Say it quietly, but I think Forest are on the verge of something special here.
Say it even quieter, but there’s a good to fair chance they’ll make the playoffs this year, such is the incredible job that’s gone on at the City Ground over the summer – minus the half hour of chaos that was the sacking of Martin O’Neill and appointment of Sabri Lamouchi of course.
Forest ended last year in 9th place, eight points off a playoff spot, but the fact is they could have been a lot higher and had a much better shot had they not gone on a disastrous run in early April where they lost four games in a row. So they have a very good squad there to use as a base, but the improvements that they have made throughout the squad have been exceptional.
Now whilst I am pinning a lot of this on one man in particular, that being Manchester City loanee Arijanet Muric, recent history has shown that a goalkeeper can be crucial in helping a club move forward. Look at Man City when they brought in Ederson to replace Claudio Bravo, they conceded twelve fewer goals and jumped from 3rd to 1st.
Or Liverpool when they upgraded from Simon Mignolet and Lorius Karius to Alisson, conceding 16 fewer goals than the year before. With the amount of praise that Pep Guardiola is giving Muric, I believe that he can have the same effect on Forest as Ederson did at the Etihad and Alisson did at Anfield when compared to Costel Pantilimon, who despite keeping 15 clean sheets was still somewhat unconvincing on occasions.
Albert Adomah is only two seasons removed from scoring 14 goals in the Championship, so if Joe Lolley or Lewis Grabban have an off day, he’ll be there to pick up the slack. Now whilst we don’t know if he’ll be starting or on the bench, it’s nice to know that you have that firepower available to you when you need it. And if he doesn’t produce, then Tiago Silva should be able to help out as well, having contributed 14 goals and 17 assists to Portuguese side CD Feirense in the past three seasons.
Even the defence should take a step forward this year with the likes of Alfa Semedo and Yuri Ribeiro adding experience at a high level to the back line. Semedo having played and scored in the Champions League last season, with Ribeiro playing in the Europa League.
Even in the dugout in the form of Sabri Lamouchi, they’ve made an improvement. Whilst not experienced in the Championship has worked in Ligue 1 and at a national level and had some relative success with both of them. Reaching the World Cup with Ivory Coast and taking over a Rennes team that were 10th in Ligue 1, he guided them to 5th place and a subsequent place in the Europa League group stage, so he has a history of taking teams and getting results out of them.
All in all, I believe that Forest have got a good side in them, whilst they may not be making the most high profile of signings, like Helder Costa at Leeds, or Pontus Jansson at Brentford they can best be described as ‘astute’, and it seems as if the fans agree.
This year could be something special at the City Ground, this could finally be the year that Forest get back to the Premier League after 20 years in exile, and if they do, we may just need to crown a new set of ‘Miracle Men’.