Nottingham Forest (15th) v Crystal Palace (22nd)
Saturday 18th December 2010 – 3pm
Unbeaten at home Nottingham Forest entertain relegation-threatened Crystal Palace at The City Ground on Saturday afternoon, needing all three points themselves to climb away from the bottom three.
Forest remain as the only unbeaten team at home in the Championship, but I’m sure they’d like to convert a few of their draws into wins as their home record is shared between wins & draws; 4-5-0 12/6, while midfielder Lewis McGugan (9 goals, 2 assists) is their leading scorer.
Striker Dexter Blackstock (5 goals, 1 assist) has backed him up well, with midfielder Chris Cohen (1 goal, 4 assists) has provided most of the creativity going forward.
They’ve failed to score just once in their nine home matches so far, which was a 0-0 draw against QPR but the visitors had struggled to find the net in their last few matches whilst also possessing the meanest defence on the road.
Crystal Palace have now lost their last four away matches, while conceding 11 goals in the process. The Eagles’ away record stands at an alarming 1-1-8 9/24, and only Leicester City & Doncaster Rovers (both conceding 25 goals) have shipped more goals away from home.
Their only victory to date was at Norwich City where they won 2-1, but that was almost two months ago & seems an age away.
In addition, they’ve kept a clean sheet just once (v Cardiff City 0-0), while drawing a blank themselves on five occasions; 0-1 at Barnsley, 0-3 at Scnthorpe United & Reading and 0-5 at Derby County.
Leading goalscorers are ex-Everton striker James Vaughan (5 goals, 1 assist) and midfielder Neil Danns (5 goals, 3 assists), while Darren Ambrose has also weighed in with 4 goals.
While Palace have scored in their last five away matches, they’ve won only once which highlights their defensive frailties.
The Verdict: Forest are a good solid home team, and with Palace’s fragile defence on show, I reckon Billy Davies’ men will be keen to put some daylight between themselves and the teams fighting it out in the relegation places.