Ruthless Arsenal Trounce Nottingham Forest, Return As League Leaders

Arsenal’s Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring their fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Nottingham Forest at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 30, 2022. (Photo by Ian Kington / AFP)

 

Reiss Nelson was the unlikely hero as Arsenal retook the top spot in the Premier League with a 5-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

Nelson was introduced for the first time in the Premier League this season after Bukayo Saka was forced off with a concerning injury for England boss Gareth Southgate just weeks ahead of the World Cup.

Saka set up the opening goal for Gabriel Martinelli after just five minutes before being replaced due to an ankle injury.

Nelson struck his first Premier League goal since July 2020 early in the second half to give Arsenal breathing space.

He added a second just three minutes later and then teed up Thomas Partey to curl into the top corner.

Martin Odegaard rounded off a performance that shrugged off doubts over Arsenal’s ability to contend for the title by firing high past Dean Henderson 13 minutes from time.

READ ALSO: Stabbed Arsenal Player Mari Discharged From Hospital

Arsenal’s Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard (2nd R) celebrates with teammates after scoring their fifth goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Nottingham Forest at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 30, 2022. (Photo by Ian Kington / AFP)

 

The victory lifts Mikel Arteta’s men two points above Manchester City at the top of the table.

The Arsenal players came together to show support to teammate Pablo Mari before kick-off.

Mari, who is on loan at Monza, was stabbed during a knife attack in an Italian supermarket this week that left one person dead.

That incident put Arsenal’s bad week on the field into perspective after a 1-1 draw at Southampton last weekend was followed by a 2-0 defeat to PSV Eindhoven in the Europa League.

Any fears that the Gunners were beginning to feel the fatigue of a packed schedule were blown away in a blistering opening.

Martinelli ducked to meet Saka’s inviting cross with his head to open the floodgates.

The Brazilian saw another effort cleared off the line, while Gabriel Jesus, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Odegaard also had chances.

But Saka’s departure is a major worry for Arteta ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Chelsea next weekend.

Forest had begun to find some form on their return to the top flight for the first time in 23 years in recent weeks, including a famous 1-0 win over Liverpool last weekend.

But only towards the end of the first half did they ever threaten to cause the hosts problems as Tomiyasu threw himself in front of Jesse Lingard’s effort.

Nelson quickly settled the game after the break as he blasted past Henderson after his first effort was saved and then turned in Jesus’ cross at the near post.

Partey made it four in style as caressed the ball into the top corner from 25 yards.

Jesus was trying everything he could to end a seven-game goal drought, but had to settle for a second assist as from his pass, Odegaard found the space to fire home the fifth.

AFP

Maddison Lifts Leicester As Forest Hit Rock Bottom

James Maddison’s performance helped eased the pressure on Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers. [email protected]

 

James Maddison eased the pressure on Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers and pushed Nottingham Forest to the bottom of the Premier League as the midfielder’s double inspired a vital 4-0 win on Monday.

Rodgers’ side blew Forest away with three goals in the space of 10 minutes in the first half at the King Power Stadium.

Maddison struck either side of a superb finish from Harvey Barnes and Patson Daka netted in the second half as Leicester won for the first time this season at the eighth attempt.

Leicester had lost their previous six games to leave Rodgers fighting to avoid the sack following his criticism of the club’s Thai owners for failing to back him in the transfer window.

Beating their East Midlands rivals should give Rodgers at least a little breathing space, with Leicester moving one place above rock-bottom Forest on goal difference.

Woeful Forest are now without a win in six games, losing five in a row and conceding 16 goals in their last four matches.

That dismal run has turned up the heat on Steve Cooper, who took charge when Forest were bottom of the Championship last season and led them back to the Premier League for the first time since 1999.

It would be incredibly harsh on Cooper to sack him so soon after winning promotion, but Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis would have hoped for better results after sanctioning a hefty investment in 21 new players in the close-season.

Ahead of what he described as a “season-changing” fixture, Rodgers insisted he was the “best person” to save Leicester from relegation.

Rodgers’ players responded to his rallying cry with their best performance for months.

Maddison was the catalyst right from the start as he teased the Forest defence before delivering a precise cross that Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall headed wide.

Dewsbury-Hall flashed a powerful strike just wide moments later before Jamie Vardy headed wide from Maddison’s free-kick.

Forest should have taken advantage of those misses when Taiwo Awoniyi hit the post after racing onto Morgan Gibbs-White’s defence-splitting pass.

READ ALSOAs He Plots Liverpool Revival, Klopp Says Even Ronaldo Has Confidence Dips

Bickering Forest

That proved the decisive moment as Leicester seized control with two goals in quick succession.

There was more than a slice of luck about Maddison’s 25th-minute opener as he pounced on Jesse Lingard’s awful clearance for a 20-yard strike that took a wicked deflection off Scott McKenna as it looped past Dean Henderson.

If that was fortuitous, there was no denying the excellence of Barnes’ effort in the 27th minute.

Picked out by Vardy’s pass, Barnes took aim from the edge of the area and curled a superb effort into the far corner as Rodgers raised his arms in jubilation.

With several players bickering among themselves, Forest were in disarray.

Maddison was giving England manager Gareth Southgate a reminder of his quality ahead of the World Cup after being left out of the recent Nations League squad.

He delivered the knockout blow to Forest in the 35th minute with a fine free-kick that whistled past Henderson from 25 yards.

In the directors’ box, Leicester chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha wore a broad grin that suggested Rodgers had earned a few days of respite.

But down the touchline, Cooper hung his head in despair as Leicester fans chanted “you’re getting sacked in the morning”.

Forest’s ineptitude was summed up by Awoniyi and Brennan Johnson as they bungled a chance to give Forest a lifeline soon after the interval.

Maddison was still tormenting them and his low cross was perfectly placed for Daka to flick an audacious backheeled finish past Henderson in the 73rd minute.

AFP

African Players In Europe: Awoniyi Scores As Forest Struggle

Taiwo Awoniyi of Nottingham Forest celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0 during the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Fulham at the City Ground, Nottingham on Friday 16th September 2022. Photo: [email protected]

 

A goal by Nigerian Taiwo Awoniyi could not prevent promoted Nottingham Forest losing 3-2 at home to Fulham at the weekend and remaining in the Premier League relegation zone.

It was the fifth loss in seven matches for the two-time former European champions despite more than 20 close season signings, including Awoniyi from Union Berlin.

Here, AFP Sport highlights African headline-makers in the major European leagues:

ENGLAND

TAIWO AWONIYI (Nottingham Forest)

Awoniyi scored his second goal since moving from Germany to England, as the Nigerian’s close range finish from a corner put Forest in front against Fulham. But they failed to hold the lead and the defeat left Steve Cooper’s men second last with only four points from seven matches.

SPAIN

YASSINE BOUNOU (Sevilla)

The Morocco goalkeeper made a couple of smart saves in the first half to help Julen Lopetegui’s team keep Villarreal at bay and protect a one-goal La Liga lead. However, he needed treatment for a muscular issue near the end of the first half, and though he struggled on, had to be replaced at the break by Marko Dmitrovic in the 1-1 draw. Bounou will now be a doubt for Morocco in the upcoming international break.

READ ALSO: Grealish And Haaland Destroy Wolves As Man City Go Top

ITALY

ASSAN CEESAY (Lecce)

The Gambian opened the scoring as Lecce won 2-1 at Salernitana to claim their first victory of the Serie A season after three draws and three losses. Ceesay starred when the Gambia exceeded expectations by reaching the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals in Cameroon this year.

FRANCE

SOFIANE BOUFAL/ABDALLAH SIMA/NABIL BENTALEB (Angers)

Senegalese forward Sima played a role in Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo earning a red card after just nine seconds. Sima pushed the ball past Todibo, who stuck out a leg and tripped the striker. After a video review, the decision that Todibo was the last defender stood. Algerian Bentaleb scored the only goal in the 1-0 win for Angers, who also went a man down after Moroccan midfielder Boufal was sent off for a second yellow card.

MAMA BALDE (Troyes)

The Guinea-Bissau international striker scored twice in a 3-1 win at Clermont, the third of the season for his side. The 26-year-old equalised on 23 minutes after taking the ball from the feet of sluggish defender Mateusz Wieteska. He added a second nine minutes after the break to bring his tally to five goals in eight Ligue 1 games for the mid-table side.

AFP

African Players In Europe: Dream Home Debut For Awoniyi

Awoniyi joined Forest from Union Berlin. [email protected]

 

Nigerian Taiwo Awoniyi began repaying the £17.5 million ($21 mn, 20.7 mn euros) he cost Nottingham Forest with the goal that beat West Ham 1-0 in the Premier League at the weekend.

Joe Aribo was another Nigerian international to score in the most watched domestic league in the world, with his goal sparking a comeback that earned Southampton a 2-2 draw against Leeds.

Here, AFP Sport highlights some African headline-makers at the weekend:

ENGLAND TAIWO AWONIYI (Nottingham Forest)

Forest have made a remarkable 15 new signings on their return to the top flight for the first time in 23 years in a bid to guarantee survival. The biggest outlay of that shopping spree was a reported club record spent on Awoniyi from Union Berlin. Awoniyi made himself an instant hero on his home debut with the only goal as Forest beat West Ham, even if the 24-year-old knew little about the finish. A block from West Ham defender Ben Johnson cannoned off Awoniyi’s knee and trickled into the empty net.

READ ALSOConte, Tuchel See Red As Kane Snatches Spurs Draw At Chelsea

KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Chelsea)

The Senegal captain got his Chelsea career off to a flying start by scoring on his home debut in a tetchy 2-2 draw with Tottenham. Koulibaly showed the technique of a striker rather than a centre-back to volley in Marc Cucurella’s corner for the opening goal.

JOE ARIBO (Southampton)

Aribo came off the bench to score his first Premier League goal and possibly save Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl’s job in a draw with Leeds. Saints were trailing 2-0 when he was introduced just after the hour mark and it took just 10 minutes for the former Rangers man to give Southampton hope by showing neat footwork to round Illan Meslier and fire into the far corner.

GERMANY SADIO MANE (Bayern Munich)

Former Liverpool striker Sadio Mane again impressed for Bayern, despite not getting on the scoresheet in a 2-0 win over Wolfsburg. Mane had one goal in each half ruled out for offside as he looks to build a partnership with German winger Serge Gnabry similar to the one he shared with Mohamed Salah at Anfield.

ITALY ADEMOLA LOOKMAN (Atalanta)

Atalanta escaped from Sampdoria with a 2-0 win thanks in part to Lookman’s beautifully taken debut goal. The Nigeria international finished off a rapid counter-attack in the fifth minute of stoppage time with a cool finish after dummying the home defence.

ASSAN CEESAY (Lecce)

Gambian Ceesay had Lecce fans dreaming of a positive start to their Serie A season when he expertly finished off Federico Di Francesco’s neat through ball to draw the promoted side level with Inter Milan. It wasn’t to be as Denzel Dumfries snatched a last-gasp winner for Inter.

AFP

Super Eagles Striker Awoniyi Joins Nottingham Forest For Club Record Fee

Super Eagles striker Taiwo Awoniyi signs a deal with Nottingham Forest for a reported £17.5 million on a five-year contract.

 

Super Eagles striker Taiwo Awoniyi has signed for newly promoted Nottingham Forest for an undisclosed club-record fee.

The 24-year-old joins from German Bundesliga club Union Berlin for a reported £17.5 million on a five-year-deal after scoring 20 goals in 43 games in all competitions last season for Union.

Fifteen of his goals in 31 Bundesliga games helped Union Berlin finish fifth, thereby qualifying for the UEFA Europa League for the first time since 2001-02.

This will be Awoniyi’s second spell with an English Premier League side after starting his professional career at Liverpool in 2015, following his crucial role for the Golden Eaglets in their U-17 World Cup triumph in 2013.

Taiwo Awoniyi is joining Nottingham Forest from German Bundesliga club Union Berlin.

 

However, he did not play any competitive game for the Reds due to mainly work permit issues and instead had several loan spells outside of England before a permanent move to Berlin last season.

Following his latest return to England, Awoniyi told Nottingham Forest’s website that he is excited by another opportunity to play in the Premier League, especially for a historic club like the Reds and he will be doing his best to help his new club achieve their objectives.

Nottingham Forest Seal Promotion To Premier League After 23 Years Away

Nottingham Forest’s team players celebrate after Huddersfield Town’s English defender Levi Colwill (unseen) scored an own goal during the English Championship play-off final football match between Huddersfield Town and Nottingham Forest at Wembley Stadium in London, on May 29, 2022. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Nottingham Forest sealed passage to the Premier League with a 1-0 victory over Huddersfield on Sunday evening after a 23-year absence.

A Samuels Colwill 43rd-minute own goal was the difference between both sides in the Premier League second leg play-off a the Wembley stadium.

Forest had surmounted great odds after having started the season with one point from seven games,

On the other hand, Huddersfield arrived at Wembley unbeaten in nine games finishing the season in third only two points ahead of Forest who recovered from a dreadful start to the campaign, gathering momentum across the second half of the season.

Carlos Coberan’s Huddersfield grew in confidence and created a couple of chances of their own as they settled into a better rhythm. Sorba Thomas skipped clear of Joe Worrall on the left and from an angle forced a save from Brice Samba.

This was quickly followed by a smartly worked corner routine, with a flurry of movement and a low cross by Thomas into the feet of Danny Ward only for the striker to see his effort blocked in a congested six-yard box.

Huddersfield slipped behind just before the interval, however, when they nodded off and allowed Garner the time and space to shape another dangerous ball into the penalty area.

On target with runners across the line of the ball, a little indecision rippled through the defensive ranks. Yates looked likely to reach it but made no contact and Colwill, having tracked his run, was helpless as the ball struck him and flew into his own net off his right knee from six yards out.

Despite a renewed zest in the second half by Huddersfield, Forest remained steadfast to defend their lead and see them secure a spot in next season’s Premier League.

Speaking on Sky Sports Football in a post-match interview  Nottingham Forest captain, Joe Worrall heaped praises on his fellow teammates

“I’m just so proud of the players, of the staff, the fans. We’ve been fantastic all season and were really unlucky not to go up automatically, in my opinion. We’ve played with honesty and we play the right way,” Worrall said

“We’ve been really good, and it’s not just this season – I’m not saying we’ve been good in the past seasons because we’ve been sh**e – but it has been a long time coming. This club hasn’t been in the top flight for a long time and I’ve seen a lot of good people come and go, who have all added to this football club. It’s such an honour to captain Forest.”

“We don’t mind suffering. We have suffered for a long time off the pitch, so half an hour is nothing compared to what we have suffered for so many years. I just want to say a big thanks to everybody who has helped us. I’ll forget names if I attempt to name everyone, but we’ve been really good value this season and I’m just so proud, especially for the manager. He’s such a nice bloke.”

 

 

 

EFL Cup: Bendtner Has A Point To Prove – Wenger

Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Nicklas Bendtner, EFL Cup, Nottingham ForestArsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger accepts Nicklas Bendtner will have a point to prove, and says his side will be wary of the threat he poses in Tuesday night’s EFL Cup clash at Nottingham Forest.

The Denmark international spent nine years at Arsenal and Wenger said that the former Gunner is quite different to public perceptions of him.

“It was a surprise to me that Nicklas signed for Nottingham Forest, but at some stage he needs to restart his career,” the manager said. “You have to adapt and we are in a job where we have to show we are able to put our effort in everywhere and compete.

“Sometimes when you are a player of his quality, you just need an opportunity. We know he is a top-quality player, but he needs to play.

Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Nicklas Bendtner, EFL Cup, Nottingham Forest
Nicklas Bendtner while in Arsenal

“He was very young (when I first saw him), 16 or 17 years old and I thought he was very interesting because he has a good technique, good stature, good pace, good in the air, good link play – he had it all in the locker.

“He had good periods in his career, and then periods when it went less well for him. He could explain it better as to how he assesses his career because he is an honest guy.

“When he makes mistakes, he is big enough to say it is his fault. Sometimes it was not his fault but you felt he had it all in the locker to make a fantastic career.

“Yes, the perception people have of him is that he is overconfident, but I don’t think so. He was sometimes impatient when he was with us. Sometimes he was disappointed not to get the chance and you can understand that.

“It is difficult – I am not here to judge people. Sometimes you manage to get it, and sometimes we do not find the key. Then you have to leave the key to someone else who has the potential to find it.

“Of course he has a point to prove. He’s playing at a level he is not used to. But he did start his career at this level at Birmingham City with Steve Bruce, where he did very well. Nicklas is humble enough and focused enough to show he can fight again.”