A huge game for two sides with differing ambitions at this late stage of the Premier League season. Nottingham Forest will be looking to home comforts as their best opportunity of survival, victory here guaranteed to take them outside of the bottom three. Brighton & Hove Albion have European ambitions and having been knocked out of the FA Cup on penalties at the weekend, they will be keen to get straight back on the winning trail.
So delve into the stats pack below if you’re eager to pick a bet builder with the research and data you need to back it. My Stats Pack Guide should help you out in using the stats for goals, shots, corners, passes, cards, and fouls in your bet builders.
Nottingham Forest made the surprising decision to leave Brennan Johnson on the bench for their trip to Anfield but it’s likely the 21-year-old top goalscorer returns here with a member of their midfield dropping out. Scottish international Scott McKenna lasted just 30 minutes on Saturday and should be replaced by captain Joe Worrall.
It said plenty about the depth of Brighton’s squad at present that they made just two subs in their semi-final loss at Wembley in 120 minutes of football, Joel Veltman returning after injury and Deniz Undav replacing Danny Welbeck, who was forced off with injury. It means they are likely to line up with a very similar XI, the main debate around whether Veltman replaces Julio Enciso in the XI.
Nottingham Forest are having issues at both ends of the pitch, underachieving in relation to their xG for and against, conceding over a goal per game more than they score. No side in the division has fewer shots on target and only three have a worse xG for.
Forest’s difficulties at both ends are also shown in the number of corners for (joint fewest in the league) and corners against (second highest). Only Fulham pick receive more cards per game played.
Brighton are at the other end of the scale, rightfully in the hunt for a European spot given they rank third in the division for xG for and against. Impressively, they are matching their xG for numbers but haven’t quite managed to shut out the opposition as much as they should. No side in the league has as many shots on target as the Seagulls per 90 minutes.
Their attacking prowess is also visible in the number of corners they have during 90 minutes while only Manchester City concede fewer. They also draw more opposition cards than any other side in the division – 2.31 per game.
Player Goals and Assists
Goalscoring has been an issue for Nottingham Forest since promotion so Steve Cooper is thankful to young pairing Brennan Johnson and Morgan Gibbs-White, the only two players in the squad to attain more than four goal contributions. Johnson has eight goals to his name while Gibbs-White’s six assists mean he has nine contributions in total.
Brighton have found consistent goalscorers hard to come with Evan Ferguson only just breaking through, Danny Welbeck fitness being managed and Leandro Trossard departing in January. Thankfully, they have midfielders capable of finding the net with Alexis Mac Allister, Solly March, Kaoru Mitoma and Pascal Gross chipping in with a combined 28 goals and 18 assists in the Premier League.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Brennan Johnson may be Forest’s top goalscorer but Morgan Gibbs-White and Taiwo Awoniyi are the two having most shots, averaging more efforts at goal per 90 minutes played. What they lack is Johnson’s accuracy. The Welshman had gone three games without a shot before two in a 15-minute cameo at the weekend, perhaps evidence to support Cooper taking him out of the firing line. In his absence, Gibbs-White had three efforts on target.
Julio Enciso has made quite an impact in his minutes, averaging 6.65 shots per 90 and 4.2 on target. That continued at the weekend where he had three shots in 67 minutes against Manchester United with one of those on target. The Paraguayan livewire will be ably supported by Solly March, Alexis Mac Allister and Kauro Mitoma but none have proven quite as accurate.
Nottingham Forest are going to be on the back foot here so passing numbers are unlikely to wield much success with the markets – Steve Cooper’s side have not had more of the ball in a league game since the 2-2 draw with Everton and they had just 30% of play during their tussle with Brighton in mid-October.
Brighton are one of the Premier League’s possession kings and that has only improved under Roberto De Zerbi, the Italian’s side averaging 64% of the ball since the World Cup break. Most of their play starts with English centre-backs Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster, who average 82.5 and 73.3 passes per 90 minutes played.
Nottingham Forest Cards and Fouls
Nottingham Forest clearly aren’t afraid to take a yellow card, particularly their key British contingent of Neco Williams, Brennan Johnson and Joe Worrall. Yellows will be a bet to keep an eye on this weekend given Brighton draw as many as anybody in the league and Forest have received two or more in six of their last eight league games.
Central areas are where Brighton tend to draw most of their fouls with Alexis Mac Allister, Moises Caicedo and Julio Enciso matching South American flair with a good reading of the game and willingness to take the knocks. Solly March is also unafraid of a kick or two, committing to nearly 3.5 dribbles per 90 and being fouled 1.36 times per 90.
Matchups to watch:
Remi Freuler v Julio Enciso
Morgan Gibbs-White v Moises Caicedo
Renan Lodi v Solly March
Brighton & Hove Albion Cards and Fouls
With South American flair also comes grit and dark arts and Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo are as willing to take the hits as they are to dish them out, receiving a combined 15 cards. Pervis Estupinan and Solly March are also unafraid of a challenge – the former has committed a foul in seven of his last eight league appearances.
Another South American that loves getting involved in the action is Renan Lodi, the Brazilian committing to as many dribbles as he receives free-kicks. Forest are a team full of players that like to step forward and take on their opposition so there will be action points all over the pitch as Brighton look to halt them. Neco Williams is clearly getting better at earning his side free-kicks on the other flank – he has been fouled in each of his five league starts since the international break.
Matchups to watch:
Moises Caicedo v Morgan Gibbs-White
Solly March v Renan Lodi
Pervis Estupinan v Neco Williams
My Bet Builder Picks of the Pack
Both Forest and Brighton have given some of the most entertaining games in the league this season, and that’s only a good thing for a bet builder. I’ve gone and put my stand out picks from the stats below.
Nottingham Forest vs Brighton
• Brighton averaging 6.41 corners for
• Nottingham Forest averaging 6.31 corners against
• Nottingham Forest average 2.28 cards for
• Brighton and Hove Albion average 2.34 cards drawn
• Referee Jarred Gillett averages 3.16 cards per game
• Awoniyi averaging 2.38 shots per 90
• Awoniyi had 2 or more shots in last 4 league starts and 8 of 11 in total
• Awoniyi had 2 or more shots in every home league start
• Gibbs-White commits 1.03 fouls per 90
• Gibbs-White committed a foul in 6 of last 7 league starts
• Mac Allister fouled 1.64 times per 90
• Caicedo fouled 1.51 times per 90