West Ham United-Nottingham Forest Preview
Nottingham Forest coach Steve Cooper says his side want to deliver a spectacle for their fans upon their first home game back in the Premier League, as they prepare to welcome West Ham to the City Ground this weekend.
After a prolonged absence from the top-flight of English football, the former European champions are finally back in the mix, and determined to prove they belong there.
A whole generation of fans have grown up with the club outside of the Premier League, and Cooper is all too aware that there is the expectation to craft a new legacy when they open their home campaign against the Hammers.
"We need to thrive in it, no doubt for the Nottingham public it is a big game," he stated.
"It's our first home game back in the Premier League, but at the same time we have to focus on what we are in control of - that is the game, the performance and the result. The fans deserve Sunday, they deserve Premier League football and the spotlight being back on their club.
"For a younger generation it is good for them to understand the history and where it is now and where it wants to go. We have to try to make sure we do everyone proud by approaching the game with a positive manner, with the intention to influence the game in our way and the way we play."
Opposite number David Moyes meanwhile was quick to pay tribute to Cooper and his efforts, adding that Forest will present no less a test merely because they are the new boys in town.
"It's a big challenge," he added. "You only need to look at what Fulham have done in their first game, what Bournemouth have done. If you had a choice, you wouldn't want to play the newly promoted sides towards the early games of the season.
"I've got big respect for the manager Steve Cooper, he's done an incredible job to get them into the Premier League and I have to give him huge praise for what they've done. I've been hugely impressed with them."
Forest - Jesse Lingard
It's a reunion with an old club for the England man this weekend. Lingard was involved in 13 goals in 16 Premier League appearances for West Ham during a loan spell from Manchester United - and if his return is anywhere in the ballpark this term, he'll do superb this term.
West Ham - Declan Rice
Another England international to keep an eye on, the midfielder will likely anchor the midfield for the Three Lions in Qatar later this year. But he'll have to shake off a frustrating first match against Manchester City, where his skills were mostly nullified.
- This is the first meeting between Nottingham Forest and West Ham United in any competition since January 2014, when Forest won 5-0 in an FA Cup tie at the City Ground.
- West Ham only lost one of their eight Premier League matches against Nottingham Forest between 1994 and 1999 (W4 D3), a 1-0 home defeat in January 1997. They are unbeaten in eight top-flight visits to the City Ground, since Brian Clough's Forest beat them 2-1 in April 1986.
- West Ham have won 10 of their last 14 Premier League games against promoted sides (D2 L2), with both of their defeats in this run coming against Brentford last season.
- This is Nottingham Forest's first home Premier League match since May 1999, winning 1-0 against Leicester in what was Ron Atkinson's final game as a manager in English football. They won their final seven home league games last season, last winning more in a row between November 2009 and March 2010 (12).
- This will be Nottingham Forest's 200th Premier League game - just one of the last 10 sides to reach the milestone has won their 200th match, with Watford beating Huddersfield 3-0 in October 2018.
Updated August 13, 2022