Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson is expecting Arsenal to record a comfortable victory when they face Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon.
Steve Cooper’s side were very poor on the road last season and Merson says he can’t see them getting anything from their trip to the Emirates:
“This game is a nice start for Arsenal. Nottingham Forest’s away form last season was bordering on atrocious. I don’t see anything but a win for Arsenal this weekend.”
Merson has gone with a 3-0 win for the Gunners, which seems like a fair prediction, especially when you remember that Forest lost 5-0 in the same match last season.
Of course, some things have changed since then. Arsenal’s opponents have improved, demonstrated by the fact that they beat Mikel Arteta’s side in the reverse fixture back in May.
Arsenal are in a much better position
You do have to consider what has gone on over the summer. The home side have strengthened their squad, and have recently won the Community Shield. Their confidence will be high heading into this weekend’s game.
In contrast, Forest have been fairly quiet in the transfer market, which means they have not improved their team a great deal despite finishing 16th on 38 points last campaign.
While it is not really wise to look at friendlies as a gauge for how a team will perform when competitive action begins, Forest have had some shocking results.
Cooper’s men last 5-0 at home to Rennes at the start of the month, and their only win in pre-season came against Levante in mid-July.
Of course, you would still expect them to improve on those displays when they face Arsenal on Saturday, but you have to think that, if the Gunners get off to a strong start, their opponents will be there for the taking.