Old Trafford forms the backdrop for a Premier League showdown between Manchester United and Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
The Red Devils have been billed as potential title contenders this season, but their early form suggests that prediction may be fanciful.
However, if the latest virtual bet odds are anything to go by, Erik ten Hag’s side are poised to step things up against Forest.
United pinched an unconvincing 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers in their first game this season, before slipping to a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
New Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou made a lasting impression as his side picked up a comfortable 2-0 victory over Ten Hag’s spinless Red Devils.
Man United were solid in the first half of the clash, creating chances at will even though they failed to beat Guglielmo Vicario, but their second-half showing lacked conviction as Spurs rallied to a routine win.
Having come away from opposition territory with an unsatisfactory result, Ten Hag will expect his side to rectify last weekend’s disappointment with a better display at home to Forest.
Forest fans cannot complain about how the start of their season has panned out, with their team picking up three points from their opening two games.
They fell to a 2-1 victory against last season’s runners-up Arsenal, although they will feel a share of the spoils at the Emirates Stadium could have been a fairer result.
However, they picked up their first victory of the campaign after thwarting former Championship foes Sheffield United 2-1 at City Ground last weekend.
Considering Man United’s form, Forest will feel like they can grind out a positive result against Ten Hag’s uninspired side at the Theatre of Dreams.
The Reds are not exactly one of our favourites to survive relegation this season in our Forest season preview, but a positive result at the weekend will be a major boost to their 2023/24 ambitions.
Man United will hope to build on their outrageous home form heading into Saturday’s encounter after going unbeaten in their last 30 competitive fixtures at Old Trafford (W26, D4).
The remarkable sequence began in September last year and currently boasts a seven-game winning streak in the Premier League.
Forest’s visit could have arrived at a fortuitous time for Ten Hag’s side, as the Red Devils have won their last six competitive encounters against the Tricky Trees at Old Trafford by an aggregate score of 19-2.
Man United have only found the back of the net once this season and Ten Hag’s forward players could view the Forest clash as an avenue to get off the mark for the campaign.
Forest’s home form was a huge factor behind their survival last term, as they accumulated 30 of their 38 points at City Ground.
However, their form on the road was ranked the worst in the Premier League after picking up just one win in 19 away games (D5, L13).
The Tricky Trees lost all four competitive encounters against Man United in 2022/23 by a combined score of 10-0, conceding multiple times in each defeat.
It doesn’t also help their cause that they head into Saturday’s fixture having lost more league games against Man United than any other opponent, while their last victory over the Red Devils at Old Trafford dates back to 1994.
Premier League Form
Manchester United: WL
Nottingham Forest: LW
Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest Potential Line-ups
Manchester United potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): David de Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw; Casemiro, Christian Eriksen; Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho; Marcus Rashford.
Nottingham Forest potential starting line-up:
(3-4-3): Mattu Turner; Joe Worrall, Willy Boly, Scott McKenna; Serge Aurier, Danilo, Orel Mangala, Neco Williams; Brennan Johnson, Morgan Gibbs-White, Taiwo Awoniyi.
We Say: Manchester United 2-0 Nottingham Forest
Man United have struggled in front of goal thus far, but their record against Forest coupled with extra motivation from the Old Trafford crowd, should inspire confidence for a resounding victory.
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