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Nottingham Forest vs Bournemouth predictions: Cherries can pick up positive result
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Dan Sait
Steve Cooper has 21 new signings at his disposal but is Nottingham Forest's situation better than that of Bournemouth?
Steve Cooper has 21 new signings at his disposal but is Nottingham Forest's situation better than that of Bournemouth?

Two clubs who have endured dramatic change for very different reasons meet at the City Ground, as newly promoted pair Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth line up for their first ever top-flight encounter. 

For the hosts, a massive squad overhaul signals a new dawn in the East Midlands. 

The arrival of an extraordinary 21 new players dramatically improves the squad as Forest look to ensure their long-awaited return to the Premier League is more than a fleeting affair. 

At Bournemouth, the sacking of Scott Parker has the look of a distress flare, a club panicking as realisation hits home that they are underequipped and ill-prepared for a season among the big boys. 

Both situations bring their own challenges but who will adapt fastest and claim three points on the banks of the River Trent? 

Team news

Forest’s manic approach to the transfer window extended into its final hours, with centre-backs Willy Boly and Loic Bade arriving on deadline day along with winger Josh Bowler. 

Bowler followed Hwang Ui-jo in immediately heading out on loan to Olympiacos but free agent Serge Aurier may yet further swell Steve Cooper’s squad – although the Ivorian right-back would be unlikely to register in time for the weekend even if he does join. 

Forest midfielder Orel Mangala is close to a return but fellow hamstring victim Moussa Niakhate and summer signing Omar Richards are both expected to be out until early October. 

Bournemouth’s interim manager Gary O’Neil was able to recall captain Lloyd Kelly and Dominic Solanke in midweek for a markedly improved performance against Wolves. 

He should also be able to call upon centre-back Jack Stephens, who arrived on loan from Southampton on deadline day. 

Ben Pearson, David Brooks and Joe Rothwell will all again miss out and while Junior Stanislas is close to full fitness, he is unlikely to make this weekend’s squad. 

The stats

Gary O'Neil enjoyed a positive start with a 0-0 draw against Wolves
Gary O'Neil enjoyed a positive start with a 0-0 draw against Wolves

While their respective starts to the season have been framed very differently, the actual performances of Forest and Bournemouth have been very similar. 

Both have taken four points from their five Premier League outings, both have scored only two goals and the pair are worst and second-worst in the goals against column, with Bournemouth shipping 16 and Forest 11. 

Moreover, the Cherries will argue they have had the harder fixtures. 

Both have lost heavily to Manchester City but Bournemouth have also faced Liverpool and Arsenal while Forest have only faced one other member of the ‘big six’ – Tottenham. 

And the visitors will take further heart from their head-to-head record against Forest, with Bournemouth having won both meetings last term to make it three wins and a draw for the south coast side in four meetings over the past two campaigns. 


Pundits were quick to jump on Bournemouth after their 9-0 thumping at Anfield but that one performance – albeit terrible – seems to have unduly coloured the assessment of their start to 2022-23. 

While the scale of that capitulation was embarrassing, it would have been unrealistic to expect the Cherries to get anything from trips to Liverpool or Manchester City and they were also unlikely to claim a positive result against Arsenal. 

In their two other games, Bournemouth beat Aston Villa and held Wolves to a 0-0 draw, which is about par for a newly promoted club whose ambitions extend merely to survival. 

While the noise around Nottingham Forest has been altogether more positive thanks to the headline-grabbing signings, their performances have been no better or worse than expected. 

Cooper’s men were thoroughly outplayed by both Newcastle and Tottenham and while the scorelines looked respectable, both opponents should have won by greater margins than 2-0 but for a series of squandered goalscoring opportunities. 

Forest were fortunate in their only win of the season, too, with West Ham missing a penalty and comfortably outperforming Forest in terms of expected goals. 

Everton also produced the better chances in Forest’s 1-1 draw at Goodison Park and last week’s 6-0 defeat to Manchester City shows just how far this hastily constructed squad has to go. 

Of course, the new Forest players should eventually settle, gel and produce something far more cohesive than their current high-energy but tactically naive performances.

But for now, while the narratives are very different the levels of both Forest and Bournemouth are largely similar and that could be reflected in a City Ground stalemate.


Nottingham ForestAFC BournemouthPremier LeagueDominic Solanke
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