Preview: Nottingham Forest v Arsenal

Mesut Ozil Arsenal

Championship side Nottingham Forest are tasked with defeating an in-form Arsenal outfit in Sunday’s FA Cup third round clash in Nottinghamshire.

FA Cup
7 January 2018
Round three
Kick-off: 16:00 local time
Venue: The City Ground

Referee: J. Moss
Assistants: S. Massey, E. Smart
Fourth official: K. Friend

Head-to-head summary

Forest 89 25 20 44
Arsenal 89 44 20 25

Previous encounter

Nottingham Forest 0-4 Arsenal 20/09/16

Arsenal goalscorers: G. Xhaka (23′), Lucas Pérez (60′), (71′), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (90+3)

Players to watch

With eight goals in 22 appearances Kieran Dowell’s stock continues to rise. The 20-year-old is on loan from Everton and a bright future is predicted for the youngster from Ormskirk. A big performance against the visiting Gunners could only enhance his reputation as a prospect to watch for the future.

Theo Walcott has hardly featured for the visitors this season in the Premier League although he remains a threat in the cup competitions for coach Arsène Wenger’s men, with four goals in eight appearances. With question marks surrounding his long term future with the Londoners, a big performance may just what he needs to get his career back on track.

Team form and manager quotes

For the home team, caretaker boss Gary Brazil is hopeful of seeing his side improve on the recent hard fought 0-0 draw with high flying Leeds United in the Championship. Brazil took over from the sacked Mark Warburton after a poor first half of the season, however, he believes he saw renewed fight which bodes well ahead of facing the Gunners.

He said, “The more often we get into good areas, the quicker that will improve. You are looking for that little bit of quality at the top end of the pitch that will turn one point into three.”

Meanwhile, Wenger has hinted he will ring the changes after a busy schedule over the Christmas and the New Year. Speaking to reporters, the veteran Frenchman said, “I will rotate a little bit because we come out of a very high loaded period.

“We played three big games in six days, twice away, a big game at home, and we have to keep our level of focus and urgency, because the third round is always very difficult, especially when you play away from home against a Championship team.”

Team news

The Reds have virtually a full strength squad available although there could still be selection dilemmas for Brazil. Liam Bridcutt may be rested as he on the verge of suspension with nine yellow cards to his name, ahead of this weekend’s crucial league clash against Aston Villa. Danny Fox could feature after recovering from a knee injury.

Arsenal have a raft of injuries for the contest with striker Olivier Giroud and Wales ace Aaron Ramsey both sidelined with hamstring concerns. Granit Xhaka is also absent due to a groin strain. Sead Kolašinac and Nacho Monreal also miss out with ankle injuries.