Middlesbrough vs Nottingham Forest
Date: 19th August 2017
Kickoff: 15:00 UK/16:00 CET
Venue: City Ground
Despite this being just the 4th game of the Championship season, it is a big game for both clubs.
Nottingham Forest barely survived last season, staying up on just goal difference. But after bringing in several key players in the transfer window, many Forest fans think they can make a promotion push and one way to state your intention of doing so is by beating the Championship favourites.
Middlesbrough, on the other hand, have won two in a row after an unlucky loss on the opening day. They are looking better with each game and to go away from home and pick up a third win in a row would do huge things for the players’ confidence.
Nottingham Forest lost their star player over the summer, Britt Assomblonga, to none other than Saturday’s opponents Middlesbrough. But despite losing their best player they look a much better side than last season.
This is largely due to the new signings. Such as, Andreas Bouchalakis who Forest signed from Olympiacos, Daryl Murphy from Newcastle and Barrie McKay from Rangers. All three of these signings have already proved their worth in what little of the season we have played. Bouchalakis and Murphy have already scored two goals each. McKay, on the other hand, has scored one and earned two assists.
These key signings have certainly made Forest a threat this year and they will now be looking to get something out of this Middlesbrough game.They have just lost to Barnsley on Tuesday but given their new look team, they will still believe they can possibly even beat Middlesbrough
Injury news: Jamie Ward was injured in preseason and is unlikely to appear against Middlesbrough.
Middlesbrough are going into this game after back to back home wins. They beat Sheffield United 1-0 and Burton Albion 2-0. The squad is gelling together more and more each week and Middlesbrough are looking more dangerous with each passing game.
One man who looks especially dangerous is ex Nottingham Forest striker Britt Assombalonga. He was MOTM against Burton, scoring both of Middlesbrough’s goals. He looked sharp on the ball and despite it being early in the season, Middlesbrough may have finally found the goal scorer they have been missing for so many years.
Middlesbrough may also have found a new Academy star in Dael Fry. Fry has filled in for injured Daniel Ayala for the past two games. However, after back to back clean sheets and two excellent performances from Fry, he may well be Boro’s new number one centre back to partner with Ben Gibson.
In his post match interview on Tuesday, Garry Monk did say it was not a complete performance and that Middlesbrough needed to improve. One way Middlesbrough will be able to show improvement is by going to Forest and picking up a third win in a row.
Injury news: Martin Braithwaite is still suffering from hamstring problems and will miss the game. Daniel Ayala missed both the Sheffield United and Burton game through a niggle picked up in training so is unlikely to be in the squad on Saturday.
Head to head
The two sides have met a total of 81 times. Nottingham Forest have won 26 of those meetings. Middlesbrough have won 23 and the remaining 32 ended in draws.
Last time the two sides met was in January 2016. It was at Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest won 1-0. Jamie Ward was the goal scorer that day.
The last time Middlesbrough travelled to Nottingham Forest, they were 2-1 winners. That was in September 2015. Daniel Ayala and David Nugent scored Middlesbrough’s goals that day. Matthew Mills scored for Forest.
Nottingham Forest XI: Smith, Worrall, Mills, Mancienne, McKay, Vaughan, Bouchalakis, Darikwa, Osborn, Dowell, Murphy.
Middlesbrough XI: Randolph, Christie, Gibson, Fry, Friend, Clayton, Howson, Baker, Bamford, Assombalonga, Gestede.
Nottingham Forest: W W L
Middlesbrough: L W W
This will be a tough challenge for both sides. Forest are a threat going forward this season and will provide, perhaps, Middlesbrough’s defence with it toughest test yet.
However, Middlesbrough’s attack will be the toughest Forest have faced this season after previously facing Millwall, Brentford and Barnsley. So, with both sides having solid attacks this game could be filled with goals.
Final score prediction: 2-2
Nottingham Forest: 9/4