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Arsenal travel to the City Ground on Saturday evening to face Nottingham Forest in the bid to end their memorable season on a high. Despite almost certainly missing out on the Premier League title, the Gunners have undergone a campaign they can be proud of, with a top-two finish and Champions League football confirmed.
Forest, on the other hand, have it all still to play for, with just three points separating them and the relegation zone at a time of the season where there is little room for error. Steve Cooper’s side are the on the right side of the drop zone, with a vital win against Southampton and a draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge bringing survival ever closer.
The Reds will not want a repeat of what happened the last time the sides met earlier this campaign, where Cooper’s team were slayed 5-0 at the Emirates as the Gunners ran rampant. It was a display dominant in all areas, with Mikel Arteta’s side enjoying a monstrous 70% possession and lashing a total of 24 shots to Forest’s 5 on a one-sided affair in north London.
Arteta will surely set his squad up to replicate the events that were on show at the Emirates back in October after Brighton & Hove Albion dealt the final blow to Arsenal’s title hopes last weekend. The Gunners were left stunned by Roberto De Zerbi’s Seagulls, in a performance that would’ve been watched closely by Cooper’s reds ahead of the critical match-up on Saturday evening.
Match coverage will be available for viewers in the UK on Sky Sports, with kick-off coming at 17:30.
Nottingham Forest Team News: Will Danilo be fit to start against Arsenal?
Steve Cooper’s side have had their fair share of injury woes, with nine players set to be unavailable for selection against the Gunners. Dean Henderson, Giulian Biancone, Omar Richards, Scott McKenna, Jack Colback, Jonjo Shelvey, Neco Williams, and Gustavo Scarpa are the names on the extensive list of absentees.
A worry sparked following the draw against Chelsea last weekend, as Danilo was replaced in injury time moving less freely than usual with a suspected hamstring injury. There remains hope that the Brazilian will be available to feature against Arsenal with no unfortunate news reported since.
N' FOREST | Steve Cooper has said Emmanuel Dennis is back in full training and "looks good".
Gustavo Scarpa (calf) hasn't trained this week.
— Fantasy Football Scout (@FFScout) May 19, 2023
On the plus side, Cooper revealed Willy Boly, Cheikhou Kouyate and Ryan Yates are in training and available for Forest’s final home game of the season.
In terms of tactics, it could be that the Welshman opts to follow his tactics against Chelsea, in which he selected a more defensive option to relieve pressure. The addition of two wing-backs to support the back three meant that Brennan Johnson was forced to watch from the bench.
Arsenal Team News: How will the Gunners cope without Gabriel Martinelli?
If suffering a 0-3 loss at home that subsequently saw the end of Arsenal’s title hopes wasn’t enough of a tear-jerker, Arteta’s joint-leading goalscorer was forced off due to injury.
Gabriel Martinelli was replaced after just 20 minutes of play at the Emirates, following a crunching tackle from Moises Caicedo. The Brazilian, who has scored 15 goals this season, will miss the remainder of the campaign after it was confirmed by The Athletic’s David Ornstein that he suffered ankle ligament damage.
🚨 Gabriel Martinelli will miss final 2 Arsenal games through injury. Suffered ankle ligament damage in Sunday’s loss to Brighton. 21yo Brazil winger ruled out for a number of weeks but should return for pre-season ahead of new campaign @TheAthleticFC #AFC https://t.co/FwFzeMJb3c
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) May 17, 2023
Injuries have ultimately tainted the progression of Arsenal’s season, with Arteta’s side not being even a comparable team to what they were with William Saliba at centre-back. The Frenchman, along with Takehiro Tomiyasu, was injured against Sporting CP in March.
It was confirmed last week that to add to the North Londoners defensive injury list, Oleksandr Zinchenko would not feature again this season due to a calf injury. The Ukrainian’s spot has been filled by Kieran Tierney.
For Martinelli’s left-wing vacancy, Leandro Trossard and Reiss Nelson will duel for the starting spot against Forest, with the Belgian poised to get some much-earned game time from the offset.
It’s a must-win game for Forest who could all but confirm survival this weekend, while Arsenal will be hungry to put things right after a poor display last time out.
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