From nearly safe to big trouble, Nottingham Forest collapse vs Brentford
Nottingham Forest did themselves no favors in the Premier League relegation scrap, going from 1-0 up to 2-1 down in a back-breaking defeat to Brentford in west London on Saturday.
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The defeat leaves Nottingham Forest (30 points) stuck in 17th place with four games left to play. 18th-place Leicester (29 points) and 19th-place Everton (28 points) will face off in a titanic relegation clash on Monday (3 pm ET - Watch live), meaning Forest could be back in the bottom-three when matchweek 35 kicks off next weekend.
As for Brentford (50 points), the victory puts them on the brink of clinching a top-half finish in the club’s second season in the Premier League. Ivan Toney scored again on Saturday to reach the 20-goal mark for the season, joining Erling Haaland (33) and Harry Kane (24) thus far in 2022-23.
With only a few seconds of first-half stoppage time remaining, Nottingham Forest had attempted just one shot and barely had a sniff Brentford’s penalty area, much less their goal. All of that changed with one fortuitous deflection, as Morgan Gibbs-White struck from the edge of the area, his shot halfway blocked by Ben Mee, straight to the feet of an unmarked Danilo at the top of the six-yard box.
David Raya darted across goal to cover the near post, but Danilo smashed his first-time finish back across goal and tucked it just inside the far post for a potentially monumental goal.
For more than 80 minutes, Brentford were flummoxed and frustrated as they settled for far too many long-range shots with a forest of defenders sitting deeper and deeper. The Bees needed a lucky bounce (or two) of their own, but it came in the 82nd minute when Toney blasted a free kick through the wall, off Keylor Navas’ hands, off the post, back off Navas and into the goal.
Level at 1-1, it was all Brentford all the time as they pressed on for the winning goal. Three minutes into stoppage time, Josh Dasilva dribbled from the right the right touchline, into the penalty, and thumped a left-footed strike at the near post. Navas was in position to make the save, but the ball dipped under his outstretched hands, completing Brentford’s comeback and Forest’s nightmare collapse.
Three must-have points for Nottingham Forest vs Southampton
The next one is the big one for Forest. Not, not a big one; the big one. Not only is it the next game, but it’s against last-place Southampton — Forest’s best remaining chance at three points. That game will be the final fixture of matchweek 35, late on Monday (3 pm ET), meaning that by the time Steve Copper’s side plays again, both Leicester and Everton will have played twice, meaning that Forest might not only be in the relegation zone the next time they take the field, but they might even find themselves in 19th.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Crystal Palace remain on the fixture list to close out the season.
Stars of the show
Nottingham Forest will continue their fight to remain in the Premier League a week from Monday (3 pm ET), when bottom-of-the-table Southampton (24 points) visit the City Ground. Brentford will head to the northwest of England — Anfield, to be exact — to take on Liverpool next Saturday (12:30 pm ET).
Brentford vs Nottingham Forest, final score: 2-1
45th minute +1 - Danilo bags Forest’s opening goal just before the halftime whistle
82nd minute - Ivan Toney sneaks a free kick over the line for 1-1
90th minute +3 - Josh Dasilva smashes the winning goal through a sea of bodies
How to watch Brentford vs Nottingham Forest live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10 am ET, Saturday TV channel: USA Network Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
Though they are closing in on a top-half finish in just their second season in the Premier League, times had been hard for Brentford of late — until they trekked across west London to take on scraggly, bottom-half Chelsea on Wednesday. It was a 2-0 victory for Thomas Frank’s side, which had gone winless in their previous six games (0W-3D-3L). Ivan Toney, who needs one more goal to reach the 20-goal mark for the season and has alternated between scoring a goal and not scoring a goal for each of the last six games, did not score in the win over Chelsea.
The midweek victory for Nottingham Forest snapped an 11-game winless skid (0W-3D-8L) for Steve Cooper’s side. Without a win since the start of February, the Reds had fallen into the bottom-three and spent nearly a month there amid their late-season slump. 37 is beginning to look like the magic points number that clubs need to reach to stay up.
Brentford team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Pontus Jansson (hamstring), Kristoffer Ajer (calf), Keane Lewis-Potter (knee), Thomas Strakosha (calf), Kristoffer Ajer (undisclosed)
Nottingham Forest team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Neco Williams (head), Willy Boly (thigh), Dean Henderson (thigh), Chris Wood (thigh), Giulian Biancone (knee), Omar Richards (calf), Gustavo Scarpa (knee), Jack Colback (concussion), Jonjo Shelvey (undisclosed)