PREVIEW: Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal

Ten days after the comprehensive 5-0 win over Crystal Palace, Arsenal travel to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday hoping to keep the pressure on at the top of the table. With Liverpool and Manchester City both playing on Wednesday, the game represents an opportunity for The Gunners to reduce the gap at the top to just two points, albeit for 24 hours.

Injury News
Arsenal will not be able to welcome back midfielder Thomas Partey following his three month spell on the side lines. The Ghanaian returned to training last week but Arteta has ruled him out of contention. Meanwhile Declan Rice and Gabriel, who both left the field early in the win over Palace, remain doubts. 

Fabio Vieira's return remains unknown. The Portuguese was spotted during the warm-weather training camp in Dubai, but a return has yet to be announced. Jurrien Timber remains a long-term absentee, while Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny remain on International duty.

Forest will have been boosted by the return of Morgan Gibbs-White in the FA Cup draw against Bristol City. The 24-year-old played the second half and made a noticeable difference to his sides attacking threat. Meanwhile, Anthony Elanga remains a doubt with a persistent thigh injury. 

Taiwo Awoniyi, who scored at the Emirates on the opening day of the season and in Forests 1-0 win over Arsenal at the end of last season, remains out with a groin injury. Divock Origi and defender Felipe are also expected to miss out. Nuno Tavares, on loan from Arsenal, is ineligible against his parent club. 

The Gunners struggled over the Christmas period for consistency but following their Winter break, returned to winning ways with a commanding performance against Crystal Palace. With three losses in their last six league games, Arsenal have dropped to 3rd having led the league at Christmas. The North Londoner's will know that if they are to have a serious charge for the title, then a win on Tuesday is a must. 

Forest on the other hand have won two of their last six, and find themselves just four points above the drop zone. They also have the threat of a points deduction hanging over them, following a charge of breaching Financial Fair Play. They were beaten 3-2 away at Brentford in their last Premier League outing, despite taking an early lead through Danilo. They were held to a 0-0 draw away to Bristol City on Friday night in the FA Cup 4th round.

Recent History
In total, Arsenal have played Nottingham Forest 104 times throughout their history, winning 53, losing 29 and drawing 22. They last played each other on the opening day of this season, where goals from Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka helped secure a 2-1 victory at the Emirates. Awoniyi netted a late consolation for the visitors.  

Arsenal have lost on their last three visits to the City Ground, including last season where they surrendered the title to Manchester City in a 1-0 defeat. Forest also secured their Premier League safety on that day. The hosts have also produced FA Cup upsets in recent years, beating the Gunners 1-0 in 2022 thanks to a Lewis Grabban winner, and 4-2 in 2018. Arsenal's last victory here came in 2016 in the League Cup. 

Played for Both
A number of players have kitted out for both Arsenal and Nottingham Forest. Nuno Tavares and Matt Turner are the two current players who have done so, whilst Carl Jenkinson joined Forest in 2019 following an eight year spell with Arsenal. Henri Lansbury made the journey to the Midlands in 2012, leaving behind his boyhood club. In 1982, Tony Woodcock signed for Arsenal from FC Koln, having previously played for Nottingham Forest and helping them set a 42 game unbeaten run that would later be beaten by Arsenal and extended to 49 games. 

The visitors know that nothing more than three points will do if they are to have a serious crack at the title this season. With Liverpool visiting North London on Sunday, it makes it even more important that Arsenal come away from the City Ground with three points. 

Forest meanwhile are dangerously close to the relegation zone, and while their future remains unknown due to their recent FA charge, they'll be looking to control what they can on the pitch.

Nevertheless, we'll go with a 2-1 win for The Arsenal.