Nottingham Forest v Wolves
Wolves have only lost once since the restart, by a 1-0 scoreline to a late Marcus Rashford strike, as they’ve beaten Gillingham and Everton, as well as taken stalemates on the road at Aston Villa and Liverpool. However, the League Two side were the only ones they registered a clean sheet against, as Wolves have now kept just three in 15 appearances, while their past four shutouts have all come at Molineux. Indeed, away from home, Wolves have managed a solitary clean sheet in 14 matches, while both teams have scored in each of their last five on the road.
Forest are in decent nick themselves having lost just three of their past 11 games, even if this includes heavy defeats to Arsenal (5-0), Man Utd (3-0) and Blackpool (4-1), with Steve Cooper making 11 changes to his stating 11 against the latter last time out. However, each defeat came on their travels, as has each of their past five losses, as they have plenty of convincing to do away from the City Ground. Still, Forest are now unbeaten in six at home (W3-D3), which includes a pair of victories over Liverpool and Tottenham, as well as taking a point at a hapless Chelsea.
Steve Cooper will no doubt revert to first-team players after the debacle at Blackpool, but he does have to contend with a growing injury list. Serge Aurier will surely start at right back with Neco Williams a doubt and Giulian Biancone sidelined, regulars Jesse Lingard and Cheikhou Kouyate are out of action in midfield, while Moussa Niakhate, Omar Richards and Taiwo Awoniyi all look set to miss out as well.
Julen Lopetegui also has some absentees, though will hope Daniel Podence can shake off a knock to feature here. Fellow wide men Pedro Neto and Chiquinho are both sidelined, while striker Sasa Kalajdzic and young defensive midfielder Boubacar Traore are unavailable as well.
Wolves may hold a poor record on their travels, but it is worth noting that performances and results have picked up under new management as it appears that there’s more confidence to be found in the dressing room. The manner in which they took the game to Liverpool at Anfield last time out hints at the change of the tide, as VAR controversy denied them another goal, and they look a decent prospect to get something from a Forest side with mounting injury concerns.
WOLVES DRAW NO BET
Southampton v Man City
The Saints secured a desperately needed victory last time out as they took down Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, though despite the morale boost, it leaves them no closer to Premier League safety with that encounter coming in the FA Cup. A League Cup meeting with Man City is essentially a free swing, though there’s little reason to get excited about their prospects.
Excluding cup clashes with teams from lower divisions, Southampton had lost six on the trot before edging out the Eagles. They’ve lost eight of 10 encounters with current top-half sides this term, trailing at the break on eight occasions too, as their opponents completed W/W doubles in six of the last seven such games.
Man City have exercised an iron grip on this tournament in recent times as they’ve won six of the past nine editions, including four in a row under Pep Guardiola between 20117/18 and 2020/21. Their tails will be up having just put together back-to-back victories over a sorry Chelsea outfit, with their latest meeting ending 4-0, as a Riyad Mahrez in sparling form took his tally to six goals from eight appearances since November.
Whereas Ruben Dias is Guardiola’s only absentee, Nathan Jones has a number of players sidelined at present. Theo Walcott, Tino Livramento, Juan Larios and Alex McCarthy were already unavailable, but they’ve now been joined in the treatment room by centre-back Armel Bella-Kotchap, who has emerged as a key figure for them.
City waltzed to a 4-0 win over the Saints earlier in the campaign and although that was at the Etihad, the visitors should feel confident ahead of this tussle. City have conceded just two goals in eight road trips now, against Liverpool and Leeds, though we wouldn’t want to back the clean sheet with Southampton still managing to score in 10 of their last 12 appearances.
In fact, both teams have scored in eight of Southampton’s last nine at home, which includes encounters with Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle. Man City have only kept clean sheets in three of 11 head-to-heads with Southampton since 2018/19, with six of these games seeing Man City & Over 3.5 Goals land, which includes both of the last two meetings as City ran out 4-1 (A) and 4-0 (H) winners.
MAN CITY TO WIN AND BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
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