One Step Forward – Two Steps Back

After the jubilation of beating Liverpool at the City Ground last week came the almost inevitable underwhelming deflation of losing at the Emirates on Sunday, not the loss in particular, that was significant against top of the table Arsenal, but the manner of which Steve Cooper’s side performed, the most disappointing aspect to take away from this game.

Nottingham Forest, for too many times this season, have fallen by the wayside, they have conceded 28 goals in 13 Premier League games, have lost 4-0, 5-0 and 6-0, and it’s not even November yet.

Many will preach that ‘Rome, or indeed West Bridgford, was not built in a day, unless you walked on water” but regardless of the transfers made and the way that Nottingham Forest have done business in recent months, regardless of the magical work that Steve Cooper has done thus far, the club’s aim in spending well over £100m this summer, was to be competitive in the top tier of English football, and for too many times this season, the Nottingham Forest players on the pitch have not provided a competitive example of how the football club should represent itself.

Too easily passive, against Arsenal, themselves in form and flying granted, but to lose 5-0 after such a tremendous performance last Saturday, it all just states where the club are really at.

In midweek, Marinakis mentioned ‘another’ £100m to keep the club up, could be spent in January, more short term fixes to a longer term problem, you start to feel would it have been best, to build for the bounce back, rather than chuck money at a sinking ship.

Steve Cooper said after the loss “We’ve only got ourselves to blame, the situation that we’re in means the starting point has to be to compete and fight and I can’t think of many moments where we did that today. That has to be at the heart of our performances.”

“We have to take it for what it is, take it personally and aim to do much better. We’ve got a week to prepare for Brentford but we’ll be talking through why today was what it was and we’ll face up to it.”

Brentford on Saturday now becomes massive, Forest have a lifeline to stay competitive ahead of the World Cup break, and with two home games remaining they don’t want to be cast astray, cut off at the bottom of the table, with bulging gaps on those above.

To put in perspective, Forest’s fate won’t be decided by playing the likes of Arsenal, but instead, how they fare against those around them, having already had home defeats against Fulham and Bournemouth this season, you feel losing to Brentford, will significantly deflate morale further. A six pointer now for Steve Cooper and his men who’ve been known to get themselves up for a big game, they did it for West Ham when it mattered, the clubs first Premier League home match in 23 years, they did it against Liverpool, when it mattered, against an old rival that fans would take huge and immense pride in beating, now the club must do it against Brentford, to keep their season alive, or they may as well wave the white flag and surrender, like they have done on occasions like yesterday, too often, too nice, too naïve.

On the football phone in on the way back from London yesterday prior to passing the emblazoned Forest coach on the M1, one fan said “we’re too nice” and demanded ‘a bit of nastiness’ in the way that Forest play, too often too passive against those of better ability away from home, the worry that this team has the ability to fall short in such large gulf when it likes is something that may to start to concern fans, who last season were used to a side built on togetherness, that were hard to beat and dogged in their approach, something demanded now in the current crop, all have been sold as fans, are better footballers than what they had during the clubs Championship playoff success.

If beating Liverpool was great and a day to remember, Arsenal was a disaster and one to forget, Forest are back at the drawing board and back to square one, their saving grace, a win against Brentford, and it’s all forgotten, but anything less, and fans may start to feel that fate lies in returning to the likes of Millwall and Preston next season, that is, unless, they pass each other on the way down?

*Article provided by Daniel Peacock (Editor).

*Main image @NFFC Steve Cooper a lonely figure after a 5-0 walloping by Arsenal.

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