Arsenal vs Nottingham LIVE Football Match Score 20/05/2023
Striving to keep their Premier League title hopes alive for at least 24 hours, Arsenal’s penultimate game of the season takes them to relegation-battling Nottingham Forest on Saturday evening.
The two teams reconvene at the City Ground on the back of contrasting results last weekend, as the Gunners were humbled 3-0 by Brighton & Hove Albion while the Tricky Trees drew 2-2 with Chelsea. Before the first ball was kicked this season, few could have envisaged Nottingham Forest coming away from Stamford Bridge with a point to their name, let alone one that could have very well been three following a frenetic 11-minute period in the second half.
Frank Lampard’s out-of-sorts troops were 1-0 down at the break courtesy of a Taiwo Awoniyi header before a brace from Raheem Sterling turned the tide in the hosts’ favour, but Awoniyi joined his counterpart in the two-goal club with another header just four minutes after Sterling’s second.
Even with Chelsea in their current predicament, avoiding a hiding in West London would have been the overriding goal for Steve Cooper and his charges last weekend, and that hard-earned draw leaves the Tricky Trees on the brink of survival in 16th place in the table.
With a three-point gap to the relegation zone, Forest will secure their top-flight status if they can match or better the results of 18th-placed Leeds United and 19th-placed Leicester City – who face West Ham United and Newcastle United respectively – and successive home wins over Brighton and Southampton is just what the doctor ordered before the visit of Arsenal.
Cooper’s men have also found the back of the net in each of their last five Premier League games and have lost just two top-flight matches at the City Ground in 2023 – going down to Manchester United and Newcastle – but they are without a clean sheet in 15 top-flight contests since shutting out Leeds in February, and Arsenal have plenty of attacking mistakes to rectify. About half an hour after witnessing the soaring Seagulls outgun his young guns, Mikel Arteta offered a sincere apology to dejected Gooners, who witnessed a cagey first half and a harrowing second during the visit of Roberto De Zerbi’s men to the Emirates Stadium.
While there was an air of controversy over Julio Enciso’s opening goal as Jakub Kiwior took a stamp to the foot, there was nothing contentious about Deniz Undav’s lob or Pervis Estupinan’s third, effectively guaranteeing that Arsenal’s title charge will end in failure.
Defeat at the City Ground would mathematically hand Man City the title, a draw would more or less do the same given the champions’ vastly superior goal difference, and even if Arsenal can produce the goods on Saturday, their wafer-thin hopes will be extinguished if Pep Guardiola’s men beat Chelsea a day later.
With just two wins from their last seven heading into the weekend, it is proving to be a bitterly disappointing end to another campaign of promise for the Gunners, who have been defeated in their final away fixture in two of the last three seasons.
On a brighter note for the visiting contingent, their side ran out comfortable 5-0 winners when Nottingham Forest visited the Emirates back in October, but the Tricky Trees downed Arsenal at the City Ground in last year’s FA Cup and could now close off another avenue to silverware for their capital counterparts. Forest head coach Cooper would have breathed a second sigh of relief at Stamford Bridge to see no more players enter the treatment room, as the hosting manager may be working around absentees in the double figures once again.
Dean Henderson (thigh), Chris Wood (thigh), Giulian Biancone (knee), Neco Williams (jaw), Omar Richards (calf), Scott McKenna (shoulder), Jack Colback (head) and Jonjo Shelvey (calf/internal disciplinary) are all expected to miss out once again, while Gustavo Scarpa has experienced a setback in his recovery from a calf problem, but Emmanuel Dennis should be fit.
Cooper’s bold decision to demote Brennan Johnson to the bench paid dividends at Stamford Bridge, and the Tricky Trees tactician should see no reason to fix what is not broken, potentially deploying a 3-5-2 setup to try to quell Arsenal’s rampant attack.
Arsenal’s fitness worries are also mounting at the worst possible time, as it has been confirmed that Gabriel Martinelli will miss the Gunners’ final two games of the season with the ankle injury that he sustained in a challenge from Brighton’s Moises Caicedo last weekend.
Prior to that three-goal defeat, it was also claimed that William Saliba (back) and Oleksandr Zinchenko (calf) would also sit out the remainder of the campaign, and Arteta has now conceded that the former will not play again this term, despite a surprise appearance in team training last week.
Saliba is not expected to prove his fitness in time for Saturday either, while knee victims Mohamed Elneny and Takehiro Tomiyasu will also miss out again. Despite a dissatisfactory cameo against his former club last weekend, Leandro Trossard should be first in line to displace the stricken Martinelli.
Given the manner of their defeat at home to Brighton last week, it would be a real shame to end such a promising campaign in a defeat to a Forest team battling relegation.
Steve Cooper’s side got a creditable draw away at Chelsea last week and are scrapping for their lives. Forest are likely to have midfielder Danilo, once a transfer target for Arsenal, available despite his knock against Chelsea. Emmanuel Dennis is also back in training ahead of the game.
Gabriel Martinelli is out for the season after suffering an injury against Brighton, while Oleksandr Zinchenko and William Saliba are also unavailable. Arteta has hinted at changes following the loss last week, meaning the likes of Thomas Partey, Emile Smith Rowe, Fabio Viera and Leandro Trossard are in contention to start.
Arsenal proved with their wins over Chelsea and Newcastle that they can recover from blows and should have enough to beat Forest, even despite their famous home support.
Man City’s victory at Everton was swiftly followed by Brighton’s resounding triumph at the Emirates which means City, due to their superior goal difference, need just two points to claim their third successive league title.
They’ll be expected to beat Chelsea on Sunday in the wake of their emphatic win over Real Madrid on Wednesday night, although defeat for the Gunners at the City Ground would also crown them champions.
While it feels like Mikel Arteta’s side have little to play for, it’d be a shame to see Arsenal’s majestic campaign end with a whimper. Gabriel Martinelli has been ruled out for the Gunners’ remaining two games of the season after sustaining ankle ligament damage in the defeat to Brighton. The Brazilian joins William Saliba (back), Takehiro Tomiyasu (knee), Mohamed Elneny (knee), and Oleksandr Zinchenko (calf) on the sidelines.
Leandro Trossard and Reiss Nelson will be vying for a starting berth in Martinelli’s absence.
Arteta could make a couple of changes elsewhere, with Thomas Partey potentially coming back into midfield and Granit Xhaka perhaps earning a rest.
Brighton’s victory last Sunday was the nail in the coffin. The title is done, and it’s going to be hard for Arteta to rally his players for the trip to Forest.
Cooper’s side have picked up seven points from their last four games to leave them outside the drop zone with a couple of games remaining, and even a point on Saturday would go a long way to safety.
Forest’s home form is legitimately decent, and the significance of the contest for the home side renders this a tough fixture for the Gunners, who will be without several key players once more.
I think there will be goals in this one at both ends of the pitch with the spoils eventually being shared.