Date: Saturday 2nd Sept 2023
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 15::00 BST
We ended a run of eight Premier League games without a home win against Luton last weekend and there were plenty of positives to be taken. Whilst ‘it was only Luton’ and they do look the likely whipping boys for this season, you can only beat what’s in front of you and we did that soundly. Sterling had yet another good game, not that it was good enough for Southgate mind you, whilst Nicolas Jackson continues to impress. He’s Drogba-esque, without the drama. Of course, that’s not said with reference to his goal tally or clinical finishing, he’s young and has time to finesse that, the reference is to the early Drogba days at Chelsea where the goals maybe weren’t always there but the work rate most definitely was.
Anyway, we followed up our second win from the last 15 top-flight games with a bit of a struggle in the EFL Cup second round game against AFC Wimbledon midweek. Conceding an early penalty meant we had to dig in for an ugly win against the League Two side. Predictably, there were the inevitable changes to the starting XI but we could have done without having to call on some of our senior players to drag ourselves into the next round.
We’ll face a tougher test still against Nottingham Forest this afternoon, with Steve Cooper’s side already giving both Arsenal and Manchester United a proper game so far this season. We’re unbeaten in our last nine meetings with Forest but couldn’t take more than a point off them home or away last season.
We’ll need to watch out for those aerial battles this time!
Going into today’s game, Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino, says “We need to settle all of the players who arrive late. We are in a process we need to create this base and need to build this sold to perform after. We need to recover the injured players and those that arrived late, they need to be in form. We are working hard to be our best. It is a matter of time and we have the quality and I think we are going to perform.
Because of the circumstances we have, we are happy. Even if we don’t progress at the speed we want. To progress we need all of the players fit to evolve in the way we play and to have the capacity to train with the whole team and to create an environment they can compete and improve. It is true we are now more focused on competing and trying to get positive results. That will help us for the players to arrive into the team to be in a different mood. Now is the process we need to compete, not the best circumstances, but I’m not going to complain.”
Nottingham Forest manager, Steve Cooper meanwhile, says “It’s a unique start and after Chelsea it carries on. But we’ve got our heads round it and are thinking to attack as best we can. I don’t think we are far away from getting a positive result away from home.”
For Chelsea, Wesley Fofana and Christopher Nkunku (knee) are long-term absentees, Benoit Badiashile (thigh), Marcus Bettinelli (unspecified), Trevoh Chalobah (thigh), Armando Broja (knee), Reece James (hamstring), Carney Chukwuemeka (knee), and Romeo Lavia (fitness) all remain out. Levi Colwill will face an assessment after picking up a knock against AFC Wimbledon although Pochettino insists he’s not injured, whilst Mykhailo Mudryk (unspecified) may be available again.
For Nottingham Forest, Orel Mangala, Felipe (knee), Wayne Hennessey (knee) and Scott McKenna (hamstring) are injured, whilst Andrey Santos is ineligible to play against us. Joe Worrall is available again after suspension, whilst new signing, former Chelsea academy and first team player Callum Hudson-Odoi is unlikely to feature. We wish him all the very best in every game he plays that’s not against us obviously.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Sanchez; Disasi, Silva, Colwill; Gusto, Fernandez, Caicedo, Chilwell; Gallagher, Sterling; Jackson
NOTTINGHAM FOREST (Possible line-up): Turner; Boly, Niakhate, Worrall; Aurier, Danilo, Yates, Aina; Johnson, Gibbs-White; Awoniyi
CURRENT FORM (PL)
NOTTINGHAM FOREST: LWL
Chelsea 2-2 Nottingham Forest (13 May 2023)
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last nine meetings with Nottingham Forest in all competitions.
- Nottingham Forest’s only win in their last 14 away games against Chelsea was January 1995.
- Chelsea drew both Premier League meetings with Nottingham Forest last season.
- Nottingham Forest have won just one of their 21 Premier League away games since their top-flight return last season.
- Nottingham Forest are aiming to avoid losing their opening three away games of a league season for only the second time this century.
Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-1 Nottingham Forest