Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal preview: Gunners to keep slim title hopes alive

By on May 19, 2023

fabio vieira arsenal

Arsenal know anything but victory over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Saturday evening will hand Manchester City the title.

It’s been a season to remember for Arsenal fans but ultimately it looks destined to end in failure. Ahead of the 2023/23 campaign, most pundits and supporters were predicting Arsenal to challenge for the top four. A Champions League qualification place was the main aim and it would have been viewed as a successful season if we achieved that goal.

However, Mikel Arteta’s men began the season like a steam train and we sat top of the Premier League table at the half-way point following a stunning run of form. We were the best team in the league for several months and deserved to be eight points clear of City in March. However, as the business end of the season approach, the wheels started to come off. Season-ending injuries to William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu proved costly and Arsenal’s defence cracked under the pressure.

We let slip two-goal leads away to Liverpool and West Ham before a disastrous 3-3 draw against relegated Southampton at the Emirates Stadium. Taking three points from a possible nine in that run saw our lead at the top evaporate as Man City embarked upon a stunning winning run [still ongoing]. By the time we met City at the Etihad Stadium, Pep Guardiola’s side were within touching distance and put the title in their own hands with a resounding 4-1 win over the Gunners.

Arsenal managed to get back to winning ways with a 3-1 victory over Chelsea before a hugely impressive win away to Newcastle kept the pressure on City. But their relentless form continued and we slumped to a disappointing 3-0 defeat at home to Brighton last weekend which ended any realistic hopes of winning the title. We now sit four points behind City – who have a game in hand – with just two games left to play. It means we have to win our two matches and hope City take just one point from their three remaining games to win the title – as they have a far superior goal difference.

With tricky away games against Brighton and Brentford to come, City could easily drop points on the road, but you’d fancy them to beat a beleaguered Chelsea side at the Etihad on Sunday to secure the title. Arsenal could even do the job for them if we fail to beat Forest on Saturday evening, but Mikel Arteta insists the players want to keep the title dream alive for as long as possible. So they want to beat Forest and make City win the title, rather than hand it to them on a plate by losing at the City Ground.

However, it’s not going to be an easy game as Forest are in desperate need of points to aid their relegation fight. They sit 16th in the table with 34 points – three above the bottom three – so victory for the hosts this weekend would secure their top flight status for another year. That’s a huge motivation for them, and Forest will probably sense an opportunity to beat an Arsenal side who could easily have their heads down following our title collapse.


Given the success of this season, Arsenal tickets have been extremely difficult to get hold of. While the title is probably beyond reach this year, the away support is still expected to be as strong as ever for what will be our last away game of the season. So I expect the ticket allocation for Arsenal to be sold out well in advance of the match.

Supporters may try to get a ticket in the home end but with Nottingham Forest battling for survival, the entire stadium is likely to be sold out which makes getting tickets via official channels difficult. Fans could try a ticket reselling site such as Seatsnet as they may have tickets available.

Alternatively, if you can’t attend the game in person, the match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports at 5.30pm on Saturday evening.

Team news

Arsenal will continue to be without the services of Saliba as the Frenchman won’t play again this season due to his troublesome back injury. The centre-back picked up the injury against Sporting Lisbon in late March and you can’t help but wonder how our season would have panned out had Arteta rested him for that Europa League tie.

Tomiyasu also picked up his knee injury in that fateful game and is facing a battle to be fit for pre-season so he’s obviously out of the trip to Nottingham. Oleksandr Zinchenko has also been ruled out for Arsenal’s last two matches with a calf injury while Gabriel Martinelli won’t feature against Forest or against Wolves after suffering an ankle injury against Brighton. Arteta says it’s a ‘nasty’ injury and it looks like Martinelli is facing a few months on the sidelines so he might not be ready for pre-season.

Forest have a lengthy injury list to contend with as well. They’ll be without Giulian Biancone due to a knee injury while on-loan Man Utd goalkeeper Dean Henderson is out for the season with a thigh problem. Chris Wood, Nexo Williams, Omar Richards, Scott McKenna, Jonjo Shelvey and Jack Colback are also out with injuries. Gustavo Scarpa faces a late fitness test on a calf injury but Emmanuel Dennis could be back in contention after returning to training.

Predicted score

It will be interesting to see how Arsenal approach this game. Deep down we all know the title is gone, and the players will know that too, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a low key performance from us this weekend. It will be difficult to motivate the squad to produce a top level display after the disappointment of the last few weeks and realistically we have very little left to play for.

However, while their is still a slim hope that Man City implode, the boys have to give it their all. The last thing we want to do after such a promising campaign is to end in a whimper and hand City the title. Let’s win our games and make them do the hard work of beating Chelsea to lift the trophy again.

Forest will be fighting for their lives so Arsenal will need to be on top form to win this game. We all know there is no ‘easy’ game in the Premier League, especially away from home. Luckily, our form on the road has been excellent all season and I’m backing the Arsenal to secure a narrow 2-1 win this weekend. Nottingham Forest 1-2 Arsenal