The earlier of the two Sunday afternoon Premier League kick offs sees Nottingham Forest host Everton in a game that has huge implications at the bottom of the table. Forest looked to be finding their feet under Steve Cooper post World Cup, but persistent injuries have seen them win just 1 of their last 5 league games. Everton meanwhile, have scored just 2 goals in 5 under Sean Dyche, with a 4-0 loss to Arsenal in midweek leaving them languishing down in 18th. A win here would see them climb out of the drop zone, but such a feat is easier said than done at the City ground.
It’s been a wishy washy season for both teams, and the stats below show that. I’ve crunched the data for xG, goals, shots, corners, passes, fouls, and cards to assist you in picking a quality bet builder. To get the best use of all the numbers, utilise my Stats Pack Guide alongside the pack below for the best chance of a winner.
Forest have largely struggled in a number of departments this campaign, and the numbers really do tell the story. They’re the second worst team in the division when it comes to both chance creation and chance limitation. Their xG and xGA P/90 of 0.98 and 1.80 respectively can only be eclipsed by fellow Premier League newcomers Bournemouth.
Elsewhere, it’s been more of the same, with Forest’s opponents bettering them when it comes to goals, shots, shots on target, and corners. A card average of 2.08 per game shows there’s a bit of bite there, but even this average has slowly dropped over recent weeks, with Forest now ranking 10th for yellow cards in the league.
No side boasts a worse attack in the Premier League than Everton, and their 0.68 goals per game (17 in total) is a bitter pill to swallow given their sale of last season’s top scorer Richarlison in the summer. Their defence has kept them afloat, with 7 teams having conceded more goals than the Toffees.
Much like Forest, Everton are certainly decent for a card (2.20 per game), but outside of that there’s little to sing about here. Again, much like Forest, Everton’s opponents have bettered them when it comes to shots, shots on target and corners.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
It’s a sorry state of affairs when it comes to Forest’s shooting stats. Not a single available player averages a minimum of 1.00 shots on target P/90, with Welshman Brennan Johnson with 0.73.
If given minutes, then Brazilian Gustavo Scarpa has a wand of a left foot that he’s often willing to unleash (3.38 shots P/90), whilst Morgan Gibbs-White may well prove the best bet for shots on a consistent basis, with 2.07 P/90.
At the very least, Everton can boast a player who averages over a shot on target P/90, although Frenchman Neal Maupay is yet to register a single goal with any of his 1.04 shots on target P/90.
Below that, Everton’s stats are perhaps even more worrying that Forest’s here, with 3 names amongst their top 6 failing to register any more than 0.28 shots on target P/90. Gray may be one to watch if he gets onto the pitch at 1.99 shots P/90, but his minutes are likely to be limited.
Player Goals and Assists
Forest’s top scorer Brennan Johnson has netted on just 5 occasions this season, with 3 of his goals and both of his assists coming after the World Cup hiatus. Gibbs-White’s is the key creative spark in this side, so expect a lot of play to go through him in forward areas.
The stats make for fairly grim reading for Steve Cooper and his men, with not one available player outside the aforementioned pair managing more than 1 goal. Chris Wood does have 1 in just 5 appearances however, and will likely lead the line come Sunday.
Little to ride home about here for Everton. Joint top scorer Anthony Gordon was sold to Newcastle in January, and with the signing of Arnaud Danjuma falling through, Dyche has been left with limited options in forward areas.
Current top scorer Demarai Gray is expected to continue on the bench, meaning that the likes of Iwobi and McNeil (a combined 3 goals and 8 assists) will be looked towards for the goods here.
An average of 40% possession is always going to limit chances to rack up the passes, but a home game against a struggling side who average just 46% possession themselves may see opportunities for Forest to string some passes together on Sunday.
Centre back pairing Worrall and Felipe (48.8 and 45.2 passes P/90) are perhaps the best candidates here. With little competition for a place in the side, they’re likely to play the full 90, giving them a greater chance of hitting those relevant passing thresholds.
Everton have had similar struggles to Forest when it comes to maintaining the ball, and their 46% average possession could again limit the touches that their players have. Away from home facing a hostile atmosphere, the Toffees will have little time on the ball here.
You’re looking towards the centre backs again for the best picks here, and with Coady’s availability under question, Tarkowski’s 47.6 passes P/90 make him the stand-out pick in an Everton shirt.
Nottingham Forest Cards
Ryan Yates’ 2.39 fouls P/90 is the immediate sticking point, a physical presence that can often be too physical, the Forest man will be one to watch if he can overcome his illness to cement a starting berth.
Fellow midfielder Remo Freuler may have to take up the mantle of ‘midfield enforcer’ in his absence and an average of 1.10 fouls P/90 suggests he may be a value pick in this one. Worrall and Williams (1.26 and 1.54 fouls P/90 respectively) are two of the usual suspects in this department, and are worth a watch again in this one.
Everton’s side is chock full of energetic and dynamic runners, and the athleticism of midfield duo Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana (2.11 and 1.94 fouls drawn P/90) could be what swings this game in a particular direction.
Demarai Gray represents a genuine threat with his 3.16 dribbles P/90, but in his likely absence, Dwight McNeil’s 4.12 dribbles P/90 will be what Neco Williams is faced with.
Matchups to watch:
Neco Williams vs Dwight McNeil
Remo Freuler vs Idrissa Gueye/Amadou Onana
Joe Worrall vs Neal Maupay
It really is the midfield battle that really fascinates in this fixture. Onana, Gueye, and Doucoure have combined for 14 cards between them this season, and the Belgian in particular has struggled when it comes to his disciplinary record (1.69 fouls P/90).
Elsewhere, Tarkowski’s rash defending (1.08 fouls P/90) has seen him booked on 5 occasions this season, whilst forward Neal Maupay is liable to kick out if frustrated (1.04 fouls P/90).
Such was the case when it came to fouls, Ryan Yates is the stand-out amongst the regular starters when it comes to fouls drawn with 2.71 P/90. If given game time, his matchup with Onana and Gueye will certainly be worth a watch. Belgian Midfielder Orel Mangala is another one to watch here
Chris Wood’s 0.91 fouls drawn P/90 matches up particularly nicely against Tarkowski, and the New Zealand man will relish the physical battle.
Matchups to watch:
Amadou Onana and Idrissa Gueye vs Orel Mangala
James Tarkowski vs Chris Wood
Neal Maupay vs Felipe
My Bet Builder Picks of the Pack
Perhaps a pretty low-key affair to some, but there’s still plenty of value to be had here, and you can check out my bet builder picks below at 4/1.
Nottingham Forest vs Everton
Everton average 4.64 corners for P/90.
Nottingham Forest concede 6.54 corners P/90.
Given that Forest only average 40% possession, Everton may well have more chances to rack up the corner count here.
Forest average 2.08 cards P/90, and 1.63 against (3.72 match cards)
Everton average 2.20 cards P/90, and 2.00 against (2.00 match cards).
The midfield battle is the interesting area here, with the likes of Freuler, Yates, Mangala, Colback, Onana, and Gueye all averaging a minimum of 1.10 fouls P/90.
There were 5 card shown in the reverse fixture back in August.
Remo Freuler averages 1.10 fouls P/90, and 1.87 tackles P/90.
His likely opponents, Onana and Gueye, draw 1.84 and 2.11 fouls respectively (1.99/1.11 dribbles P/90). Both are all action midfielders that will run and hassle for 90 minutes.
If Yates doesn’t start, and Shelvey is sat at the base of the midfield, then Freuler will likely find himself doing more leg work than usual. Keeping up with the energetic Everton midfield will be tough.
Onana averages 1.69 fouls P/90, and 2.74 tackles P.90
The Belgian can’t help but get himself stuck in, hardly surprising given the physical specimen that he is.
Forest have a number of clever midfielders capable of forcing a foul. Mangala, Yates and Colback (1.52, 2.71, and 1.46 fouls drawn P/90) come to mind. Jumping into tackles against players putting up these numbers would be a mistake.
Onana was booked in the last meeting between these two, having only played 35 minutes.