Preview: Arsenal vs. Nottingham Forest 

Second meets bottom in Sunday afternoon’s Premier League showdown at the Emirates Stadium, as Arsenal tackle Nottingham Forest aiming to avoid a third successive game without a win.

The Gunners went down 2-0 to PSV Eindhoven in the Europa League on Thursday, while Steve Cooper’s men bested Liverpool 1-0 last weekend.

While taking nothing away from PSV Eindhoven’s stellar performance at the Philips Stadion – Cody Gakpo and Xavi Simons in particular terrorised the Arsenal backline – it is fair to say that the result had been coming for Mikel Arteta’s side.

As impressive as their winning streak had been, the Gunners had failed to convince against Bodo/Glimt, Leeds United or PSV in the previous week, and strikes from Luuk de Jong and Joey Veerman means that Arteta’s men have it all to do against FC Zurich next week to seal a last-16 spot.

Having exploded out of the blocks against Southampton last week, the Gunners were also pegged back by Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side – one of a string of less-than-dominant performances that have led to a touch of apprehension creeping in – and Arsenal have been knocked down to second in the table after Manchester City beat Leicester City on Saturday.

Losing their grip on top spot is all the motivation that Arsenal need to rediscover their form from the early stages of the campaign, and a return to home comforts is just what the doctor ordered for an Arsenal side that are in evident need of a pick-me-up.

Indeed, the Gunners head into Sunday’s game on a 10-game winning streak at the Emirates in all competitions – including each of their last eight in the Premier League – but they have failed to keep a single top-flight clean sheet in that run, and Forest know a thing or two about stunning the big boys.

Not since Newcastle United in November 2010 has a newly-promoted side come away from a Premier League clash at the Emirates with all three points to their name, but Nottingham Forest and their newfound defensive resilience should fear no team after putting Liverpool to the sword.

Former Reds striker Taiwo Awoniyi reacted quickest to a loose ball to fire home in the 55th minute, and it took more brilliant goalkeeping from Dean Henderson to keep Liverpool at bay in the dying embers – there would be no second Premier League goal for Alisson Becker despite his best efforts.

Having also managed to hold Brighton & Hove Albion to a goalless draw on the South coast, the Tricky Trees are indeed proving a tricky team to break down at present, but their position in the table is still a precarious one as they occupy 20th place – two points adrift of safety.

Conceding just two goals in their last four games means that Forest’s stern defence should prove a true test of Arsenal’s attacking mettle, but Cooper’s side have picked up just two wins on the road this term and have failed to score in each of their last four away matches ahead of the club’s first-ever league visit to the Emirates Stadium.

However, Cooper and co will have fond memories of their FA Cup third-round win over Arsenal back in January, but not since the Brian Clough days of 1989 have they won a league match at the home of the Gunners, who would do well to rediscover their golden touch and quell any murmurs of discontent.

Arsenal Premier League form:
Arsenal form (all competitions):
Nottingham Forest Premier League form:

We say: Arsenal 2-0 Nottingham Forest
Arsenal facing newly-promoted teams at the Emirates usually only ever ends one way, but the fatigued Gunners can take nothing for granted versus a Forest side who are growing in confidence by the week, especially with Arteta’s side consistently failing to keep the opposition at bay at home.

However, Cooper is yet to find an answer to his side’s profligacy on the road, and a return to familiar turf should be the formula for a welcome three points for Arsenal here.

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