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Manchester City vs Nottingham Forest pits the league leaders against the side with arguably the hardest away schedule to start the season. Nottingham Forest head to The Etihad having visited The Emirates, Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge in their opening three games on the road.
Erling Haaland bagged a first half hattrick the last time these teams met in Manchester, and the Norwegian striker has profited from his partnership with Julián Álvarez so far. The Tricky Trees can take hope from the fact that they earned a draw in the last meeting, albeit at the City Ground.
This game is one of three Saturday 3pm kickoffs that commence matchday 6 of the 2023/24 Premier League season. It will be the seventh meeting between these sides in the Premier League and the 103rd overall.
Manchester City vs Nottingham Forest predicted lineups and news
Pep Guardiola is limited in terms of midfield options with Bernardo Silva ruled out for this game, while Mateo Kovacic and Jack Grealish are shaking off injuries. He is obviously still missing Kevin De Bruyne who is probably going to stay on the injury list until 2024.
Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper reported no new injury concerns after the 1-1 draw with Burnley on Monday night, the positive news is that Wily Boly could be available after illness. Ivory Coast captain Serge Aurier is “one we’re trying to push as hard as we can without taking any unnecessary risks” but he might not be ready for Saturday.
Team news: Manchester City
In the Champions League, Guardiola had made three changes from the side that defeated West Ham. Nathan Aké, Sergio Gómez and Matheus Nunes all came in for Manuel Akanji, Joko Gvardiol and Jérémy Doku.
Tonight's SQUAD! 👊
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 19, 2023
Of those three, Matheus Nunes could retain his place given the inury sustained by Bernardo Silva that forced the Portuguese off just before halftime. Up front the partnership being forged between Erling Haaland and Julián Álavrez is showing promising signs.
Although Haaland only scored once in the previous Premier League game his expected goals was 2.56, he had an incredible nine shots in the box. With a strong record against Nottingham Forest in the past, there is a feeling that the 23-year-old goalscorer could bag a big haul here.
Manchester City predicted lineup: 4-2-3-1
Ederson- Walker, Akanji, Dias, Gvardiol – Rodri, Matheus Nunes – Foden, Álvarez, Doku – Haaland
Team news: Nottingham Forest
Nigerian forward Taiwo Awoniyi has been in superb form to star the season and will be the key hope if the away team are to register anything on the scoresheet on Saturday. Cooper’s side were also buoyed by a debut goal from Callum Hudson-Odoi
Opening his account in style 🤌
— Nottingham Forest (@NFFC) September 19, 2023
Defensively there are more concerns for the two-time European Champions, they have just one cleansheet so far this season in all competitions. If Wily Boly hasn’t made it back from his illness that would be another blow to the backline, he had started every game prior to missing the Burnley clash.
It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the same side that battled to a point against Burnley, assuming Boly doesn’t make it back. It will be a big test for Orel Mangala and Ibrahim Sangaré in the middle.
Nottingham Forest predicted lineup: 4-2-3-1
Turner – Montiel, Worrall, McKenna, Aina – Sangaré, Mangala – Elanga, Gibbs-White, Hudson-Odoi – Awoniyi
Will Julián Álvarez play today?
The former River Plate striker has had a fantastic start to the season with Manchester City, and was superb in their 3-1 Champions League comeback win over Crvena Zvezda on Tuesday. But, does Pep trust the Argentine to be able to play in double gameweeks? Last season the Araña only made 13 starts and was brought in off the bench 18 times in the Premier League. However he has been an ever-present in the starting lineup so far this season.
8+7 – Julián Álvarez attempted 8 shots and created 7 chances against Crvena Zvezda, becoming only the third player on record (2003-04 onwards) to hit both totals in a single Champions League game, after Karim Benzema and Arjen Robben.
Julián Álvarez vs Crvena Zvezda, September… pic.twitter.com/A5uB5SoqCu
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 20, 2023
The South American star has more mobility than Haaland, and is more comfortable operating in the middle compared to City’s other creative players such as Jack Grealish and news signing Doku. Although Grealish could be fit enough to play, he would more likely come off the bench and probably occupy a slot on the left. Álvarez has upped his game recently, and will certainly start against Nottingham Forest where we can expect him to cause his opponents problems.
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