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Premier League | Gameweek 18
Dec 23, 2023 at 3pm UK
The City Ground

Nott'm Forest
2 - 3

Elanga (47'), Wood (74')
Boly (5')
Boly (23')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Solanke (51', 58', 90+4')
Iraola (25'), Scott (31'), Semenyo (65'), Christie (68')

Preview: Nottingham Forest vs. Bournemouth - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Nottingham Forest vs. Bournemouth - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Returning to the Premier League touchline for the first time in over two years, Nuno Espirito Santo's Nottingham Forest baptism takes place on Saturday, as the Tricky Trees host Bournemouth at the City Ground.

Forest parted ways with Steve Cooper following a 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, while the Cherries' clash with Luton Town was abandoned with the scoreline at 1-1 due to Tom Lockyer's distressing cardiac arrest.

Match preview

Despite receiving weekly support from the Nottingham Forest faithful bellowing out his name, Cooper was on borrowed time in the City Ground dugout and was given the boot earlier this week, having overseen a fifth loss from six games during Friday's visit of Tottenham.

The Tricky Trees were on course to hold out until half time, but Richarlison broke the deadlock on the stroke of the break before Dejan Kulusevski went from provider to goalscorer, lashing home at Matt Turner's near post after a poor clearance from the American goalkeeper.

Parting ways with the man who masterminded their return to the Premier League landscape, Forest have hired a coach with an identical achievement on his CV in Santo, who propelled Wolverhampton Wanderers into the European equation before his ill-fated stint with Tottenham Hotspur, which lasted only 17 games.

Following a brief yet successful spell with Al-Ittihad, with whom he clinched Saudi Pro League glory, Santo takes the reins of a Forest side languishing in 17th in the Premier League table, five points clear of newly-promoted Luton, although the Hatters now have a game in hand.

Taking just one point from a possible 18 during the final six games of Cooper's reign, Forest are also at risk of suffering four successive Premier League home defeats this weekend - not since 1999 have they endured such a miserable sequence - so the famed new manager bounce cannot come quickly enough.

Fewer than 24 hours after Forest's defeat to Tottenham, Bournemouth were on course to complete a South Coast comeback against Luton, who had stormed ahead through Elijah Adebayo with only three minutes on the board before Dominic Solanke drew the Cherries level.

However, mere moments after Solanke's equaliser, play ground to a halt as Luton captain Lockyer collapsed on the field to the horror of onlooking players, coaches and spectators, and he was subsequently stretchered off to warm applause from both sets of fans at the Vitality Stadium.

As news filtered through that Lockyer had suffered a cardiac arrest and the match would be abandoned, both teams emerged from the tunnel to engage in an emotional lap of respect with the Vitality crowd, and Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola expressed his relief to hear that Lockyer had been discharged from hospital on Thursday morning.

While a date for the fixture to be replayed in full is yet to be set, Bournemouth resume top-flight duty sat 14th in the table on account of their stellar renaissance over the winter period, having won four and drawn one of their five previous contests before last weekend's events.

That streak includes a three-match victorious run away from home in the Premier League, meaning that the Cherries could now win four successive road contests in the competition for the first time ever. History favours Bournemouth in their quest for a club first, as they have gone unbeaten in six fixtures against Forest since a 2-1 Championship loss in February 2015, where Henri Lansbury struck the winner for the Garibaldi.

Nottingham Forest Premier League form:

Bournemouth Premier League form:

Team News

A proponent of the three-man backline during his days in the Wolves dugout, Santo should not deviate from Forest's recent setup under the now unemployed Cooper, but he will definitely be without long-term groin victim Taiwo Awoniyi for the contest.

Felipe (muscle), Serge Aurier (calf) and Ibrahim Sangare (adductor) were all unavailable for the visit of Tottenham and remain touch-and-go for Saturday's game, where Santo will reunite with former Wolves pair Morgan Gibbs-White and Willy Boly.

Both erstwhile Molineux men should reprise their starting roles this weekend, while Danilo and Nicolas Dominguez are both vying to force their way back into the hosts' midfield over Cheikhou Kouyate.

As for Bournemouth, Iraola's side sustained no fresh fitness concerns in their clash with Luton - where Alex Scott made his return to the matchday ranks - but the Cherries will still be without a handful of players through injury, including thigh victims Tyler Adams, Lloyd Kelly and Max Aarons.

Ryan Fredericks (calf), Emiliano Marcondes (foot) and Hamed Traore (sickness) are also working their way back to full fitness, but Darren Randolph is back in team training from his own illness and could push to be part of the squad again soon.

Antoine Semenyo only lasted for one half of the meeting with Luton before being replaced by Philip Billing, who was credited with helping to get emergency assistance to Lockyer, and the Dane may now come into Iraola's thinking for a starting berth.

Semenyo will need a once-over due to the knock he sustained last weekend, but Iraola is hopeful that Milos Kerkez will shake off an issue of his own to start at left-back.

Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Turner; Boly, Niakhate, Murillo; Williams, Danilo, Yates, Mangala, Toffolo; Gibbs-White, Elanga

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Neto; Smith, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kerkez; Cook, Christie; Tavernier, Billing, Kluivert; Solanke

We say: Nottingham Forest 1-2 Bournemouth

Santo should not and cannot be expected to solve Forest's problems overnight, and the visit of an in-form Bournemouth side is not exactly a friendly homecoming fixture for the Portuguese.

With Solanke remaining potent in the final third and Bournemouth only conceding one goal in their last 270 minutes of Premier League football on the road, we expect Iraola's troops to subject Santo to a losing start on the City Ground touchline.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Premier League Table
CManchester CityMan City38287396346291
4Aston Villa382081076611568
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs382061274611366
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381861485622360
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd38186145758-160
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham381410146074-1452
10Crystal Palace381310155758-149
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton381212145562-748
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38137185065-1546
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3899204967-1832
RLuton TownLuton3868245285-3326
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd38372835104-6916
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