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Nottingham Forest vs. Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Seeing both the forest and the trees

Spurs must continue to get the needed results through the opening stretch of fixtures.

Soccer - Capital One Cup - Third Round - Tottenham Hotspur v Nottingham Forest - White Hart Lane

The play on the pitch has not always been perfect, but Tottenham Hotspur has started the season as it needed to, taking seven points out of nine from three fixtures that yielded a total of zero points last season. Some questions still remain, but two wins and a draw at Stamford Bridge are hard to criticize to open up the new year.

Sunday represents another chance to continue that trend, as Spurs travel to newly promoted Nottingham Forest. Back in the Premier League for the first time this millennium, Forest will be trying to just stay afloat for a second campaign next season. An early four points is a better start than expected, but it will be a tough task to maintain over all 38 matches.

Results aside, Tottenham was the second-best team against Chelsea and did not exactly dominate Wolves for 90 minutes. This should be the most favorable fixture to date, however, and Forest looks to be closer to the Southampton side that Spurs firmly beat the opening weekend. It may still only be August, but three more points will keep supporters dreaming of what this season could become.

Nottingham Forest (t-8th, 4pts) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (t-2nd, 7pts)

Date: Sunday, August 28
Time: 11:30 am ET, 4:30 pm UK
Location: The City Ground, Nottingham, England
TV: USA Network (USA), Sky Sports Main Event (UK)

Forest beat West Ham and drew Everton despite losing the xG battle, and metrics say these results may be fairly fortunate. In fact, no club has a lower xGD through three matches, fueled by a discouraging 5.9 xGA. Spurs have left some scoring opportunities on the table, but that should hopefully not be an issue on Saturday.

Along those lines, the conversation regarding Heung-Min Son and Richarlison is predictably stirring, but it does feel a little premature to make any drastic changes to the lineup. It is true that Son has been out of form thus far, but he has been subject to ebbs and flows throughout his tenure and this would be a great chance to break him out of this funk.

Recent results:

Tottenham has seen Forest just three times this century, though the two will become fairly acquainted with a League Cup tie on the books for November as well. The last time the sides met was also in that competition, as Spurs progressed from the Third Round thanks to a Ryan Mason banger, a rare Roberto Soldado goal, and Harry Kane’s sixth-ever tally for the club.

The squads look much different from that contest, especially with all of the spending Forest has done this summer. Jesse Lingard, midweek scorer Sam Surridge, and record-signing Taiwo Awoniyi are tasked with keeping the home team out of the relegation zone, but given the early struggles on the defensive end, it is fair to wonder if this club can really score enough goals to compete.

What this means is that Spurs should dominate Sunday all over the pitch and can hopefully clean up some of the challenges that have been present in the midfield the past couple weeks. Again the club is fortunate to not really need Cristian Romero, and another clean sheet is very attainable with or without him. A win is the expectation, but it sure would be nice to see a Son goal to get him on track as the calendar soon turns to September.