Nottingham Forest 1 Wolves 2

Nuno’s time under the tutelage of the current Manchester United manager may have been brief, but it could prove telling come the end of the season.

This game bore all the hallmarks of a Josè Mourinho side, with titillating football hard to come by for much of the game but no less crucial when it did occur.

Diogo Jota will deservedly get the plaudits for his match winning brace, but in truth it was a characterful team display that earned us the three points.

Wolves struggled to impose their usual style of play against a Forest side that more than played their part in this fixture, and yet found a way to claim the spoils come full time.

Early days it may be, but that is promotion winning form.

After the madcap outing against Bristol City, this game stood out as a real test of our credentials.

Forest have improved greatly under the shrewd management of Mark Warburton and were unsurprisngly in no mood to play for a point.

This culminated in a poor first half in which both sides were limited to half chances, with neither keeper overly exerted.

That soon changed after half time, with Jota converting a sumptuous cross from the otherwise ineffective Ivan Cavaleiro.

Much has been made of John Ruddy’s culpability for the Forest equaliser which followed, but I’m of the mind to excuse a player that has otherwise been in imperious form for us this campaign.

Not many keepers would expect Mustapha Carayol to hit it from where he did, let alone anticipate it being on target.

The home supporters stirred and as was the case on Tuesday, one couldn’t help but get flashbacks to the previous two seasons in which Wolves would so often crumble under such resistance.

But this team is a different beast altogether, and Leo Bonatini (who also endured a quiet game) took one hell of a bump to tee up the effervescent Jota for the winner.

On current form, the diminutive inside forward is set to write himself into club folklore. I certainly can’t recall seeing a player of his calibre don old gold in my decade of following the club, Helder Costa included.

Given the influx of wildly talented foreign imports, you can forgive opposition supporters for anointing us as the most reviled team in the league.

But in my eyes, and most likely those of the similarly delirious away support yesterday, that makes our success all the more fun.

Long may it continue.

Nottingham Forest Vs Wolves Preview

The Bristol City assistant manager had an interesting view on Tuesday’s game.

Jamie McAllister said they went like-for-like against our system during the first half and that helped them get a foothold in the match.

I thought most of the game, particularly the second half, was wave after wave of Wolves attack with the visitors lucky to remain in touching distance.

At 2-2 I said it was the most unjust scoreline I’d seen for a long time, so you can imagine how I was feeling at 3-2.

Then again, as they hadn’t won at Molineux for nearly a century I just assumed there was some divine intervention evening things out.

With fate seemingly conspiring against us, I was happy with the point.

Notts Forest

I suspected Forest would have an upturn in fortunes this season. I’m not Mark Warburton’s biggest fan but I think he’s a good manager.

He did well at Brentford and Rangers so it was a decent coup for them to get him to the City Ground given their recent track record.

Losing Britt Assombalonga was a blow, but they’ve recruited well. Daryl Murphy isn’t a glamour signing but he’ll get the goals and has four already.

Winger Barrie McKay has followed Warburton down from Rangers and by all accounts is one of the bargains of the summer at £500k.

I don’t think they’ll be top six come May, but I also can’t see them being anywhere close to the bottom either. This feels like a building season.

Wolves

I thought Nuno was vindicated with his midweek changes as both N’Diaye and Cavaleiro played very well.

Saiss is unlucky to miss out if the coach sticks with the same XI, but it’s good to have that high level of competition.

I thought it was interesting that the Moroccan came on and played in the back three, which underlines the tactical flexibility Nuno has with several of his players.

I’d still prefer to see Boly in that back three, but you can’t argue with Batth’s performances. Miranda continues to make the odd mistake in and out of possession so he could come under threat.

With Helder Costa seemingly well on the road to recovery we’re pretty much just waiting to see him named in a matchday squad. He won us this fixture last season and would be great to see him again tomorrow.

Predictions

I’m going for another victory. We’re playing well and I think if we get near our maximum we’ll have more than enough to get it done against Forest.

Having seen us perform so consistently home and away so far, there’s no reason we should expect a dip in levels.

We’ve kept four cleansheets in seven matches and hoping for another tomorrow.

1-0.

Up The Wolves!

* Check out netbet.co.uk for all the latest betting odds and special offers. Back Wolves for the win today at 6/5.

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Wolves 1 Nottingham Forest 0

With four wins in succession, a dizzying Helder Costa goal still fresh in the memory and an eminently winnable fixture against Nottingham Forest ahead, the walk along Waterloo Road had never felt so breezy.

But alas, no Costa.

And while we were all thrilled to notch up a fifth win come the final whistle, it was an insight into how bereft we are without him.

For his spellbinding goal of the weekend against Cardiff, see compatriot Cavaleiro doing his best impression, sending the corner flag one way, then the other – after kicking the base of it when taking a short corner and getting it stuck between his legs.

It was a moment to define this particular spectacle but not the performance entirely, as we worked ferociously hard for the duration, to such an extent that you felt tired out just watching them.

Batth and Hause combined teak-toughness with intelligence, surely benefiting from the Evans / Edwards protection ahead of them.

Whether the team as a whole then benefits from the required amount of creativity thereafter is debateable but again, the Welshmen worked their backsides off admirably, hassling and harrying their opponents.

This was no small feature of the game, with Forest enjoying the lions’ share of possession and were surely frustrated as a result of our endeavours off the ball.

Marshall, while mildly more subdued that recent performances, again suggested he has the ability to be a mainstay of a promotion pushing side next season, while Andi Weimann’s contributions just get more and more noteworthy.

His outrageous work-rate off the ball was infectious and his assist for Dicko’s goal intelligent, representing one of very few moments where the right decision was made at the right time.

A potential man-of-the-match winner, possibly shading Conor Coady at right back, whose heroic intervention on the goal line not only acted as an unlikely assist for the winner 15 seconds later, but typified his recent performances in an alien position, which I would have scarcely thought believable weeks ago.

On the other flank, one of Matt Doherty’s customary forays upfield ended in a lovely pass to Weimann, who did the rest for Dicko to sweep home.

It was a beautifully worked moment from a pretty ugly affair, which resembled a practice match at times, and an unwitting homage to Helder Costa at others.

Quite where we’d be without him is anyone’s guess. Thankfully after this hard fought league win, it won’t be League One.

Wolves Vs Nottingham Forest Preview

Different teams present different challenges in this league, which is why you can never be sure about the result from one game to the next.

In Fulham and Cardiff, you couldn’t play two more contrasting sides so it’s pleasing that Wolves found a way to come out on top against both.

You look at the league table, our recent form and generally what’s been going on at the City Ground this season and you’d fancy us to make it five wins in five.

But the Championship rarely pans out like that and I expect Forest to provide a similarly stern test.

Forest

Admittedly, I know little about this current Forest outfit but they’ve got some useful individuals and a manager who seems to know what he’s doing.

That usually gets you most of the way there in this league, which is why I expect them to (just about) avoid relegation and come back stronger next time.

But Mark Warburton need only look at the table to know there isn’t much margin for error with just seven games to go.

They’re just two places and two points above the bottom three and have only managed two wins in their last ten matches.

Gutsy draws against Derby and Preston will have helped instill belief but their run-in isn’t too favourable so pressure is building.

Wolves

If he can name the same team again I think Paul Lambert should do just that. Why mess with the winning formula?

I’d put Ikeme back in if he’s fit and ready, but it’s as you were with the outfield personnel.

My gut instinct is he won’t be able to resist giving the likes of Bodvarsson, Dicko and Saville a run out, but he leaves himself open for criticism if the result then doesn’t go our way.

One more win should see us safe (looking at the remaining fixtures for everyone else) and this is as good a chance as any to get it, so we shouldn’t be saving legs just yet.

Andy Lonergan

Predictions

Got to be confident after four straight wins. Forest have the second worst away record in the league too. Only Rotherham have amassed less points.

Most bookies have us at a comfortable 5/6 for the win compared to Forest’s 10/3. If you’re confident and fancy a punt you may want to check out sites like Bonus Codes to browse the major free bet offers beforehand.

I think there’s lots of goals and creativity in this Wolves squad so even allowing for a new manager bounce, I expect us to do enough to keep this run going.

2-1.

Up The Wolves!

Nottingham Forest 0 Wolves 2

When we got to spend a bit of time with Paul Lambert last month I told him there were five players I felt were our key performers based on their contributions prior to his arrival.

They were Carl Ikeme, Matt Doherty, Dave Edwards, Helder Costa and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.

With the possible exception of the big Icelander whose form has tailed off after that international break, none of the above have let me down.

Costa has continued to be our leading light, stepping up another level under Lambert by adding better end product.

He netted from the acutest of angles yesterday and was also instrumental in Ivan Cavaleiro’s second half goal – the two bright moments of an otherwise drab encounter.

That’s why he was brought in though – to help us rise above the opposition in these scrappy, horrible Championship slugfests by providing moments of greater quality.

Dave Edwards fulfilled a slightly different role as part of a two man midfield, using his energy to close down opposition and win back possession.

He did that with great aplomb and was rightly lauded as a Man of the Match contender.

Whatever you want to say about the guy, his goals and appetite to win the ball back have kept us afloat when we could have totally melted away.

Matt Doherty has arguably been our most potent attacking force behind Costa but many have questioned whether that’s come at the expense of his primary purpose.

There was less razzle dazzle yesterday in a more steady defensive outing for the Irishman.

Personally I wouldn’t want to put the leash on him going forward. Direct running from deep is tough to defend against. But I do agree he needs to defend with greater purpose and aggression himself.

Carl Ikeme just reassures in a way that Andy Lonergan and Harry Burgoyne perhaps don’t. That’s harsh on the youngster but we saw moments of brilliance and frailty against Cardiff, suggesting this isn’t his time just yet.

Our number one was strong and repeatedly cleared out the opposition as Forest looked for a way back into the game. We’ve got to keep him fit for the remainder of the season.

Bodvarsson is the only one of my recommended quintet who has fallen down the pecking order, but his role of impact substitute may help him come back refreshed in the new year.

But another game without a goal for our strikers surely won’t have slipped under the radar? Reinforcements are needed, even with young Bright Enobakhare looking well…bright in his second start under Lambert.

Thankfully Ivan Cavaleiro is discovering a healthy appetite for finishing and probably squeezes out Bodvarsson in my revised magic five.

I’m certain many disagree. So in the spirit of healthy debate – who makes it into yours?

Nottingham Forest Vs Wolves Preview

Prior to last weekend our excuse has been conceding early and conceding first.

 

But despite getting ahead in the opening minutes against both Fulham and Cardiff, we’ve only mustered a one point return.

They say good teams find a way to win, but at the moment the opposite seems true for Wolves.

It’s worrying times for Paul Lambert and he’ll already know there are some crippling deficiencies in this team that must be addressed in January.

In the meantime, this is another fixture against a team in and around us in the table. Another defeat would be difficult to swallow.

Forest

The good news for Wolves is that it looks like Forest’s two most dangerous players will be ruled out.

Both Henri Lansbury and Britt Assombalonga – who’ve both netted against Wolves in recent encounters – have got hamstring injuries.

Still, they’re among the league’s top scorers so will likely possess a threat from others like former Blues and Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner.

Despite a thumping at Derby and a draw at home to Preston their recent form hasn’t been too shabby. Three wins preceded those matches.

Off the field they’re trying to push through a takeover and from the outside looking in it seems like they need that fresh impetus.

Wolves

Where does Paul Lambert go from here? Given that our midfield has been almost non-existent, perhaps going two up top again wouldn’t be a bad call?

Neither Bodvarsson or Dicko are thriving as the lone striker so playing a more direct game might suit the players we’ve got.

I’d still be taking Iorfa out of the firing line, who I think has seriously struggled in recent months.

It seems likely Helder Costa will miss out so perhaps playing Teixeira or someone else slightly tucked in down the right could be an option?

Predictions

Call me an optimist but I think we might win this one. Not because I’m seeing the shoots of recovery or anything, more I just think Forest are there for the taking.

With the exception of Cardiff, many of the away performances haven’t been too awful even though results haven’t really gone our way.

I foresee another topsy-turvy encounter tomorrow, but hopefully we’ll come out on the right side of the scoreline.

2-1.

Up The Wolves!

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