Comparing Arsenal & Man City's Premier League title run-insMar 24 | 2 min read
Man Utd vs Nottingham Forest: Match preview, predicted lineups, quotes, form, injuries and how to watch
This encounter against Steve Cooper's men marks the first match since Cristiano Ronaldo's contract was terminated after his explosive interview with Piers Morgan in which he criticised the Glazers, Erik ten Hag and the club's infrastructure.
When and where to watch Man Utd vs Nottingham Forest
Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest kicks off at 8pm on Tuesday 27 December.
You can catch all the action from Old Trafford on Amazon Prime via BT TV.
Man Utd vs Nottingham Forest preview
Erik ten Hag and his players - as well as the Manchester United fans - will be glad that the Cristiano Ronaldo saga has come to an end.
Whatever your thoughts on Ronaldo's ability to still contribute on the field, his wide-ranging attack on key figures at Old Trafford in his exclusive interview with Piers Morgan was only ever likely to lead to one outcome, with the 37-year-old's departure now freeing up significant space on the wage bill as well as removing an unwanted topic of discussion around the club.
United aren't quite in a position to leapfrog Tottenham and break into the top four, but defeat for Antonio Conte's men at lunchtime on Boxing Day against Brentford would present the Red Devils with the opportunity to move level on points with the north Londoners after heading into the mid-season break with a morale-boosting 2-1 win at Fulham thanks to superstar teenager Alejandro Garnacho's last-gasp winner, backing up that victory by beating Burnley 2-0 on their return to competitive action thanks to a close-range finish by Christian Eriksen following an impressive cutback by Aaron Wan-Bissaka on a rare start for him, before Marcus Rashford rounded things off with a wonderful dribble and strike into the far corner.
Central defence might be an issue for Ten Hag after both Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez made it to the World Cup final and are therefore not available for selection, with Victor Lindelof the only obvious centre-back option as Harry Maguire is on holiday, Phil Jones remains out in the cold and both Axel Tuanzebe and youngster Teden Mengi are injured, while the only other area of concern is Jadon Sancho's continued absence, with Ten Hag admitting that the England winger is not "physically and mentally" ready to play at the moment following a poor start to the season.
It seems like the Nottingham Forest board are backing Steve Cooper, who was handed a three-year deal in early October despite the club sitting bottom of the league at that time, and since then there has been a slight upturn in form, with the newly promoted outfit now just one point adrift of 17th-placed Everton and safety having gone unbeaten in their last three games, conceding just twice in the process (four fewer than their upcoming opponents over the same period).
Wins over Tottenham in the Carabao Cup and Crystal Palace in the league sent Forest into the six-week hiatus on a high, with Morgan Gibbs-White beginning to justify the hype surrounding his move from Sheffield United in the summer after scoring against both the Blades and Brentford in November. Jesse Lingard will also be available for this fixture, with his 22-year Red Devils association ending in June after his contract expired, and the 30-year-old stood out in the Carabao Cup against Blackburn in Forest's first game back after the World Cup, notching up a goal and an assist in a 4-1 at Ewood Park as Brennan Johnson scored twice - his first goals since 3 September - and Taiwo Awoniyi bagged the other.
Man Utd vs Nottingham Forest predicted lineups
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Casemiro, Eriksen; Antony, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial.
Nottingham Forest (4-3-3): Hennessey; Williams, Worrall, Boly, Lodi; Yates, Kouyate, Freuler; Johnson, Awoniyi, Lingard.
Man Utd vs Nottingham Forest: Injuries, absences and suspensions
Other than the absence of Jadon Sancho for the reason explained above, the only other issues Erik ten Hag might have to contend with are the absences of Harry Maguire and Diogo Dalot, along with the availability of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane.
Maguire missed the win over Burnley through illness - although he is expected to recover in time to face Forest - while Dalot went off with a hamstring issue during Portugal's last World Cup game against Morocco and didn't feature against the Clarets, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the frame to start ahead of him after impressing against Vincent Kompany's men.
Martinez and Varane both played in the World Cup final and have not yet returned to Carrington, but could both feature, according to Ten Hag. Axel Tuanzebe is still out.
For the visitors, summer signing Giulian Biancone will sadly be out for the entire campaign following an ACL rupture, while Omar Richards is still out for the foreseeable future after suffering a leg fracture in pre-season, as is Moussa Niakhate, who sustained a thigh injury in August.
Steve Cooper is "hopeful" that Serge Aurier (calf), as well as Morgan Gibbs-White and Wayne Hennessey (both knocks) can play at Old Trafford, especially in the case of Hennessey with Dean Henderson ineligible to face his parent club, while Cheikhou Kouyate will be out for at least the next two months after tearing his hamstring at the World Cup with Senegal.
The good news for Cooper though is that Harry Toffolo returned against Blackburn having sustained a hamstring injury on 20 October.
Form (last six league matches from oldest to most recent)
Manchester United – DWDWLW
Nottingham Forest – LDWLDW
Man Utd vs Nottingham Forest: Last time they met
These two teams last faced each other way back in the 1998/99 as Ronny Johnsen popped up with a rare brace in a 3-0 win for Manchester United at Old Trafford.
A downward header from Johnsen opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark and the Norwegian doubled his account after the break with a close-range volley, with Ryan Giggs rounding the scoring with a neat chip after being played in by David Beckham.
The reverse fixture was even more one-sided as United ran out 8-1 victors - 41 years on from the Munich air disaster - in a season that saw them regain their title from Arsenal as Forest finished bottom.
Dwight Yorke got the ball rolling from Paul Scholes' cross inside two minutes, before Alan Rogers equalised on six minutes, only for United to go straight down the other end to retake the lead as Andy Cole latched onto a long ball, rounded Dave Beasant and squeezed home.
Cole doubled his tally after Yorke's strike was parried right to him and it was then Yorke's turn to net his second, Jesper Blomqvist's cross deflecting perfectly into the path of the striker via a post.
From there, it was the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the Norwegian - and future United manager - incredibly netted four times having only entered the field on 72 minutes, the only player in Premier League history to have scored that many after coming on as a sub.
He said what?!
Erik ten Hag on Lisandro Martinez's post-World Cup celebrations:
"He is still celebrating in Buenos Aires now, going around in the touring car!
"I can understand it. It is very emotional when you achieve this World Cup success for your country.
"It is magnificent, it is the highest that you can achieve [in football]. Licha also has to understand that on 27 December, the Premier League is back!"
Man Utd vs Nottingham Forest: Players to watch
Despite Portugal bowing out to Morocco in the last eight of World Cup, Bruno Fernandes stood out for Fernando Santos' side, becoming one of only four players at the tournament to score and assist at least twice - the other three being Harry Kane, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe. Ten Hag will now be hoping the 28-year-old's performances can translate back to the Premier League.
Jesse Lingard will have a point to prove as he returns to the club where he broke through. A goal and an assist against both Tottenham and Blackburn in the Carabao Cup underlines what the attacker is capable of, but Nottingham Forest fans have rarely seen that sort of display from him. Now would be a good time to turn things around.
Man Utd vs Nottingham Forest: Key stats
- Nottingham Forest's 8-1 loss at home to Manchester United on 6 February 1999 is their heaviest-ever Premier League defeat
- Forest have kept four clean sheets in their last six matches across all competitions
- United have won their last six meetings with Forest, scoring an incredible 26 goals in those games and conceding just three