By Maryam Naz
Last Updated: 21st December 2018
Nottingham Forest will face Queens Park Rangers this Saturday with history on their side. The Reds haven’t been beaten on home turf at the hands of the Hoops since 1934, but scroll down and read why we think Steve McClaren’s men can finally put an end to the curse.
In a rich vein of form, QPR striker Nakhi Wells has bagged five goals in his last nine games, with his skill and pace on the counter-attack perhaps a decisive factor in this Sunday’s clash at the City Ground.
The 28-year-old failed to score in 27 consecutive league appearances before breaking his goal-scoring drought against Sheffield Wednesday earlier on in the season. Since then, he has kicked into fifth-gear with a proclivity to tear through defences with his impressive dribbling ability.
Given that Forest like to surge forward, with the likes of Sam Byram joining in on the attack, this could lead to pockets of spaces opening up in behind the Forest fort for Wells to exploit.
Considering that the Bermudian has been prolific in front of goal in recent games, we’re forecasting him to convert his chances and help his side towards breaking a historic record at the City Ground.
2) Goal conversion cock-up’s
While Forest may be the firm favourites to win, QPR can take away many learning points from their opponent’s defeat to Preston North-End last weekend.
The Tricky Trees created many chances in the first half but were unable to find clinical form in front of goal. While their sub-par performance could be written off as simply ‘one of those games’, the Hoops will be relying on similar inaccuracies to play out in this Saturday’s clash at City Ground.
Indeed, Nottingham Forest boss Aitor Karanka will know all about how well QPR can nullify the opponent’s attacking prowess, given that McClaren’s men have won two of the most recent matches against the home side.
The travelling team will be looking to emulate Preston’s pressing game to frustrate the home-side into creating fewer chances than required, ensuring that the likes of Wells and Tomer Hemed take theirs to secure a historic three points.
3) ‘Freeman Factor’
Nottingham Forest have already slipped up once at home turf, and if QPR are to be on the right side of a result they will have to include Luke Freeman in their plans.
While the 26-year-old has four goals to his name, his set-piece deliveries have led to more fruitful contributions. Against victories over Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday, Freeman frequently set up the likes of Hemed and Wells, cutting open the opponent’s defence with pacey, left-footed crosses.
His crosses may be QPR’s way passage to creating goalscoring chances, during both corners and free-kicks given that he plays alongside tall defenders. Angel Rangel, Geoff Cameron and Toni Leistner are all over 6ft, making them prime candidates.
Compare this to Karanka’s defenders, who possess more pace than physicality and McClaren may have found another way to break his team’s 88-year hoodoo against Forest through Luke Freeman.
Maryam is a female football writer, who grew up playing a wide variety of sport. She slowly became converted as a lover of football around the age of 10, and her interest in it drove her to pursue it not only physically, but also academically. In her first year of college she cemented a placement at the Independent, whom she worked for before branching out to Premier League-accredited sites like the female-led 'Offside Rule' blog and RealSport. She studied English at University alongside this, and is now a digital copy-writer and editor, specialising in sports journalism.