Nottingham Forest v Swansea
Sunday November 29, 12:00
Nottingham Forest slip to consecutive losses
Nottingham Forest's new manager bounce under Chris Hughton has quickly evaporated after the Tricky Trees suffered their second consecutive 2-0 defeat on Tuesday. The injury-ravaged Reds went down 2-0 at high-flying Bournemouth, leaving the luckless former European champions teetering on the edge of the Championship relegation zone.
Forest rallied in the closing stages, boosted by the introduction of Anthony Knockaert just after the hour mark, as Ryan Yates headed over the bar from the winger's cross. Post-match Hughton rued the Reds' lack of clinical edge in the final-third but admitted the most important takeaway was to ensure the side's fragile confidence is not broken beyond repair.
The Tricky Trees now face a tough run of fixtures and again look likely to be missing a host of players for Saturday's showdown with Swansea at the City Ground, including Lewis Grabban, Joe Worrall, Michael Dawson, Alex Mighten, Tyler Blackett, Fouad Bachirou, Samba Sow, as well as potentially Luke Freeman and Gaeten Bong.
Swansea held at home
Swansea were held to a 1-1 draw by Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday night at the Liberty Stadium. The Owls were on course for victory after opening the scoring with a well-worked corner to take a deserved first-half lead but Swansea improved significantly in the second half and levelled thanks to a classy finish from six-goal leading scorer Andre Ayew.
In need of a response after a middling opening 45 minutes, Swans boss Steve Cooper sent on Kasey Palmer and fit-again Ayew at the break and the latter immediately had a hand in creating the home side's first chance. The duo played a key role in giving the Welsh side the upper-hand in the tussle with Swansea the most likely to grab a decisive late winner.
Post-match Cooper said: "We didn't play well enough first half, and I am not going to lose sight of that when I analyse the game. We fell into the trap of having loads of the ball, not being quick enough and creative enough and getting done on a set-piece or a counter-attack. But a couple of changes second half, an improvement in intensity and we were good for getting back in the game."
Nottingham Forest have lost only one of their last nine regular season league games against Swansea (W5-D3-L1) with that reverse coming on the road back in March 2011. The hosts are actually unbeaten in seven City Ground showdowns against the Swans (W4-D4-L0) over the past 15 years, falling to just two defeats in that same sample across all venues.
Nottingham Forest 2.942/1 should relish a return to home comforts this weekend. The Reds have earned eight of their 12-point tally as hosts (W2-D2-L2), although all eight points were picked up when entertaining fellow bottom-six sides.
Nevertheless, the Tricky Trees are unbeaten in four Championship fixtures here under Chris Hughton's watch (W2-D2-L0).
Swansea 2.588/5 boast a top-six position having been beaten only twice in their opening 13 outings (W6-D5-L2). Steve Cooper's troops' only loss on their travels came at table-topping Norwich, where the Swans impressed, and the visitors have given away just four goals in their six away days (W2-D3-L1). City have returned W2-D3-L1 against bottom-half clubs.
Neither Nottingham Forest nor Swansea have been regular profit-makers in the Over 2.5 Goals (2.25) market thus far. In fact, the pair have combined to see only four of their 26 Championship games feature at least three goals with their collective average per-game standing at a meek 1.85. None of those matches produced four or more goals.
With that in mind, I'm happy to keep Swansea onside by taking the Double Chance approach alongside Under 3.5 Goals in the Same Game Multi market at 1.75. It's a selection that's paid out in 21 of the duos 26 combined tussles thus far.