Nottingham Forest vs Sheffield United Predictions

Nottingham Forest vs Sheffield United predictions ahead of this Friday night Premier League clash. Both of these sides are looking to bounce back and secure their first points after suffering defeat on their seasonal debut. Read on for our match preview and free betting tips.

Nottingham Forest
Match Live Friday, 18th August at 7:45 pm In:

Nottingham Forest vs Sheffield United Predictions

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Odds corrects at time of posting and subject to change

A Test of Mettle at City Ground

Key Stats
– Nottingham Forest accumulated a whopping 79% of their last season’s Premier League points at home.
– Sheffield United managed only 32% possession and a single attempt on target in their previous game.
– Taiwo Awoniyi has been involved in Forest’s last three goals across all competitions.

After stumbling in their respective Premier League openers, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United are set to collide at the historic City Ground this Friday. Both teams will be desperate to secure a win and make a statement.

1. Nottingham Forest’s Resilience

The ghosts of last season’s 5-0 thrashing by Arsenal at the Emirates still haunted Steve Cooper’s men when they found themselves 2-0 down in just 32 minutes last weekend. However, unlike last season, Forest showcased grit and resilience. Even with a paltry 21% ball possession, the side managed to stifle Arsenal’s potent offence for the remainder of the game. Taiwo Awoniyi’s remarkable strike, assisted by Anthony Elanga, was a testament to their never-say-die attitude.

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The City Ground has been a fortress for Forest, who lost a mere five of their 19 home league games in the 2022-23 season. Astonishingly, they gathered 30 of their 38 Premier League points at home, with impressive victories against giants like Arsenal and Liverpool and commendable draws against Manchester City and Chelsea. Such stats make them favourites against a newly-promoted Sheffield United.

Cooper has been keen to bolster his team before the transfer window shuts. New additions like goalkeeper Matt Turner and right-back Ola Aina, along with Elanga, have injected fresh energy into the squad.

2. Sheffield’s Struggles and the Need for Reinforcements

Contrastingly, Sheffield United’s Premier League journey has already hit a roadblock. Their 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace could have been far worse, considering they held only 32% possession and allowed 24 attempts on goal, with Odsonne Edouard puncturing their defence.

Their return to the Premier League required squad strengthening. Yet, Sheffield saw the exits of Iliman Ndiaye – their standout performer with 15 goals and 12 assists last term – and the influential Sander Berge. While they’ve added players like Gustavo Hamer and Yasser Larouci for depth, there’s a palpable need for more quality additions to avoid relegation battles.

3. Player Watch and Tactical Insight

Nottingham Forest’s Awoniyi, fresh from his Arsenal goal, is expected to spearhead the attack. Cooper’s tactical reshuffle might also see a switch to a back four, allowing creative outlets like Brennan Johnson and Morgan Gibbs-White to flourish.

Sheffield, on the other hand, are grappling with injuries, which further highlights their need for squad depth. Heckingbottom’s reliance on young guns like William Osula and Benie Traore, coupled with experienced campaigners like Chris Basham and Oliver Norwood, will be crucial. Ex-Forest players – Jack Robinson, Max Lowe, and Ben Osborn – could also play pivotal roles.

Technical Analysis:

Delving into the intricate dynamics of the upcoming clash between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United, we find a tale of two teams who exhibit distinct footballing identities, which are mirrored in their recent results and individual performances. The intrigue intensifies when examining their strategies, management impact, and the statistical footprint of their top players.

Nottingham Forest’s Discernible Offensive Surge

Under Steve Cooper, Nottingham Forest have been diligent in their approach, yet they’ve displayed resilience when transitioning from defence to attack. The prime example lies in the commendable performance against Arsenal, where they held a mere 22% ball possession but still managed to conjure three counter-attacks. This suggests a strategy that leans towards absorbing pressure and launching swift counter-offensives, utilising the speed and dexterity of their forwards, particularly Taiwo Awoniyi. Awoniyi’s ability to strike opportunistically has been underscored by him scoring in each of his last five Premier League appearances.

Defensively, Forest show reliance on physicality and aerial prowess, evidenced by winning 62.5% of their aerial duels. The likes of Willy Boly and Joe Worrall bolster the backline, exemplified in their average BettingTips4You ratings. Yet, an evident weakness is the 106 times they lose possession per game, an alarming statistic that Sheffield might look to exploit.

Sheffield United: Defensive Tenacity, Offensive Dilemma

Contrasting Forest’s strategy, Sheffield’s game is built more on ball retention with 32% possession, but they seem to grapple with their end product, with no big chances created in their recent game. The departure of Iliman Ndiaye is evident, leaving the Blades seemingly blunted in their attacking forays.

Defensively, however, Sheffield United appears to be a bastion. Wes Foderingham’s exceptional 8.00 average rating is an emblem of his defiance against the dominant Crystal Palace, having faced 24 chances, saving seven shots. The Blades’ strategy seems rooted in staunch defending, backed by players like John Egan, but such a method could be unsustainable if their offensive woes continue.

The Management’s Mould

Steve Cooper’s Nottingham thrives on their home advantage. Their resilience against top-tier teams suggests a manager adept at galvanising his squad, focusing on harnessing the home crowd’s energy. On the other side, Sheffield, despite the adversities of key departures, remains an embodiment of collective defensive will. It speaks volumes about the Heckingbottom’s ability to maintain a cohesive defensive unit.

A Comparative Glance

When juxtaposed, Nottingham’s tactical emphasis is on exploiting the spaces on counter-attacks, whereas Sheffield stands firm, focusing on thwarting opponent’s advances. In terms of individual flair, Awoniyi’s surging form for Nottingham is the perfect foil to Foderingham’s shot-stopping prowess for Sheffield.

Room for Evolution

For Nottingham, the essence lies in retaining the ball better and curbing possession losses, ensuring they aren’t always on the back foot. Sheffield’s quandary is their offensive impetus; they need a focal point, potentially considering a strategic change or a new acquisition to invigorate their frontline.


1. Match Outcome: Nottingham Forest to Win

One of the key parameters to predict a match outcome is the historical performance and current form of the teams. When it comes to Nottingham Forest’s performance at the City Ground, their home advantage cannot be dismissed lightly. Last season, they collected 30 of their 38 Premier League points on their home turf. This is a whopping 79% of their total points, proving that the City Ground is somewhat of a fortress for them. Not to forget, they’ve managed to clinch wins against football giants such as Arsenal and Liverpool and have held Manchester City and Chelsea to draws at the same venue.

In contrast, Sheffield United’s recent form doesn’t inspire much confidence. Their return to the Premier League has been rocky, evidenced by their opening match where they managed a mere 32% possession and just a single shot on target. Without their star players Iliman Ndiaye and Sander Berge, they’ve failed to assert their presence. Thus, based on home advantage and current form, Nottingham Forest appear to be in a stronger position to clinch a victory.

2. Correct Score: 2-1 in favour of Nottingham Forest

While Nottingham Forest showcase a commendable record at home, they are not immune to conceding goals. In their opening match against Arsenal, they ended up on the wrong side of a 2-1 scoreline. But crucially, they managed to prevent a rampant Arsenal from extending their lead, showing resilience despite only having 21% possession. Taiwo Awoniyi’s strike serves as a testament to their attacking threat, even when the odds are against them.

Sheffield United, on the other hand, managed to hold Crystal Palace to a 1-0 scoreline, in spite of the Eagles’ staggering 24 shot attempts. This implies that while they might be vulnerable, they’re not easy to break down. Given Forest’s attacking prowess and Sheffield’s defensive vulnerabilities, a 2-1 scoreline in favour of the home side seems plausible.

3. Goalscorer Prediction: Taiwo Awoniyi

Taiwo Awoniyi has already made his mark in the new campaign by coming off the bench to score for Nottingham Forest against Arsenal. It’s clear that he has the ability to find the back of the net, even against top-tier Premier League defences. Moreover, with Awoniyi expected to start against Sheffield United, he’ll undoubtedly have more opportunities to showcase his goal-scoring prowess.

Sheffield United’s defensive record further bolsters the case for an Awoniyi goal. Their recent match against Crystal Palace saw them concede from one of the 24 shots they faced. Awoniyi, with his current form and track record, is poised to exploit any defensive lapses by the Blades. Given these factors, it’s a safe bet to predict that Taiwo Awoniyi will register his name on the scoresheet during the match.

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Odds corrects at time of posting and subject to change

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Tyler Morris
Sports writer and analyst Tyler Morris has more than eight years of experience writing about a range of sports. He has considerable knowledge of football, and he has also covered US sports extensively, offering in-depth comments and analysis on the most recent events in these sports. Tyler is a respected specialist in the field since he utilises his knowledge to provide incisive analysis and opinion on the most recent sports events with a track record of successful tips.