Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle predictions: Magpies may fail to breach Forest fortress
- Forest conceded more than one goal only twice in nine-match unbeaten home run
- Newcastle have failed to score in three of their last four Premier League away games
- Recommended bet: Under 1.5 goals
Newcastle’s slightly fortuitous victory over Wolves last weekend ended a run of three successive defeats in all competitions and manager Eddie Howe will be keen to build momentum as the Magpies look to secure a top-four finish.
However, Friday night’s trip to the City Ground is no straightforward assignment.
While Nottingham Forest have been vulnerable on the road they remain resilient at home, last losing a Premier League game in front of their own fans in mid-September.
Manager Steve Cooper will be alarmed at the sight of his team slipping back towards the bottom three and, given Forest’s dreadful away form, will know his team must get back to winning ways at the City Ground if they are to avoid dropping straight back down to the Championship.
Nottingham Forest centre-backs Willy Boly and Scott McKenna remain out but Moussa Niakhate returned to the bench last weekend and could feature.
Full-backs Giulian Biancone and Omar Richards are unavailable while goalkeepers Dean Henderson and Wayne Hennessey remain out of contention due to respective thigh and knee injuries.
Defensive midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate has an outside chance of returning but strikers Taiwo Awoniyi and Chris Wood are injured and winger Brennan Johnson is a major doubt after having to come off with a groin problem last weekend.
Newcastle midfielder Joelinton is suspended and right-back Emil Krafth is out for the season.
Winger Anthony Gordon will not return from injury until after the international break and Ryan Fraser has been dropped from the first-team squad.
Nottingham Forest have not lost any of their last nine Premier League home games, drawing against Manchester City and Chelsea in that run as well as beating Liverpool.
However, they have been fortunate in their last three City Ground outings.
Manchester City created a whopping 2.4 expected goals to their 0.9 in a 1-1 draw, Everton outperformed Forest’s xG by 1.7 to 0.8 in a 2-2 draw and Leeds won the xG count 0.9-0.4 but lost 1-0.
Newcastle had lost their last three matches before edging past Wolves, albeit those defeats coming against Manchester City, Manchester United in the Carabao Cup, and Liverpool when playing with 10 men for 70 minutes.
Prior to those defeats, Newcastle had drawn five of their last six Premier League games, including stalemates against struggling sides Leeds, Crystal Palace, West Ham and Bournemouth.
Indeed, while Newcastle remain unbeaten against teams currently in the bottom half they have won less than half of those matches, claiming six wins but seven draws.
Some of Forest’s recent results owe plenty to the impressive performances of Keylor Navas in goal but Cooper’s men have undoubtedly been fortunate to maintain their nine-match unbeaten run at home and that luck cannot last forever.
A slew of injuries has hurt Forest’s survival bid and the probable absence of star man Brennan Johnson further undermines chances of beating Newcastle on Friday night.
However, Howe’s men have also struggled for goals recently, failing to score in three of their last four away games, which makes ‘both teams to score: no’ a decent option for Bet Builders.
But the best value bet is to back a low-scoring match between two out-of-form strikeforces up against two of the most in-form goalkeepers in the Premier League.
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