Nottingham Forest v Bournemouth: Both sides can oblige at the City Ground

Nottingham Forest v Bournemouth
Saturday February 13, 12:30
Sky Sports

Forest finding form

Veteran striker Glenn Murray scored twice on his full debut as Nottingham Forest earned a clinical 3-0 victory over bottom-of-the-table Wycombe last weekend. The 37-year-old showed typical composure to produce an exquisite lob over Ryan Allsop for his opener after seven minutes, and doubled the advantage after half-time from the penalty spot.

Anthony Knockaert crashed in a third and final goal for the Tricky Trees, who have now lost just once in their past 10 Championship matches. It wasn’t all plain sailing, mind. The hosts’ aerial threat and power from set-pieces caused plenty of alarm throughout the encounter, although Chris Hughton‘s side stood firm to secure a third consecutive away win.

Speaking post-match, Hughton believes there’s still more to come from the Reds, saying: “We were good at times but I think we could have been better. These type of games can be quite frantic and competitive, and we needed to make sure that in those periods we showed more composure. I think we did that, but I think we still could have done better.”

Bournemouth reach FA Cup quarter-finals

Managerless Bournemouth reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for the first time in 64 years with a 2-0 victory at Premier League Burnley on Tuesday. Sam Surridge put the Cherries ahead after connecting with Jack Stacey’s low cross midway through the first half and Junior Stanislas added the second from the penalty spot late on after Surridge was fouled.

Bournemouth, who sacked Jason Tindall last week and have now won both of their games under caretaker-manager Jonathan Woodgate, were deserved winners. Despite making six changes to the starting XI, the Cherries produced a professional, polished and organised effort at Turf Moor, with Ben Pearson making a fine debut following his move from Preston.

Post-match Woodgate admitted he wasn’t sure if he’d still be in charge for Saturday afternoon’s fixture but was happy to shower his players with praise, saying: “It went exactly as we wanted it but you need the players to execute it, and they did that. Every single one of them was very good, especially behind the ball and on the counter-attack.”

Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth have locked horns on 11 occasions this century and the duo have been hard to split. The Cherries were 2-0 winners in the reverse match-up earlier this season, giving the visitors slight W4-D3-L3 head-to-head supremacy since 2005. However, Forest have posted W2-D3-L0 in the five City Ground showdowns in that sample.

Nottingham Forest 3.309/4 have endured a solitary loss in 10 Championship games since mid-December (W5-D4-L1) as Chris Hughton guides the Tricky Trees to safer waters. Nevertheless, the Reds’ results against the second-tier elite remain concerning with Forest managing one point from a possible 24 (W0-D1-L7) against the top-seven this term.

Bournemouth 2.285/4 were unbeaten in Championship action until November but the Cherries struggled to find consistency thereafter, leading to Jason Tindall’s dismissal. The visitors have W8-D4-L7 in their past 19 with away displays particularly erratic (W3-D3-L4). Bournemouth arrive with only two triumphs in their most recent nine league dates (W2-D2-L5).

Only seven of Nottingham Forest’s 24 Championship contests under Chris Hughton have eclipsed the Over 2.5 Goals barrier, although four of those occasions have arrived in the Reds’ most recent five fixtures. Indeed, the Tricky Trees have scored three times or more just twice this term but both feats were achieved in 2021 as the hosts have found form.

The hosts have now notched in 10 of their previous 12 league outings and take on a Bournemouth outfit that’s failed to keep their sheets clean in six of seven trips to bottom-half dwellers. The Cherries have also silenced only one of their past eight Championship opposition since Christmas with Both Teams To Score 1.758/11 banking in five of those encounters.

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