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3 things we learnt from Nottingham Forest’s first home defeat of the season

(Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)

Championship

3 things we learnt from Nottingham Forest’s first home defeat of the season

Nottingham Forest dropped to ninth in the Championship after their weekend setback.

Nottingham Forest relinquished their unbeaten home record on Saturday, as Norwich City came from behind to win 2-1 on Trentside.

The City Ground had proved a fortress for the Reds this season and having started well against the Canaries this defeat will leave a sour taste.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 26: Aitor Karanka, Manager of Nottingham Forest looks on prior to the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Nottingham Forest and Stoke City at City Ground on September 26, 2018 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Forest now have two away games at Bolton and Leeds coming up and boss Aitor Karanka will be keen to bounce back as quickly as possible.

Following Saturday’s first home defeat, The Boot Room looks at three things we learnt from the game…

Experienced midfield pairing is a no-go

Make no bones about it, Jack Colback and Ben Watson are both useful players in Forest’s squad. Playing them together at home, however, is not proving fruitful.

Playing with two defensive midfielders at home it stifling Forest’s creativity, with Watson and Colback both far too similar to work in tandem.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – AUGUST 07: Jack Colback of Nottingham Forest during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest v West Bromwich Albion at City Ground on August 7, 2018 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/WBA FC via Getty Images)

It would be seriously baffling if Karanka doesn’t recognise this when the Reds travel to Bolton on Wednesday, with Adlene Guedioura surely set to return to the fold.

Playing the experienced duo clearly paid dividends in the win at Middlesbrough. More often than now, however, it has made Forest look like a far weaker outfit.

£6 million man is finally proving his worth

 

Everything Lewis Grabban touches just now turns into gold. It took the prolific striker just seven minutes to notch goal number six of the season against Norwich.

His goal saw him volley home after a neat ball from Joao Carvalho and after a slow start to life in a red shirt he is now starting to prove himself.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 26: Tom Ince of Stoke City battles for the ball with Lewis Grabban of Nottingham Forest during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Nottingham Forest and Stoke City at City Ground on September 26, 2018 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Every club who wants to challenge in the higher echelons of the division needs a proven talisman and Grabban is currently a man bang in form.

The challenge for the Reds now is to provide the 30-year-old with even more chances so that he can improve his tally.

Set-piece problems still persist

For years now Forest have struggled when it comes to defending their own box from dead-ball situations. If the Norwich game is anything to go by, they still have vast work to do.

Michael Dawson hasn’t featured all too often for the Reds this season but if the weekend tells Karanka anything, it could be that he doesn’t sit on the sidelines for much longer.

15th September 2018, Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales; EFL Championship football, Swansea City versus Nottingham Forest; Michael Dawson of Nottingham Forest warms up before the match (photo by Paul Jenkins/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Given the former England man’s height, aerial ability and all-round presence, it seems bizarre that Dawson perhaps hasn’t forced his way into Karanka’s starting line-up a little more often just yet.

Forest can kiss goodbye to any hopes they have of claiming a place in the play-offs if their constant in ability to defend their own box is eradicated quickly.

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