Premier League Preview 2022-23 No 16: Nottingham Forest

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Predicted position of Guardian writers 15th (NB: this is not necessarily Will Unwin’s prediction, but the average of our writers’ tips)

Last season’s position 4th (Championship)

Odds to win the league (via Oddschecker) 1,000-1


Owners have big ambitions, especially after spending big on players over the summer, but the reality is that the Premier League is a huge leap forward for any club, regardless of investment levels. Evangelos Marinakis has spoken of seeking trophies after securing promotion, but the club will be happy if they finish 17th.

They certainly have players to move up a few places, but it might take a while for the team to unite with a unit considering the turnaround in the roster of players. They lost several members of the promotion team, including popular goalkeeper Brice Samba, who was allowed to leave and replaced by Dean Henderson, while club captain Lewis Grabban decided not to sign a new contract.

The recruitment was needed to give Steve Cooper the resources he requires to make his team competitive in a division that is new to most of his players. Jesse Lingard was hired to make a statement and add experience. It’s a young team, which should help with their fearlessness at the top level, but it could mean they don’t have the intelligence to get through the tough times and how they’ll react if they have a bad run, not something they experienced with Cooper last season. .

They will appear aggressive and will constantly pressure to ensure that no one, regardless of stature, takes points easily throughout the campaign. The City Ground received an upgrade over the summer and the club hopes this is where they get most of their points on the way to safety.


The manager

When things were going incredibly wrong at the start of last season under Chris Hughton, chief executive Dane Murphy quickly singled out Cooper as the man to improve Forest. Few could have predicted going one point in seven games to beat Huddersfield in the playoff final, but that was the effect the former Swansea manager had on the team. Inside the club, the main thing Cooper brought to the squad was “belief”, as Joe Worrall confirmed at Wembley. The team became more aggressive under his management and eventually became a cohesive unit. He transformed Brennan Johnson from a striker on the team’s periphery to its most lauded asset in the space of a few months. He knows what he’s doing with young players thanks to a history of working in academies and with England’s youth teams. He will love his first season as Premier League manager.

Dean Henderson (left) has joined the season on loan from Manchester United and will compete for the number 1 shirt with Wayne Hennessey (right). Photography: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

transfer scam

It was another smart summer on the transfer market for Forest. The Bundesliga has been an important target for the club where they know they can get value for money. They broke their transfer record to make Taiwo Awoniyi their first arrival of the summer for £17.5m from Union Berlin. The Nigerian international started his career at Liverpool but spent his time there on loan before moving to Union last summer. He scored 15 goals to help his team to fifth place in the table and in European football, but decided to give it up for a chance in the Premier League. He met Cooper and, despite interest from elsewhere, decided the City Ground project was for him.

World Cup impact

It should be a month off for most players. Dean Henderson is hoping first-team football will land him in the England squad, while Neco Williams and Brennan Johnson are sure to be part of the Wales setup barring injuries. The other player likely to be in Qatar is Canadian Richie Laryea, but he is expected to spend the season on loan.


Alternative attractions during the World Cup

There is no shortage of attractions in Nottingham. There are The Caves, which are, surprisingly, a huge network of caves, a good place to hide from the realities of the world if Forest is in the relegation zone in November.

Leading shirt sales

Brennan Johnson is the local hero. After signing a new contract this summer, his popularity has increased even more. Everyone likes a gym product doing well and Johnson certainly is. His father David had a decent five years with the club at the turn of the millennium and his legacy lives on 16 years after his departure. He faces a big step, considering he was on loan at Lincoln in League One two years ago, but everything suggests he has the capacity to be a Premier League player for the long haul.

social climber

Last season, Djed Spence and Brice Samba were the main social actors. The good news is they are now in the Premier League when it comes to TikToks, Instas and other things that keep kids entertained because they bought Jesse Lingard. A top tier player with the following to match. He has over a million fans on TikTok alone because he loves to dance.

If Forest were a Netflix documentary…

Nottingham Forest: Back to the big time. What could go wrong at the City Ground? They worked hard to return to the Premier League, it took just over a quarter of a century and involved three seasons in the third division. Fans just hope it’s not a representation of someone losing hope in the space of nine months.

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