Wigan v Nottingham Forest
Sunday October 20, 14:00
Wigan fall to another away reverse
Wigan's puzzling Jekyll and Hyde performances in the Championship continued before the international break as the Latics followed up a home success with yet another away defeat. After overcoming Birmingham by a solitary strike at the DW Stadium, Athletic went down by the same 1-0 margin at Hillsborough when travelling to Sheffield Wednesday last time out.
Paul Cook's men started well at Wednesday, with home keeper Keiren Westwood making a great double save to first foil Gavin Massey and then Jamal Lowe before Massey followed up the latter's effort with a shot just wide. And after falling behind in the second period, Westwood then tipped Kieffer Moore's header onto the crossbar to frustrate Wigan.
Cook felt his team deserved at least a point at Hillsborough, saying, "I didn't think it was a great game, if I'm being truthful. There were very few clear-cut chances. As an away team, did we deserve a point? I felt we did, but unfortunately goals change games. It's demanding and the margins between winning and losing can be quite fine sometimes."
Nottingham Forest go joint-top
Nottingham Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi was in awe after seeing his side move joint-top of the Championship with a 1-0 win over Brentford before the international break. Ben Watson's volleyed strike - his second in as many games at the City Ground - was enough for the Tricky Trees to secure top honours and extend Forest's unbeaten streak to 10.
Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba had ensured it remained goalless at the break, scrambling to adjust his footing to parry a Mathias Jensen free-kick that took a heavy deflection. Watson then thumped the Tricky Trees into the lead just before the hour, and Lamouchi's men held firm for the final quarter of the contest to seal a sixth league success of the season.
Lamouchi lost Samba Sow to but the Frenchman preferred to focus on the positives post-match. He said, "I'm so impressed. We scored at a good time, and maybe we could have scored a second to finish with less pressure, but what a performance. We have been working together for three months now, and for me, that was the best performance."
Latics a match for most at the DW
Wigan have never lost a home match against Nottingham Forest in all competitions (W2-D5-L0), although the Latics come into Sunday's contest with a victory in six recent showdowns (W0-D3-L3) with the Tricky Trees since March 2014. Draws have clearly been prevalent between the pair and a repeat can be backed at 3.3512/5 this weekend.
As alluded to earlier, Wigan 2.809/5 have displayed a remarkable capacity to pick up positive results at the DW Stadium since promotion back to the second-tier. Athletic have lost only one of their last 15 home league games (W8-D6-L1) here and since the start of last season, no Championship team has kept more clean sheets in front of their home supporters (14).
Nottingham Forest 2.6413/8 arrive unbeaten since the opening weekend of the campaign. The Tricky Trees' 10-game streak without defeat (W6-D4-L0) is the club's best run since February 2016 (13 games) and includes a W3-D3-L0 return on the road despite having to face four teams in the current top-10 on their travels already, picking up W2-D2-L0 in that sample.
Neither Wigan nor Nottingham Forest have been involved in a glut of high-scoring contests thus far with the duo combining to deliver Under 2.5 Goals 1.758/11 profit in 14/22 (64%) fixtures thus far. That figure increases to 8/11 (73%) when viewing respective home/away records across the opening stanza of the season.
The case for a low-scoring encounter increases when learning Sunday's showdown pits together the two teams to land the league's joint-fewest shots on target, whilst Expected Goals (xG) and xG from open play outputs also places the pair in the bottom echelons of the division, again suggesting a match shorn of goalscoring opportunities could be on the cards.