Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest match preview, team news and tickets

By on August 8, 2023

The new season is finally upon us and Arsenal will kick off the 2023/24 campaign on Saturday afternoon [12.30pm] when we welcome Nottingham Forest to the Emirates Stadium.

Mikel Arteta says he and his squad are fired-up and ready to go again after last seasons heartbreak. Arsenal came agonisingly close to winning their first Premier League title since 2004. We led the way for 248 days and held an eight-point lead over Manchester City in late March. However, a disastrous run in April derailed our title charge and City took full advantage.

In the end, we finished five points adrift of the Cityzens in second place. On the one hand, it was bitterly disappointing to implode the way we did and hand the title to City. It was a golden opportunity to end our title drought and I’m not sure when we’ll get another chance like that again given how poor the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea were last season.

However, it’s important to remember how far this Arsenal team have come in such a short space of time. After back-to-back eighth-place finishes in 2020-21, we are now challenging for the title and were Man City’s only serious competition last season. Pep Guardiola’s men went on to win the treble and are the best team in Europe, so we did exceptionally well to stay ahead of them for as long as we did. This young Arsenal squad is well ahead of schedule and will only get better over the coming years, so I’m sure a title win is coming.

Community Shield boost

After a solid pre-season, Arsenal played their first ‘competitive’ game last weekend as we faced-off against Man City in the Community Shield at Wembley. We more than held our own against Guardiola’s men and grabbed a deserved late equaliser when Leandro Trossard’s shot deflected past Ederson deep into injury time to make it 1-1.

Arsenal won the penalty shoot-out to earn a morale-boosting win. Pundits and ex-players have criticised Arsenal for celebrating the victory as they say it’s nothing more than a glorified friendly. But the fact is many clubs, players and managers count the Community Shield in their trophy haul and it’s always good to get your hands on some silverware at Wembley.

However, the most important factor isn’t winning the Community Shield, it’s beating Man City. That will have given the players a huge mental boost ahead of the new season and Aaron Ramsdale confirmed this in his post-match interview. Losing to City again, after what happened last season, would have been a big blow. But going toe-to-toe with them and coming out victorious, albeit via penalties, shows progress and tells the players we can compete with Man City. Who knows how important that will be come next May.

Positive start

Arteta will now be hoping to take that confidence from the Community Shield and use it to secure a positive start to the new Premier League campaign when we welcome Nottingham Forest to North London on Saturday.

We will see our new signings on show and they should get a very warm welcome at the Emirates Stadium. It’s safe to say Arsenal haven’t sat back this summer as we’ve spent over £205m on new players to strengthen the squad and add some much needed depth.

Mikel Arteta has brought in Jurrien Timber to reinforce the defence while Kai Havertz has been signed to give us more options in midfield and attack. Declan Rice is probably the most exciting signing as Arsenal spent a record £105m to land the England international ahead of Man City. All three players have impressed in pre-season and they’ve had time to settle at Arsenal, so we could see all three starting against Forest on Saturday.

It’s vital we get off to a good start as it would be a big blow not to collect all three points at home to Forest. Even at this very early stage, we can’t afford to drop silly points if we want to be going for the title again. Forest at home should always be three points, and we thrashed them 5-0 in this fixture last season, so let’s hope for a repeat result this time around.

Injury blow

Unfortunately, Arsenal have been dealt an injury blow as Gabriel Jesus picked up a knee issue in pre-season. The Brazilian was sidelined for 3 months last season due to a knee injury and it looks like he’s aggravated something last week. Jesus had a minor operation to solve the problem and is expected to be out for around four weeks.

That means he’ll miss the visit of Forest and if he doesn’t return until mid-September, he’ll also sit out games against Crystal Palace, Fulham and Manchester United. Any longer, and he may be facing a race against time to be fit to face Tottenham on September 24th.

Oleksandr Zinchenko has also been on the sidelines in pre-season as he continues to recover from a calf injury that hampered him towards the end of last season. It’s a worry that he’s still not fully fit but hopefully he’ll be back in action soon. He’ll have a late fitness test to see if he’s ready to return against Forest but I think we’ll see Timber at left-back on Saturday.

Elsewhere, I don’t think we’ll see Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares or Folarin Balogun in the squad as they are expected to leave the club this month. Reiss Nelson is also set to miss out but he’s absent with a knee injury.


Demand for Arsenal tickets is extremely high right now, which isn’t surprising given how well the team has performed over the past year. The expensive new signings also help as fans are eager to see them in action.

Official tickets via Arsenal.com are sold out but you could still get your hands on a ticket at Seatsnet. If you don’t manage to attend the game in person, you can just watch the action live on TNT Sports [formerly BT Sport].

Predicted score

It’s not always easy to predict the first game of the season as teams are at different stages of fitness following pre-season. Arsenal have looked pretty sharp and we did well against City, so there is no reason to think we can’t beat Forest at home on Saturday.

They’ll be up for it, and they beat us at the City Ground back in May to end our title dreams, but the game at the Emirates was 5-0 to Arsenal and we should have way too much quality in the end.

It probably won’t be a 5-0 thrashing like last time, but we should still collect all three points. Arsenal 2-0 Forest