Manchester City fans are understandably in buoyant mood after watching their side claim five wins from five Premier League games, including last weekend’s 3-1 success away against West Ham United courtesy of strikes from summer signing Jeremy Doku, Bernardo Silva and Erling Haaland.
Pep Guardiola’s men had to come from behind at half time to claim maximum points in the capital, and they were tasked to do the same on Tuesday night when they began the defence of their Champions League crown at home to Red Star Belgrade, eventually conquering by a 3-1 scoreline in their opening Group G fixture.
Osman Bukari surprisingly put Red Star in front with their first shot on target on the stroke of half time, but a dominant Citizens outfit, who in contrast had 37 shots and 76% possession throughout the 90 minutes, turned the game on
its head after the break thanks to a brace from Julian Alvarez and a composed finish from last season’s Champions League final hero Rodri to help City extend their club record of successive home wins to 19 in all competitions.
Form at the Etihad has been a huge factor behind City’s recent success, and not only do they boast a 27-game unbeaten home run in the Champions League – the third-longest run in the competition’s history – they have also won all 12 of their Premier League home games in 2023, scoring 35 goals in the process.
Man City will fancy their chances of claiming another three points on Saturday and becoming just the second reigning Premier League champion after Chelsea in 2005-06 to win their opening six top-flight games of a season when they take on Nottingham Forest, who they have beaten in each of their last three home meetings without reply, including last season’s thumping 6-0 triumph in August 2022
Nearly three weeks on from losing 1-0 at home to Burnley in the EFL Cup second round, Nottingham Forest were on course to suffer the same defeat heading into the final half-hour of their Premier League clash with the Clarets on Monday.
However, debutant Callum Hudson-Odoi announced himself to the City Ground faithful with a stunning second-half strike from outside the area to rescue a 1-1 draw for Steve Cooper’s side, in a game that Burnley were controversially denied a late winner by VAR because of a dubious handball.
Considering Forest have already faced Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea away from home this season, Cooper will be reasonably pleased to have seen his side accumulate seven points from their first five Premier League games, but another tricky away trip is on the horizon at the home of the reigning champions.
Forest’s slender 1-0 victory at Chelsea in their last match on the road – one of just two away league wins in 14 games since the turn of the year – will breed confidence within Cooper’s squad heading to the Etihad, but they enter Saturday’s fixture having failed to win any of their last six league meetings with Man City.
The only time Forest have celebrated success at the Etihad was as a Championship club back in January 2009 when they stunned the Citizens with a 3-0 FA Cup win under former caretaker boss John Pemberton.