The battle for Premier League survival is about to reach its climax and Nottingham Forest’s skirmish with Southampton at The City Ground this evening is the very definition of a relegation-six-pointer.
Steve Cooper’s Forest are being held in the drop zone by their poor goal difference, though Southampton’s plight is considerably stickier and a defeat in Nottingham today could leave the Saints nine points adrift of safety with just three games left to contest and all but doomed.
Below, I’ve assembled a stats pack for this evening’s crucial contest which should arm you with enough knowledge to pack your bet builder with smarter selections. If you need some extra guidance, check out my Stats Pack Guide here.
Keep reading to consume today’s bet builder tips and remember – if you haven’t signed up with Betfair yet, you can claim a tasty £30 in free bets when you open an account today.
Nottingham Forest vs Southampton confirmed Lineups
Cooper sweating on Johnson’s availability
Nottingham Forest still have a colossal injury list at present with Neco Williams, Chris Wood, Willy Boly, Dean Henderson, Scott McKenna and Jack Colback all sidelined. Jonjo Shelvey is still in the bad books and won’t feature, though Steve Cooper will give key attacker Brennan Johnson every possible minute to prove his fitness. Livewire Brazilian midfielder Danilo is also considered a doubt.
Che Adams to be left on the bench again?
Juan Larios, Mohammed Salisu, Romain Perraud and Tino Livramento are in the treatment room for Southampton, while Head Coach Rubén Sellés has a selection dilemma or two to conquer in attack. Che Adams has been used as an impact sub of late, and Kamaldeen Sulemana and Carlos Alcaraz could be favoured ahead of the Scottish international in the final third again today.
Nottingham Forest vs Southampton Team Stats
Card happy Forest to collect more cautions?
Nottingham Forest’s performances have been competitive for most of the campaign, though goal-scoring has been a major issue for Steve Cooper’s outfit and only two clubs have been notching less often per 90 (0.88). Forest also rank fourth last in the Premier League for xG per 90 (1.04) which suggests chance creation is just as big an issue.
Forest have been playing with plenty of aggression this term, as evidenced by their 2.26 cards per 90 – a haul that makes them the league’s joint-third dirtiest side. The Reds look like good value at 4/9 to collect over 1.5 cards again today.
Saints blunt in the final third
From a defensive standpoint, Southampton have been relatively robust for a team sitting bottom of the Premier League and the Saints rank 12th for shots conceded, 14th for xG against and as high as fifth for shots on target against per 90, however, their poor output at the opposite end has undone all of their good work at the back.
Only Everton have a worse goal haul overall, while Southampton’s xG per 90 (0.94) is officially the Premier League’s lowest. The Saints have failed to score 14 times in the top tier and they drew one of those blanks when they lost 1-0 to Forest in January. Under 2.5 goals is available to add to your Nottingham Forest vs Southampton bet builder at 3/4 today
Nottingham Forest vs Southampton Shots and Shots on Target Stats
Awoniyi a strong option for the hosts
Taiwo Awoniyi and Brennan Johnson have been Forest’s most threatening pair this season, though the former played with more thrust when the Reds beat Southampton just after the turn of the year, finding the target with one of his two strikes at St. Mary’s Stadium. The Saints found the 25-year-old’s physicality tough to handle and Awoniyi is a Nottingham Forest bet builder option to consider in the 1+ shots on target market again at 4/11.
If the Welsh international makes the cut, Brennan Johnson would be a useful addition to your coupon at 4/7 in the same market, though Morgan Gibbs-White also grabbed my attention as a potential docket padder at 2/7 in the 2+ shots realm. The schemer has clocked at least two efforts in two of his last three starts.
Alcaraz has the tools to threaten
Carlos Alcaraz was a bit underserviced in Southampton’s last two games, however, the talented Argentinean attacker did lodge two attempts on target in successive appearances before that and the 20-year-old is excellent value at 5/6 in the 1+ shots on target stakes this evening.
Beyond Alcaraz, Saints’ players have been poor performers in terms of accuracy, though Kamaldeen Sulemana has been averaging nearly two shots per 90 and the Ghanaian is rarely shy about letting fly if he gets a sight of goal. That in turn makes him an intriguing prospect at 4/11 in the 2+ shots domain.
Nottingham Forest vs Southampton Player Goals and Assists Stats
Gibbs-White in good goal-scoring form
Brennan Johnson made and Taiwo Awoniyi scored the goal that allowed Forest to beat Southampton 1-0 at St. Mary’s Stadium in January, and Reds boss Steve Cooper will hope to be able to field those two in tandem in today’s rematch. Johnson ranks joint-first with Morgan Gibbs-White for total goal contributions this season (ten each) and the Welsh winger is 6/5 to either score or assist again this evening.
With two goals and an assist in his last three starts, Gibbs-White takes good form into this evening’s crucial encounter and the 23-year-old is 7/5 in the same market as Johnson.
Talismanic Ward-Prowse a potential game-changer
Of the nine goals Saints’ managed to notch in their last ten fixtures, Carlos Alcaraz and Theo Walcott were the only players to chip in with two efforts each and with veteran flanksman Walcott expected to be named on the bench today, Alcaraz could be the best candidate for your Southampton bet builder to score anytime at 7/2.
The talismanic James Ward-Prowse is still the club’s leading marksman despite netting just once in his last 11 league appearances, though the 28-year-old seems to have heightened talismanic powers when Southampton need him most, and the midfielder could be worth a look at 9/5 to either score or assist later on.
Nottingham Forest vs Southampton Player Passing Stats
Aurier the best of a modest bunch?
Nottingham Forest are propping up the rest in the Premier League in terms of average possession posted per game, though the Reds need just 37.5% of the ball to beat Southampton 1-0 in January. Joe Worrall and Serge Aurier were among Forest’s most-potent passers against the Saints that day, despite clocking a modest 25 and 36 passes respectively.
Aurier is much-better value at 3/10 to beat a 30-passes target in today’s do-over however, with Worrall as short as 1/40 in the same bracket.
Ward-Prowse to dictate the tempo again
James Ward-Prowse has been pulling the strings for Southampton this season, hitting an average of 50 passes per 90 from deep, though the midfielder managed to ping 62 passes around when the Saints were beaten by Forest in January. Ward-Prowse looks like a palatable choice for your Nottingham Forest vs Southampton bet builder at 4/9 to hit 50 or more passes again today.
Croatian defender Duje Ćaleta-Car has been driving the ball forward from the back since his return to the Saints’ XI and the 26-year-old has played 60 or more passes in two of his last three starts. Ćaleta-Car can be added to your bet builder at 4/7 from the same 50+ passes market.
Nottingham Forest Cards and Fouls Stats
Kouyaté a reliable performer in the fouls market
Brazilian defender Renan Lodi (1.04 fouls per 90) and his no-nonsense compatriot Felipe (0.85) both have a cynical streak and their love for a robust challenge should mean they are right in the thick of the action again today. Lodi is 2/9 to commit 1+ fouls today, though Felipe is even-better value for your Nottingham Forest bet builder at 4/9 in the same realm.
In midfield, Cheikhou Kouyaté has been a potent foul-merchant, committing a bone-crunching 2.31 of them per 90 during his maiden campaign with the Reds. The 33-year-old is priced at 5/6 to sin at least twice against the Saints.
Lavia to be targeted again?
Rampaging forward runs are a big part of marauding wing-back Kyle Walker-Peters’s game and the 26-year-old’s surges should be tracked by the aggressive Renan Lodi today. Carlos Alcaraz’s (fouled 1.62 times per/90) tussles with Felipe should have plenty of South American spice and fouls and cards look like possible by-products from that head-to-head.
The highly-regarded Romeo Lavia meanwhile, who has been fouled 2.04 times per 90, should have Cheikhou Kouyaté on his case from the first whistle as the pair battle it out for dominion over midfield.
Match-Ups to watch
Renan Lodi vs Kyle Walker-Peters
Felipe vs Carlos Alcaraz
Cheikhou Kouyaté vs Romeo Lavia
Southampton Cards and Fouls Stats
Midfield to see plenty of action
With Southampton’s need for points dire, there should be real intensity to their tackles today and hard-hitting midfield duo, Romeo Lavia and James Ward-Prowse, should rack up the challenges – and possibly the fouls – in central areas. That pair has amassed 13 cautions between them this term, and both players are of interest in the card and 2+ fouls markets today.
Further forward, Stuart Armstrong is a keen presser, though the timing of his tackles isn’t always sharp. The bristly 31-year-old looks bet builder worthy at 2/7 to commit 1+ fouls later on.
Kouyaté and Mangala in for a bruising evening
I’ve already singled out Cheikhou Kouyaté’s (fouled 0.99 times p/90) duel with Romeo Lavia as a potentially explosive midfield skirmish and I expect to see fouls committed in both directions there. Orel Mangala (1.19) should also feel the full force of James Ward-Prowse’s enthusiasm nearby with the Southampton skipper aiming to lead by example.
When in possession, Renan Lodi should be pressed with gusto by the hard-working Stuart Armstrong at The City Ground, so expect some altercations between that pair on Forest’s left flank.
Match-Ups to watch
Romeo Lavia vs Cheikhou Kouyaté
James Ward-Prowse vs Orel Mangala
Stuart Armstrong vs Renan Lodi
Nottingham Forest vs Southampton Bet Builder Tips and Picks of the Pack
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Nottingham Forest vs Southampton
Johnson averages 0.79 shots on target p/90.
He’s Forest’s top goalscorer with 8 goals.
Southampton concede 3.68 shots on target p/90.
Johnson is also Forest’s top card receiver with 6 so far.
He commits 1.15 fouls p/90.
Kyle Walker-Peters and Armel Bella-Kotchap are likely to play on the left side of the back 4, drawing 1.38 and 1.61 fouls p/90 respectively.
Carlos Alcaraz is by far and away Southampton’s most prolific shot-taker.
He averages exactly 1.00 shots on target p/90.
Forest concede 4.65 shots on target per game.
Alcaraz has committed 10 fouls in his last 10 appearances, and has committed at least one foul in 5 of his last 6.
He commits 1.50 fouls p/90.
Orel Mangala and Cheikhou Kouyate draw 1.19 and 0.99 fouls p/90 respectively.