Top meets bottom at The Emirates Stadium when early pace-setters Arsenal host relegation candidates Nottingham Forest in the Premier League this afternoon. The visitors took a huge scalp when they toppled Liverpool last week, though a repeat result against the Gunners on their own patch would perhaps be an even bigger surprise.
Below, you can find our stats pack for the clash in North London which is packed floor to ceiling with info on shots, xG, corners, cards, fouls and more. Our stats pack and my Guide on how to use it should equip you with everything you need to construct your bet builders for the game.
Mohamed Elneny, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Emile Smith-Rowe are still sidelined for Arsenal, while backup keeper Matt Turner is a doubt with a groin complaint.
Thomas Partey, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes all return to the XI having been named on the bench in the Gunners’ 2-0 loss at PSV in midweek.
Moussa Niakhate, Omar Richards and Jack Colback are all confirmed absentees for Forest, though Lewis O’Brien and Harry Toffolo will hope to feature.
Manager Steve Cooper sticks with the same XI that beat Liverpool last weekend although Rena Lodi comes in at left-back.
Arsenal dropped points for only the second time this season in the Premier League when they were held to a 1-1 draw at Southampton last weekend, though the Gunners did manage to rack up more efforts than the Saints at St. Mary’s Stadium (12-10).
Indeed, Arsenal’s shots per 90 (15.50) figure for the entire campaign is the league’s third-healthiest as is their xG (2.00), while only Man City have conceded fewer attempts at the other end.
Nottingham Forest claimed their third clean sheet of the campaign when they kept Liverpool out at the City Ground last Saturday, however, their goals against per 90 (1.92) figure is still the division’s third worst.
Only Everton have been conceding more shots per 90 than Forest and the newly-promoted outfit rank joint-top alongside the Toffees and Man Utd for card accumulated (32).
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Arsenal’s squad is chock-full of excellent options in the shot markets this afternoon against a Forest side that they should be able to pepper with attempts.
Any member of the Gunners’ front four looks like a good candidate today, with Gabriel Jesus (3.33 shots p/90), Gabriel Martinelli (2.69), Martin Odegaard (2.56) and Bukayo (2.43) all capable of testing Dean Henderson.
Granit Xhaka (1.18) has been enjoying a new forward-thinking remit this term and the Swiss midfielder could be worth considering at longer odds.
Taiwo Awoniyi (2.88 shots p/90) was in sparkling form against his old club Liverpool last week and the Nigerian mustered three attempts against the Reds with two of those hitting the target.
Ryan Yates (1.89 shots p/90) broke forward brilliantly from midfield against Liverpool last week and had two shots on target at the City Ground. The 24-year-old could be an interesting outsider option today.
Player Goals and Assists
Arsenal’s formidable front four were flying in the early exchanges of the new campaign, but while they’ve been keeping their shooting stats high, the goals have dried up for three of them of late.
Gabriel Jesus has gone six games without a goal in all competitions, Gabriel Martinelli has scored once in his last 11 runouts, while Martin Odegaard has gone 11 matches in all comps without finding the net.
All three players will be itching to notch against Forest, though Bukayo Saka (three goals in his last three league games) might be best placed to actually do so.
Taiwo Awoniyi was Forest’s match-winner against Liverpool last weekend and his crucial second-half strike was his third goal of the season.
Brennan Johnson is Forest’s next-best marksman with two goals, though just one of those strikes was from open play. Morgan Gibbs-White has been the club’s keenest creator, lodging two assists so far.
Gabriel Jesus has been performing his defensive duties with zeal this season and the hard-working Brazilian has collected a notably high four bookings in 11 league starts for Arsenal this season.
That total puts him level with French defender William Saliba. The 21-year-old has impressed this season, though his inexperience is still evident at times, particularly when he mistimes challenges.
Granit Xhaka was carded for the fifth time in all competitions for the campaign when he was cautioned at PSV on Thursday and the burly Swiss midfield is generally a strong card candidate in most games.
Flying full-back Neco Williams (fouled 0.94 times p/90) has been a key player for Forest this season and his surges down the flank could be checked by energetic presser Gabriel Jesus today.
In midfield, Ron Yates’ (fouled 2.47 times per 90) line-breaking runs could put him on Granit Xhaka’s radar, while in-form Taiwo Awoniyi could be a real handful for William Saliba further forward.
Match-Ups to watch
Gabriel Jesus vs Steve Cook
Granit Xhaka vs Ryan Yates
William Saliba vs Taiwo Awoniyi
Nottingham Forest Cards
We’ve reached the department where cards are most likely to be produced today and there are a number of excellent options to mull over in Forest’s booking-happy ranks.
Centre halves Scott McKenna (four cards) and Steve Cook (four cards) have been the very definition of no-nonsense for Forest this term and both defenders could struggle to cope with the speed and technique of Arsenal’s forwards today.
Neco Williams (1.51 fouls per 90) ranks near the top in both the fouls and cards metrics though Renan Lodi will be doing his dirty work today.
Gabriel Jesus is a technically-gifted nuisance and the Brazilian has been drawing 2.95 fouls per 90 minutes from frustrated defenders this season. Expect Scott McKenna to be right on his case at The Emirates Stadium.
Gabriel Martinelli (fouled 1.54 times per/90) should stretch Steve Cook with his runs from out to in today and the Forest defender could be drawn into a desperate lunge or two.
Bukayo Saka (fouled 1.50 times p/90) has most fullbacks on toast and his ability to beat his marker in one-on-one situations could draw the worst out of the impetuous Neco Williams.
Match-Ups to watch
Scott McKenna vs Gabriel Jesus
Steve Cook vs Gabriel Martinelli
Remo Frueler vs Martin Odegaard