Forest Preview vs Ipswich Town (H)

There have been many a time, where I have nearly fallen out of love with football, to come back to adoring it a week later – never, did I think I would feel each of these emotions repetitively throughout one 90 minutes of football.

Enough rage, euphoria, anger and hysteria, to scare my new flatmates into conversing with me ever again – Forest’s 5-5 draw with Villa on Wednesday night, was amongst one of the most entertaining games of football I have ever witnessed.

Karanka described it as ‘a tennis match’ after the game – a doubles match, where the front player was Roger Federer and the baseline player was Mr Bean.

An attacking masterclass from the attacking quartet of Cash, Carvalho, Grabban and the unstoppable, Joe Lolley, contributed to a game capable of captivating any footballing audience.

In many ways, the early two goal lead did the opposite of helping us – see, I am of the belief that a two goal lead is psychologically a more dangerous lead to have than just one goal, especially with such a large amount of time left in the game.

This is because the third goal is crucial. Whoever scores the third goal has the momentum and in this case Villa, who were already expansive and attacking, seemed to press ‘ultra attack’ mode on their PS4 controller.

It lead to an end to end game, where a blink would mean you miss a piece of the action – even when Forest went down to 10 men, the game was still wide open and Villa looked so vulnerable on the break.

It was an abnormal game for a Karanka side, built on organisation and cautiousness – the defensive frailties would have set alarm bells ringing, but as a fan, the spectacle in itself was fantastic.

Now Forest must quickly regroup and be ready to face an Ipswich side, who are rock bottom of the Championship table.

Guarding against complacency will be top of the manager’s list, especially after being pegged back from winning positions three times during mid week, which is why I can’t see any unforced changes for Saturday afternoon at the City Ground.

Predicted Forest XI:

Pantilimon, Darikwa, Dawson, Hefele, Robinson, Yacob, Colback, Cash, Carvalho, Lolley, Grabban.

Figueredo’s suspension will more than likely see Hefele return to the starting line-up, with Danny Fox still apparently nursing an injury.

An unusually poor performance from Robinson, should not be enough to justify his removal from the team yet, however Ben Osborn will be hungrily waiting in the wings to take his place.

Claudio Yacob has been fantastic since his arrival in retaining and recycling possession in the midfield, only through fatigue could I see him or Colback dropped for another one of Forest’s mountain of midfield options.

The front four were simply excellent on Wednesday, Lolley in particular with four assists and a thunder strike, they stay unchanged for certain.

The opposition:

Six points separate Paul Lambert’s Ipswich Town side from safety, with the Scotsman struggling to make an impact on the East Anglian side, since Paul Hurst’s departure at the end of October.

The Tractor Boys have failed to win any of their matches under Lambert’s tenure and with only one victory away at Swansea City before that, the Reds will be seeing this as a perfect opportunity to secure three points on home soil.

A costly 3-2 loss at home to Bristol City on Wednesday night, will further fuel a Town side now seemingly set for a relegation dogfight.

Previous starting XI (4-3-3):

(GK) Bartosz Bialkowsi, (RB) Jordan Spence, (CB) Luke Chambers, (CB) Matthew Pennington, (LB) Jonas Knudsen, (RCM) Trevor Chalobah, (CM) Cole Skuse, (LCM) Flynn Downes, (RW) Gwion Edwards, (LW) Freddie Sears, (CF) Jordan Roberts.

As will be the case for many games at home this season, especially against lesser opposition, expect Ipswich to defend deep, compact and attempt to cut off supply into the final third to Forest’s main men.

Lambert is not a manager known for ‘playing on the floor’, so attempts to hit Forest on the break will come mostly from long ball situations – which Dawson and Hefele should thrive on, if they are regimental enough.

Over recent years it has been against the weaker teams, where Forest have been expected to perform, that the Reds have failed to get the desired result.

The last few weeks there has been a ruthlessness about Karanka’s side however, dispatching of sides with professionalism at the back and energy going forward- a return to these more assured ways, would be good for us all, after the emotional rollercoaster of Villa Park.

Picture Credit: Nottingham Forest

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