Nottingham Forest travel to RG2 this weekend without a manager after Aitor Karanka’s shock resignation on Friday morning. José Gomes’ Reading side will be hoping to capitalise on this situation and build on a positive performance at Old Trafford last weekend. One of Forest’s main strengths is creating long shot opportunities; which they could have a lot of if Reading don’t put the pressure on them when they have possession around the Royals’ penalty area.
Former Reading loanee Lewis Grabban has been on great form so far this season, netting 14 goals in the league this campaign. If the striker is fit enough to make his comeback from injury against the Royals, he could cause Gomes’ side serious issues with his finishing ability. Nottingham Forest like to attack very wide and use the flanks, with only 22% of their attacks coming through the middle of the pitch. This will mean that the Royals full-backs will be in for a busy afternoon on Saturday - 41% of their play has come down the left-hand side and 37% has come down the right.
One of Forest’s main weaknesses is avoiding giving away fouls in dangerous areas. The Royals should take a lot of confidence from this as they have a lot of players who have the ability to take players on (even though they don’t always show it). Players like Mo Barrow and Callum Harriott are just two examples of the players who can beat their man and potentially win free kicks in dangerous positions. Forest are also very weak at defending set-pieces, conceding 11 goals from dead ball situations so far this season and the Royals may need to exploit this if they wish to get anything from the game.
Time for my prediction. I am feeling positive ahead of this game and I am going to go with 2-1 Reading. I think the Royals can capitalise on a bit of chaos at Forest and walk away with a surprising result. A win this weekend could potentially be the turning point for José Gomes’ side and we could start to see an upturn in form (finally). Plus, a win may potentially improve the atmosphere around the Mad Stad. Let’s all hope for a positive outcome on Saturday that will, hopefully, begin to turn our fortunes around.