

As stated before, Steve Cooper favours the 3412 formations. Forest are expected to sign more players before the transfer window closes, but without injuries, this is likely to be Nottingham Forest’s strongest starting XI:

Henderson; Worrall, McKenna, Niakhate; Williams, Yates, O’Brien, Richards; Lingard; Johnson, Awoniyi

The general assumption among Nottingham Forest fans is that Brennan Johnson will be the club’s leading goalscorer again this season. The 21-year-old scored 19 goals in all competitions last year, and he only seems to be getting better.

Johnson, though, will face stiff competition from new club record signing Taiwo Awoniyi, as well as Jesse Lingard and Sam Surridge. The forward arrived at Forest for preseason following a productive few games in the Nations League in which he scored against Belgium and the Netherlands whilst with his country.

The Wales international only played one full ninety-minute game for Forest during preseason since he was on international duty over the summer, scoring late on to equalise against Valencia in Forest’s final preseason game.

Who will register the most assists for Forest this season?

The Forest team is fortunate to have a number of creative players. The ability to set up goals is shared by Lingard, Johnson, Awoniyi, Williams, and Toffolo, but Lingard seems to be the fan favourite.

Although Johnson had the most assists for Forest last season, Philip Zinckernagel was not far behind with seven total assists. Now that Lingard has stepped into that spot for Forest, it is obvious how integral the number ten role is for Steve Cooper’s team.

While on loan at West Ham, Lingard had one of his most notable seasons, contributing four assists in just 16 games for the Hammers. The 29-year-old has already displayed his inventiveness in Forest colours during the friendly against Valencia in his debut, and he will be eager to reclaim his spot in the England team by contributing to goals in the Premier League.

Who will be Forest’s player of the season?

Although it was a close vote, Forest’s fans chose Moussa Niakhate as their most likely player of the year. It seems bizarre that a new player has already become so well-liked, but the former Mainz captain has given fans enough to be excited about.

The 26-year-old, who excelled under a system akin to Forest’s while playing in the Bundesliga, appears to be a true coup. The defender, who was appointed captain of Mainz before the 2021–2022 season, has been praised as an “unbelievable defender” by the Bundesliga’s official website.

The likes of Mo Salah, Erling Braut Haaland, and Robert Lewandowski are among the finest footballers Niakhate has faced in the past, and he has already excelled for Forest in the preseason.

Although Scott McKenna won Forest’s player of the season accolade last season and Brennan Johnson took home the EFL Championship Young Player of the Season award, Niakhate has clearly stood out to give the Forest fans such hope.

Expected finish

The million-dollar question. This season, Forest’s main goal is to avoid relegation; anything else is a bonus. Realistically, Forest have a good enough team to avoid the drop, but given how long it will take the new group to gel, the escape may only be marginal.

Nonetheless, there are few reasons why Steve Cooper’s team can’t finish ahead of teams like AFC Bournemouth, Fulham, Leeds United, Southampton, Everton, Brentford, and Brighton; hence, there is a chance that The Reds will do better than expected.

The initial goal will be to establish a team and highlight strengths and weaknesses before accurately judging the squad. Another important goal will be to have the City Ground as a fortress. Under Steve Cooper, Forest only lost two games at the City Ground throughout the regular season as a result of their formidable home defence.

Even in the FA Cup, Forest won at home against Arsenal, Leicester City, and Huddersfield before falling just short to Liverpool, who went on to win the tournament.

Although it will be a challenging season, Nottingham Forest definitely have what it takes to remain in the Premier League. The million-dollar question. This season, Forest’s main goal is to avoid relegation; anything else is a bonus. Realistically, Forest have a good enough team to avoid the drop, but given how long it will take the new group to gel, the escape may only be marginal.

Nonetheless, there are few reasons why Steve Cooper’s team can’t finish ahead of teams like AFC Bournemouth, Fulham, Leeds United, Southampton, Everton, Brentford, and Brighton; hence, there is a chance that The Reds will do better than expected.

The initial goal will be to establish a team and highlight strengths and weaknesses before accurately judging the squad. Another important goal will be to have the City Ground as a fortress. Under Steve Cooper, Forest only lost two games at the City Ground throughout the regular season as a result of their formidable home defence.

Even in the FA Cup, Forest won at home against Arsenal, Leicester City, and Huddersfield before falling just short to Liverpool, who went on to win the tournament. Although it will be a challenging season, Nottingham Forest definitely have what it takes to remain in the Premier League.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Advertisement
Back to top button
The Konversation

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker