Nottingham Forest has locked horns with Brighton at the American Express Community Stadium tonight in one of two Premier League fixtures on the docket as Steve Cooper’s men are in desperate need of a win as they visit the Seagulls under new boss Roberto De Zerbi who has yet to secure his first win since arriving in England.
For Forest, a storied club and two-time European Cup winners (1978-79, 1979-80), there was a wealth of expectation and excitement surrounding the historic university city as the club got back to the top flight of English football for the first time since the 1998-99 Premier League season that saw the club relegated.
Forest dipped into the club’s padded coffers post-promotion during a whirlwind transfer summer at the City Ground which saw owner Evangelos Marinakis back the club to the tune of twenty-two players brought into the senior setup in a bid to rapidly improve the quality on offer under Cooper, with deals for the like of Morgan Gibbs-White, Taiwo Awoniyi, Neco Williams, Emmanuel Dennis, Orel Mangala, Renan Lodi, Moussa Niakhaté, and Jesse Lingard meant to help push the club to hopeful safety after 2022-23.
But the ~£140m spent, as well as the cadre of free moves for higher profile names, has not come off well and Forest comes into tonight’s clash sitting bottom of the Premier League and in desperate need of a win after bagging three points just once in the current season.
Most importantly for Cooper’s troops is the need for Forest to score the first goal on the night after it has been revealed that the club has failed to win any of their last forty Premier League fixtures dating back to 1998-99 when they failed to get on the scoresheet first.
Despite the addition of a swath of attacking talent this summer which was added to club starlet Brennan Johnson, Forest has managed just seven goals this season through ten Premier League outings before tonight, with five of those seven goals coming in the last five outings they have featured in.
Forest has also been shutout in three of their last six league clashes under Cooper, who has been hesitant to put full faith in many of the summer additions, which speaks to a clear disconnect between the manager and the club’s hierarchy regards to the manner in which Forest comported themselves during the transfer window.
With just five points secured this season, Forest is currently on course to their worst-ever showing in the English top flight if results do not improve rapidly. As they say, goals are currency after all, and for Forest, no amount of summer spending has been able to result in a better exchange rate.