|Manchester City will not be kind to Steve Cooper and Nottingham Forest on Saturday at the Etihad. (Photo credit: Inside Sport)|
Manchester City vs. Nottingham ForestEtihad3:00pm
The Premier League champions are on a roll, with twenty straight wins at home and Red Star Belgrade falling prey in midweek on their return to the stage where they triumphed last season.
Manchester City is the clear favourite in this fixture, but Forest earned a precious point against the champions last season, and Pep Guardiola will have that game in the back of his mind when he sets up his team on Saturday.
Nottingham Forest have had a difficult start to the season, but the fixtures have been unkind to Steve Cooper’s side. They started the season away at Arsenal and lost; they have had to travel to Chelsea and Old Trafford; and this weekend, they’re away at Manchester City.
Forest beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge; it was against the director’s script, but they enjoyed the scalp of the troubled Blues. The loss at Old Trafford didn’t surprise anyone, but the Blades gave a good fight and could easily blame officiating for the loss, having led 2-0 in the game.
Manchester City will be without Bernardo Silva, and the trio of Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones, and Matteo Kovacic remain sidelined, but the Etihad fans will be able to welcome back England winger Jack Grealish, who has returned to training.
Serge Aurier missed the 2-2 draw against Burnley on Monday and could well miss the trip to the Etihad due to a muscle injury; that leaves World Cup winner Gonzalo Montiel in pole position to return at right back on Saturday.
How will Forest line up? They will attempt to express themselves but will not be as expansive as they were in the stalemate at home with the Clarets. Expect to see Anthony Elanga and Taiwo Awoniyi upfront again, with Morgan Gibbs White roaming behind them.
Manchester City will unleash Erling Haaland again; he remains a threat every day, and Forest will have to find ways to limit him, but can anyone stop the Norwegian robot? Phil Foden is enjoying his new role in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne and will be a player to watch.
Forest won’t expect miracles, but they will give a good fight. Expect another Julian Alvarez masterclass, with Rodri mopping up for the hosts in the middle of the park. Forest must be disciplined; they need more than eleven men to leave the Etihad unscathed.