Nottingham Forest 3-1 Fulham: Morgan Gibbs-White shines to ...

17 days ago

Morgan Gibbs-White inspired Nottingham Forest to a 3-1 win over Fulham to partly ease Nuno Espirito Santo's side's Premier League relegation fears.

Nottm Forest vs Fulham - Figure 1
Photo Sky Sports

The home side made a dream start, racing into a 2-0 lead after just 19 minutes thanks to goals from Callum Hudson-Odoi and Chris Wood, before Gibbs-White added a third in first-half injury time.

Image: Morgan Gibbs-White celebrates scoring Nottingham Forest's third goal
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However, Tosin headed a goal back for Fulham at the start of the second period as Forest nerves began to jangle, but the hosts held on for just a second league win in their 11 matches to move three points clear of Luton Town in 18th, while the visitors stay 12th in the table.

Player ratings

Nottm Forest: Sels (7), Williams (8), Omobamidele (7), Murillo (8), Aina (7), Yates (8), Danilo (7), Elanga (7), Gibbs-White (9), Hudson-Odoi (8), Wood (8)

Subs used: Toffolo (6), Dominguez (6), Reyna (6), Origi (7)

Fulham: Leno (6), Tete (7), Adarabioyo (7), Bassey (6), Robinson (7), Joao Palhinha (6), Lukic (6), Wilson (6), Andreas Pereira (7), Iwobi (6), Rodrigo Muniz (6)

Subs used: Reed (6), Cairney (6), Traore (7), Ream, De Cordova-Reid (6), Willian (7)

Player of the match: Morgan Gibbs-White

How Forest got back to winning ways to boost survival hopes

Nuno's side arrived at the City Ground having won just once on their previous 10 league outings - victory over West Ham United at home in mid-February - a poor run that coupled with their four-point deduction for breaching the league's Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR) had left them just a place above the drop zone and in desperate need of all three points.

Nottm Forest vs Fulham - Figure 2
Photo Sky Sports

Image: Chris Wood celebrates scoring his team's second goal with Morgan Gibbs-White

However, not even the Portuguese could have envisioned the start his team made to the contest as they took a ninth-minute lead after some wonderful play by Gibbs-White in the middle of the park as the playmaker did a Cruyff turn, before sending Hudson-Odoi free with a lovely pass.

The forward still had work to do, though, to score, only to chop back inside and find the far corner of the net with a neat finish for his fifth league goal of the campaign.

Team news

Forest made three changes to the team that were held 1-1 at home by Crystal Palace on Saturday, with Andrew Omobamidele, Danilo and Anthony Elanga all given the nod to start.

That meant both Ibrahim Sangare and Divock Origi had to settle for places in the bench, while Felipe did not even make the matchday squad and Willy Boly failed his late fitness test and so also missed out.

As for Fulham, the visitors made two alterations to the side that drew 3-3 at Sheffield United on Saturday, with manager Marco Silva recalling Harry Wilson and Kenny Tete to his starting lineup in place of the benched duo of Timothy Castagne and Willian.

One became two 10 minutes later as this time Wood tried his luck from distance, catching Fulham No 1 Bernd Leno out with his early shot with the German rooted to his line as the striker found the bottom left-hand corner to send the City Ground into raptures.

Fulham head coach Marco Silva responded by making a triple change just past the half-hour mark, only for Forest to strike next on the cusp of half-time as Danilo fed Gibbs-White in the box, with the player of the match doing the rest with a composed finish to cap off an eye-catching first 45 minutes.

Nottm Forest vs Fulham - Figure 3
Photo Sky Sports

Image: Callum Hudson-Odoi celebrates after Nottingham Forest take an early lead

The visitors had produced a stunning fightback to draw 3-3 at Sheffield United on Saturday and when Tosin rose highest to head in Andreas Pereira's left-wing corner four minutes into the second half, the game turned on its head.

However, despite a second-half onslaught, Forest held firm to avenge their 5-0 loss at Fulham in December and register a vital win - including scoring three at home in the league for the first time this season - that moves them three points clear of the drop zone, for now at least.

Forest's record-equalling first-half display - Opta statsNottingham Forest's 3-0 lead over Fulham at half-time was their joint-biggest in the Premier League, after leading Ipswich Town 4-1 in December 1994 and Leeds United 3-0 in March 1995.Nottingham Forest are unbeaten in each of their last three league games (W1 D2), their longest run since three successive draws in October earlier this season.Fulham have conceded at least three goals in successive Premier League games for the first time since March 2023, while they've won just one of their last 15 away league matches (D5 L9).Fulham's three substitutes in the 33rd minute is the second-earliest a side has made three substitutions in a Premier League game after Stoke made their third against Sunderland in the 30th minute in February 2009.

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Sky Sports' Danyal Khan looks at Nottingham Forest's strong performance against Fulham and why the Cottagers' away form is weak right now
What the managers said...

Nottingham Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo:

Nottm Forest vs Fulham - Figure 4
Photo Sky Sports

"Morgan is a very special player for us. Very important, talented, the work rate on the pitch, but to allow Morgan tohave these moments a lot of things happen behind, hard work by the boys and this is very important.

"Of course I am pleased, I am pleased with the performance, it was a good one, much improvement from previous games.

"After the points deduction, it was very important we had some urgency of getting some good results. It's what we fight for, it's about points and we need them desperately.

"With all the noise that's going on around us, it's very hard to keep that togetherness. But the credit goes to the players because they are sticking with their tasks.

"We know it was important for us today, but let's not get over the moon. There is still a long way to go."

Fulham boss Marco Silva:

"Bad performance, disappointing evening for us, really disappointing result. When you don't start the game the way you should of course you are going to get punished.

"In the first half we didn't play, we were there but we didn't play. We weren't there, we didn't do what we planned, we were so, so slow.

"We were not aggressive, the will was not there and this is the first time since this long journey started in 2021 that this has happened.

"Football is to play from the first minute not just the second half. When I made the triple change, at that moment the team needed much more changes than three.

"Overall we were not playing, as a collective we were not there. It is important to say it wasn't the fault of the three at all. It was a tactical change."

How long can Forest keep hold of Gibbs-White?

Analysis by Sky Sports' Richard Morgan:

Nottm Forest vs Fulham - Figure 5
Photo Sky Sports

"It is no real surprise that Arsenal and Tottenham are reportedly both interested in signing Nottingham Forest playmaker Morgan Gibbs-White this summer given his form for the struggling Premier League side this season.

"However, if either of the north London clubs had scouts in attendance at the City Ground on Tuesday night, then expect offers to come rolling in for the hugely talented 24-year-old after his player-of-the-match performance helped inspire his side to a crucial 3-1 win over Fulham that eased their relegation fears.

"Gibbs-White was the star of the show, displaying breath-taking skill to set up Forest's opener for Callum Hudson-Odoi, before coolly rounding off a lovely move to put his team 3-0 up at the break.

Image: Morgan Gibbs-White celebrates his goal

"And just when it seemed the home side were about to throw away all their first-half hard work, it was Gibbs-White who they turned to to bring some composure to the hosts in the final quarter of the game.

"There were some who questioned what the future held for the player at the City Ground when Nuno Espirito Santo took over after the Portuguese had sold him to Forest, but the Forest boss is no fool and knows his side cannot survive this season without their precious playmaker.

"The only problem is, after performances like this, will he still be a City player next season?"

'If Forest play anywhere near this level, then they will be absolutely fine'

Analysis by Jobi McAnuff on Soccer Special:

Image: Nottingham Forest's Morgan Gibbs-White celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game

"A massive win - they scored three, but could have scored five, six, seven, they were that dominant, particularly in the first half, just so much pace, they were absolutely electric.

"Elanga, Hudson-Odoi and Gibbs-White, who was brilliant, picking his spaces and understanding when to release those players. And then they have Wood, a striker who is in good form of late.

"So when I look at those teams down there and think, 'who are the teams who have got players who can really go and win games? Forest would be one of those teams and if they play anywhere near this level, then they will be absolutely fine."

What's next?

Nottingham Forest are back in Premier League action on Super Sunday, travelling to Tottenham live on Sky Sports; kick-off 6pm.

Fulham play next on Saturday, hosting Newcastle at Craven Cottage; kick-off 3pm.

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