The return of the Premier League sees fifth placed Man Utd play host to Nottingham Forest who are down in 18th spot. United are the clear favourites to prevail, but Forest have only lost one of their last five Premier League games. Both teams warmed up for this fixture with comfortable wins in the EFL Cup last week.
Below are the stats for xG, goals, shots, corners, fouls, cards and even passing from the two sides’ Premier League seasons. Alongside my Stats Pack Guide, you’ll find it pretty useful to pick some value selections, just like I’ve done at the end.
Erik Ten Hag has issues at centre back where both Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane are doubtful after their extensive World Cup run. Harry Maguire missed the EFL match vs Burnley last week due to illness but should return here. Casemiro filled in defensively for that fixture but should return to his normal midfield role in this encounter.
Nottingham Forest have lined up in several different formations this season, but manager Steve Cooper seems to be settled on a 4-3-3 system right now. They won their most recent Premier League match 1-0 vs Crystal Palace using this formation and also adopted it in their EFL Cup win over Blackburn (4-1) last week.
Both Serge Aurier and Morgan Gibbs-White missed that match due to injury but Cooper said he is ‘hopeful’ both will start vs Man United.
Man United average both 1.43 goals for and against per 90 mins. They have been slightly overachieving their xG and xGA metrics at both ends of the field. United average 13.70 shots per game but also concede a high number of shots, 12.60 in each game although only a third of those have been on target. Erik ten Haag’s men have conceded more corners on average (5.36) than they have obtained (4.00) and have been a poorly disciplined team compared to their opponents. United average 2.64 cards per match as opposed to 1.21 against.
Nottingham Forest have scored an average of 0.73 goals per match and conceded exactly 2.00. This correlates very closely to their xG and xGA metrics which shows they are legitimately performing quite poorly. Central to their poor defensive record has been their average shots conceded of 14.93 per 90 mins. Offensively, they have been disappointing, hitting the target just 2.80 times per match on average. Forest have conceded a lot of corners. On average their opponents pick up 2.40 in each match. Their disciplinary record has been mixed with 2.40 cards for and 1.80 cards against per 90 mins.
Player shots and shots on target
Brazilian bag of tricks winger Antony averages the most shots per 90 mins for Man United with 3.67, converting roughly half of those on target. Marcus Rashford only averages 2.56 shots per 90 mins with 1.04 on target. The most accurate of Man United’s shooters is Anthony Martial who converts his 1.82 shots into 1.36 SOT. Meanwhile, Bruno Fernandes averages exactly two shots per 90 mins but at a poorer accuracy rate of just 0.69.
Striker Taiwo Awoniyi averages the most shots for Nottingham Forest per 90 mins firing 2.64. He has converted that into 1.05 SOT, so hasn’t been particularly accurate. Lack of accuracy is a theme for this whole team because nobody else averages more than 0.64 SOT per 90 mins. Emmanuel Dennis and Morgan Gibbs-White both average roughly two shots per 90 mins but neither are very accurate. Brenan Johnson is probably the most reliable Forest shooter but he only fires 1.29 shots per match. His accuracy ratio is close to 50% though.
Player goals and assists
Marcus Rashford has scored four goals for Man United and also weighed in with a couple of assists. Antony has scored three times from just six appearances whilst Anthony Martial has two goals and two assists from just five starts. The leading assist provider for the Red Devils with four is Danish talisman Christian Eriksen.
Only three Forest players have scored more than one goal each. Taiwo Awoniyi leads their charts by netting three times, whilst Morgan Gibbs-White and Brenan Johnson have scored twice each. Gibbs-White has three assists and leads Forest in this category. Emmanuel Dennis has one assist for Steve Cooper’s men.
United are often a mixed bag in terms of possession and it shows with these statistics. Only one player (Luke Shaw) averages over 65 passes per 90 mins. He is the clear stand out with 73.7 but he usually gets taken off around the 80 minute mark. The duo of Eriksen and Casemiro both average around the 60 mark for passes per 90 mins but this isn’t a market where United have any real standouts.
Forest have only averaged 40% possession, so it is no surprise to see low passing numbers for their squad. Only Worral has averaged more than 50 passes per 90 mins (54.9). Fullbacks Serge Aurier and Neco Williams are next on the list averaging 47.5 and 45.8 passes per 90 mins respectively.
Man Utd Cards
There are some serial offenders within this United squad. McTominay, Fernandes & Dalot have all obtained five cards from roughly a dozen starts, whilst both Luke Shaw and Lisandro Martinez have three each. Scott McTominay is by far the dirtiest player, averaging 2.54 fouls per 90 mins. Luke Shaw averages 1.61 fouls per game whilst Bruno Fernandes averages 1.46 for this category.
Emmanuel Dennis is the standout Forest player to attract fouls and therefore potentially cards. He is fouled on average 3.95 times per 90 mins, and it is no surprise to also see him the top dribbler in the team. He operates on either wing but is not expected to start, so perhaps Morgan Gibbs-White against Luke Shaw is a matchup to consider instead. Midfielder Ryan Yates is certainly not known for his dribbling but is fouled on average 2.43 times per 90 mins. He will relish a battle with Bruno, whilst the more attack minded Lewis O’Brien will no doubt lock horns with McTominay.
Matchups to watch:
Scott McTominay vs Lewis O’Brien
Bruno Fernandes vs Ryan Yates
Luke Shaw vs Morgan Gibbs-White/ Emmanuel Dennis
Nottingham Forest Cards
A trio of Forest players, Worral, McKenna and Cook all have four cards each. Midfielder Ryan Yates has three cards and fouls the most out of anyone at 2.43 per 90 mins. Right back Neco Williams is another who tends to foul quite a lot (1.58) and he has obtained three cards this season.
Anthony Elanga is the most fouled Man Utd player and also has the most dribbled per 90 mins. He is one to watch if and when he comes off the bench. Obvious contenders to be fouled are Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Brazilian winger Antony. The latter two both average exactly 2.73 dribbles per 90 mins and tend to be quite elusive. Antony himself can sometimes try tricks and showboat which could wind the opposition up.
Matchups to watch:
Ryan Yates vs Bruno Fernandes
Scott McKenna vs Anthony Martial
Neco Williams vs Antony
My Picks of the Stats Pack
Struggling to decipher the stats pack? Here’s just an example of some of the picks that stood out for me in the numbers. You can add them to your own bet builder, or combine them – it’d come in at 36/1.
Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest
Anthony Martial has 2 goals and 2 assists in 5 appearances.
He averages 1.36 shots on target p/90 from just 1.82 shots.
Antony averages 1.65 shots on target p/90.
United average 5.00 shots on target p/90.
Scott McTominay has 5 cards in 12 appearances.
He makes 2.54 fouls p/90.
He is up against Lewis O’Brien who is fouled 2.07 times p/90 and makes 2.41 dribbles p/90.
Referee Simon Hooper averages 3.31 cards per game.
Ryan Yates makes 2.43 fouls p/90.
Up against Bruno Fernandes and Antony Martial who are fouled 1.46 and 1.36 times p/90 respectively.