Nottingham Forest vs Manchester United predictions: Home comforts can help Forest
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Dan Sait
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Steve Cooper has turned the City Ground into something of a fortress and Nottingham Forest can use that against Manchester United
Steve Cooper has turned the City Ground into something of a fortress and Nottingham Forest can use that against Manchester United

- Nottingham Forest are unbeaten in their last eight home matches 
- Manchester United have won only two of their last six domestic away games 
- Recommended bet: Nottingham Forest or Draw double chance

In the week that Manchester United secured their place in this Carabao Cup semi-final, everything was going smoothly for Erik ten Hag’s men — victory over Charlton in the quarter-final followed by a Premier League defeat of Manchester City had supporters dreaming of glory on all fronts.

However, a draw at Crystal Palace and morale-sapping defeat at Arsenal soon followed, crushing the Red Devils’ brief hopes of a league title challenge and sending them into this week’s match at a low ebb.

Now, their League Cup ambitions face a serious test in the East Midlands against a resurgent Nottingham Forest who are growing in confidence as they move steadily away from the Premier League relegation zone.

In recent months, Forest have been transformed from whipping boys to dangerous underdogs at the City Ground, and manager Steve Cooper will be keen to use home advantage to gain a precious first-leg lead.

Team news

Forest’s on-loan goalkeeper Dean Henderson has been ruled out for several weeks with a thigh tear — and would have been ineligible against his parent club anyway — but former United winger Jesse Lingard could feature against his old club after recovering from a hamstring problem.

Striker Taiwo Awoniyi and midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate are both sidelined until March with groin and hamstring injuries respectively, while defender Giulian Biancone is out for the season with an ACL injury.

Left-back Omar Richards is close to returning from a hairline fracture of his leg, while centre-back Moussa Niakhate should also be back within a couple of weeks from a hamstring injury that has ruled him out of most of the season so far.

Midfielder Ryan Yates is a slight doubt due to illness.

United striker Anthony Martial will face a late fitness test to see if he can return from a thigh injury but a similar problem will rule full-back Diogo Dalot out of the trip to the City Ground.

Defensive midfielder Casemiro returns from suspension but attacking midfielder Donny van de Beek has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, while attacker Jadon Sancho remains unavailable.

The stats

Erik ten Hag's United have won just two of their last six domestic away games
Erik ten Hag's United have won just two of their last six domestic away games

United’s 3-0 victory over Forest at the end of January was part of an impressive run of 10 successive wins at Old Trafford, but Ten Hag’s men have been nowhere near as formidable on the road.

United have won just two of their last six domestic away games and even those two victories were far from dominant — they nicked a 93rd-minute winner at Fulham and edged to a late 1-0 success against struggling Wolves.

Defeats at Arsenal and Aston Villa, along with draws at Crystal Palace and Chelsea, suggest the Red Devils might struggle again at the City Ground.

Cooper’s men are steadily improving on the road but at home are becoming a serious force, remaining unbeaten in eight matches and defeating Tottenham in the Carabao Cup and Liverpool in the league during that run. 

They have also held Chelsea and Brentford in a sequence of four wins and four draws, with one of those ties ending in a penalty shootout victory over Wolves in the last round of this competition.

Prediction

Forest have suffered just two defeats in their last 11 games and one of those can be disregarded given it was a reserve team that Cooper sent out in the FA Cup loss at Blackpool.

The fact that the other defeat was a heavy loss to United does muddy the water, but Cooper has finally crafted a resilient and dangerous unit out of his avalanche of summer signings and will be confident of getting a result in the first leg.

Ten Hag’s men have suffered a knock to their confidence after recent setbacks and the United manager will need to keep rotating his squad given the club has 10 matches to cram in over the next five weeks.

The first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final is likely to be a game in which he rests a few of his stars and a team who had managed just one clean sheet in their last eight domestic away games look likely to concede against as a result — adding both teams to score to Bet Builder selections looks sensible.

However, an in-form and focused Forest side will be aiming higher than simply finding the net against their vaunted visitors and Cooper’s men look value to make home advantage count.

With the safety net of the contest ending level, back the Nottingham Forest or Draw double chance — available at 5/4 with LiveScore Bet.

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Nottingham ForestManchester UnitedEFL Cup
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