Forest trending in the right direction
Leeds' untrustworthy on their travels
Reds make Asian Handicap appeal
Forest fall at Old Trafford
Nottingham Forest's hopes of reaching a first domestic cup final since 1991 came to a close on Wednesday night as the Reds lost 2-0 to Manchester United at Old Trafford in the second leg of the EFL Cup, exiting with a 5-0 aggregate defeat. Head coach Steve Cooper had been keen for his team to at least put in a good performance and the visitors were competitive.
The hosts saw most of the early ball, but the Tricky Trees grew into the game with Emmanuel Dennis and Renan Lodi impressing. Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was worked more often, though Brennan Johnson and Dennis were both denied with decent attempts as Forest pressed. However, a quickfire second-half double settled matters in United's favour.
Forest were without injured stopper Dean Henderson, and brought Neco Williams, Willy Boly, Orel Mangala and Jesse Lingard into the XI from the first leg. Morgan Gibbs-White was the latest to join a lengthily injury list, whilst Chris Wood was cup-tied. The club's trio of deadline day signings Felipe, Jonjo Shelvey and Keylor Navas are all available this weekend.
Leeds enjoy cup success
Leeds eased their way into the FA Cup fifth round last weekend as goals from Jack Harrison, Junior Firpo and Luis Sinisterra ensured a 3-1 victory at League One host Accrington. The underdogs had put Jesse Marsch's men under early pressure but a series of Illan Meslier saves kept Stanley at bay, before the Whites began to assert their dominance thereafter.
Club-record signing Georginio Rutter was handed a full debut and squandered the game's best early chance, although Leeds did break the deadlock thanks to a terrific strike from Harrison in the 23rd minute. The Whites doubled their advantage after the hour mark and added a third only a couple of minutes later with Accrington grabbing a late consolation.
Speaking post-match, Marsch said he was pleased with the side's mentality: "We always have a group that are ready to work and run. The key is just that we perform clearly tactically, and we get more towards the team we want to be and gather more results. This tournament gives us confidence. The group is feeling better and better about the progress."
Leeds hope to have new signing Weston McKennie available for Sunday's showdown after the American midfielder joined on-loan with a view to a permanent deal. His compatriot Tyler Adams should be fit enough to return to the fold here, with Liam Cooper also expected to be feature for the visitors. Robin Koch is suspended and Adam Forshaw remains out.
Nottingham Forest have lost just two of their last 15 league games against Leeds - both back in 2017 - with the Tricky Trees posting W7-D6-L2 in that head-to-head sequence. The Reds have won their most recent two City Ground showdowns with the Whites, and are unbeaten in their past 12 top-flight home tussles with Leeds (W5-D7-L0), although this is the first such encounter since 1998.
Nottingham Forest 2.747/4 are currently enjoying their best unbeaten Premier League run since 1995 (W2-D2-L0) to move four points clear of the drop-zone. Steve Cooper's charges have avoided defeat at the City Ground since September (W3-D3-L0) and have only been turned over by top-four opposition across 10 EPL outings since mid-October (W4-D4-L2).
No side has won fewer Premier League points on the road than Leeds 2.789/5. The Whites have registered a solitary success in nine (W1-D2-L6) away days - leaking multiple goals on six occasions - and Jesse Marsch's visitors have taken top honours in only four of their first 19 overall fixtures this term (W4-D6-L9) to sit just one point above the bottom-three.
The market is expecting 2.65 goals on Sunday, however, there's been a decent difference between the duos respective home/away efforts. For example, just three of Nottingham Forest's 10 City Ground encounters have produced Over 2.5 Goals 1.9620/21 profit, yet six of Leeds' nine games as guests have featured a minimum of three strikes this season.
Meanwhile, whilst nine of the Tricky Trees' past 12 league tussles across all venues paid-out for Under 2.5 Goals 2.021/1 backers, seven of Leeds' last nine such match-ups broke the Over 2.5 Goals barrier with the away side managing to keep their sheets clean in just four Premier League fixtures. With that in mind, I'm happy to pass over the goal markets.
Instead, Nottingham Forest 0 Asian Handicap holds plenty of appeal at 1.981/1. Despite the disappointment of the midweek EFL Cup exit, the Reds have been trending in the right direction since early October. Over the course of the campaign, Forest have lost just four times to sides outside the top-five, and have W5-D5-L3 against sides in eighth and below.
The 0 Asian Handicap option returns a push should the match end all-square, with profit secured should Forest clinch maximum points.
Elsewhere, punters may wish to support in-form Brennan Johnson - two goals in his past four league outings - to score at anytime alongside Nottingham Forest Double Chance for an attractive 4.003/1 shot on the Bet Builder with Sportsbook customers enjoying a £2 free Bet Builder this weekend.