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Nottingham Forest Relegation Fight, in Numbers

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It’s the worst time of year for the bottom half of the Premier League. With just ten games remaining of the 2023/24 campaign, Nottingham Forest’s position in 17th is starting to look terminal. Yet the side still have an outside chance of equalling (or improving upon) last season’s 16th.

Weaker Squads

On the latter occasion, Forest pulled off an unlikely 1-0 victory against Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal in late May, courtesy of a goal from Taiwo Awoniyi. That result ruined the Gunners’ title charge and ensured Leicester and Everton couldn’t leapfrog Notts to safety.

The Foxes were ultimately relegated, along with Leeds and Southampton, while Everton held on by the grace of just two points.

It was a dismal result for Forest but estimates of the squad’s quality weren’t damaged. The Athletic website predicted, back in November, just 11 games after the start of the new season, that Notts could avoid relegation for a second time, “barring a complete disaster”.

That appraisal was based largely on the fact that six other teams – Luton, Burnley, Wolves, Everton, Sheff Utd, and Bournemouth – possessed weaker squads than Forest or, to put it another way, they aren’t good enough to remain in the Premier League.

As far as forecasts go, it was about half right, with an equal number of those teams above and below Forest, as of mid-March. Burnley and Sheffield United are all but stricken, with six wins between them and 14 points apiece.


So, what about Forest? The best UK betting sites aren’t particularly optimistic about Forest’s future in the Premier League, something they’ve campaigned for since a dismal and record-breaking (in the worst way) 1998/99 season. Notts lost 8-1 to United during that campaign.

For those who want to bet on Forest’s future, bookmakers William Hill and bet365 have the team at 9/4 for the drop – third favourite. This isn’t quite as dire as it might sound, as the bookies aren’t taking bets on Chris Wilder’s Sheff Utd, meaning that the relegation battle comes down to Luton, Forest, Brentford, and Everton. There are five points between this group.

Stats company Opta added a note of optimism recently, too. The word ‘supercomputer’ might elicit groans in football circles but one such machine has predicted safety for Nottingham Forest in 2023/24, placing the side 17th (36.5% chance) on the final day.

It’s an unpleasant thought for owner Evangelos Marinakis, who has been trying to whittle a title-chasing team out of Forest, but he seems to have his expectations in check. Marinakis’ plans for the northern club indicate he’s in it for the long haul.

Opta adds that Forest may also try for higher positions, such as 16th (20.8%), 15th (13.2%), 14th (7.2%), and 13th (1.7%) but its supercomputer hasn’t forgotten the looming threat of relegation. Forest can still finish rock-bottom, albeit on a 0.1% dice roll.

Let’s be honest, though. The only figure that fans need is 79.8%, the chance of Nottingham Forest remaining in the Premier League for a third term.

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