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Arsenal banish Forest demons to stay in title hunt before Liverpool showdown

Arsenal's Gabriel Jesus celebrates/Nervy Arsenal win at Forest sets up crunch Liverpool match/
Gabriel Jesus celebrates his team's opening goal - Rui Vieira/AP

The Premier League title race was finally lost by Mikel Arteta’s players at the City Ground last May and although that 20-year wait for the big one remains an epic quest, Arsenal have placed themselves in the lead pack as the hard run-in begins.

They are in second place for 24 hours at least, before Manchester City host Burnley and Liverpool play Chelsea at Anfield on Wednesday night. Liverpool come to the Emirates on Sunday, and the tighter it gets, the less scope there is for an error.

Comfortable at two goals up, a beautifully robust late finish from the substitute Taiwo Awoniyi suddenly put this game in doubt again for Arsenal. Arteta’s players deserved to win the game but that alone is not always guaranteed to be enough. Come the final five minutes of time added on, suddenly Forest were back in this game and the City Ground had its voice back.

Arteta and his players held on. This had been a game that creaked into life and was, in the small details at least, decided on two big second half mistakes – first from the Forest goalkeeper Matt Turner and then his team-mate, the full-back Gonzalo Montiel. Those were the break-through moments that helped ease the path for Arsenal although the shape of the game was set from early on with all the possession at feet of the away team and Forest trying to keep them out.

It was the resounding win for Luton Town at home to Brighton that makes life even harder for Nuno Espirito Santo. He will have been aware of the presence of owner Evangelos Marinakis behind him in the main stand. The closure of any transfer window can be a febrile time in the life of Nottingham Forest and the Premier League charges over profit and sustainability regulations now collide with a club addicted to player acquisition.

Forest are just two points clear of Everton and awaiting their own fate from the independent commission that decides the punishment for PSR breaches. Every game takes on a significance in struggles such as these, although none more so than the home games. You could see why Nuno might take such a conservative approach against a side as well-grooved as Arsenal although by the end of the evening it felt like a match that had largely passed his team by.

For Arsenal it now feels that Sunday and the visit of Liverpool is another turning point in the season. Arteta would praise the determination of Gabriel Jesus to play despite a knee problem and the medical department counselling rest. Of the final whistle confrontation between Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ben White over the Awoniyi goal, the Arsenal manager said “I love it”. Defeat in May to Steve Cooper’s Forest had been a chastening experience for Arsenal and Arteta referenced it in his first post-match answer.

Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko exchange words at the full-time whistle
Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko exchange words at the full-time whistle - TNT Sports

Jesus was the key player for Arsenal with a goal and an assist before his substitution. Bukayo Saka got the second and Arsenal’s forwards have now combined for 37 goals and assists this season.

It is still some distance behind the attacking players’ combined totals at Manchester City (53) and Liverpool (51) which may go some way to explaining the lack of edge Arsenal suffer from. Yet given how often Arteta is asked about his lack of a decisive goalscorer, this was at least one occasion when he could point to his attacking players making crucial contributions.

As for Nuno, he said “we should have played better”. The two goals, he conceded, were “avoidable”. He said he wanted his team to have more of the ball and ultimately that contributed to their downfall. Awoniyi, Nuno said, had just two training sessions, having last played for Forest on Nov. 16. Anthony Elanga, a late substitute, had trained just once. Chris Wood had to come off at half-time with a muscle problem but it did at least mean that Awoniyi could be unleashed.

Taiwo Awoniyi's late goal made for a nervy finish for Arsenal fans
Taiwo Awoniyi's late goal made for a nervy finish for Arsenal fans - Paul Ellis/AFP

He is unconventional in many aspects but extremely effective, especially in games where Forest have precious few chances. By half an hour Forest had completed one pass in the attacking third. Arsenal had managed 107. Yet by half-time, neither side had registered an attempt on target.

In defence for Forest, the 21-year-old Brazilian Murillo was excellent. What Arsenal required was a mistake, and as the second half unfolded, they were presented with two. Jesus’ goal was down the left side on his weaker left foot. It was far from the most convincing of finishes prodded at the only part of the goal he could see but it went through the unfortunate Turner and the spell was broken.

Seven minutes later Forest transformed an attacking corner into Arsenal’s second goal. As the clearance was launched towards Montiel, Forest’s deepest defender scuffed his pass straight at Martin Odegaard. It was the moment Arsenal seemed to be awaiting. Jesus was released down the left and his pass to Saka advancing in the inside right channel was dispatched perfectly.

That might have been it had Montiel not got on the end of a ball down the right with 89 minutes played and sent a first time header into the area. Awoniyi expertly stepped across William Saliba and moved the defender out of position to take a touch and score. If only Forest had created more moments like that but the late pressure was simply not enough.


Nottingham Forest 1 Arsenal 2: how match unfolded


09:55 PM GMT

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta speaking to TNT Sports


09:49 PM GMT

Elsewhere in the Premier League tonight

At Kenilworth Road Luton have pulled off a huge shock smashing Brighton 4-0. It has finished goalless at Craven Cottage as Fulham and Everton drew 0-0. Crystal Palace are leading Sheffield United 3-2 in the final stages at Selhurst Park. And at Villa Park Newcastle are beating Aston Villa 3-1, which you can follow live here.


09:38 PM GMT

Away form


09:34 PM GMT

Man-of-the-match Gabriel Jesus speaking to TNT Sports

“First of all, to keep trying. First half we did so good, unfortunately, we didn’t score. We controlled the game, the best way to control them is to keep the ball there in the third part of the pitch.

“We did well in the first half but we didn’t score. We did the same in the second half but we scored, that’s all.

“It’s about trust, I arrived at the club with patience and desire to improve. I think I’m doing good, there have been some times injured which I don’t want. No player wants this. So I’m working hard and doing everything to be on the pitch.

“The support of my team-mates is good today. Today I was a bit unlucky with one chance. They keep supporting me, that’s good for the players.


09:26 PM GMT

Full-time

That is it at the City Ground and Arsenal get the three points. They were in control at 2-0 up in the latter stages of that game but Awoniyi’s late goal made it a very nervy ending for Mikel Arteta’s side.


09:23 PM GMT

90+4 minutes: Nottingham Forest 1 Arsenal 2

Arsenal have a free-kick near the edge of the Nottingham Forest box and time is ticking away for the home side to get an equaliser.


09:22 PM GMT

90+3 minutes: Nottingham Forest 1 Arsenal 2

Gibbs-White’s shot from the edge of the box is blocked and it eventually falls to the goalscorer Awoniyi, whose shot is saved by Raya. Why were Nottingham Forest not doing this earlier? There was a quick check from VAR for a possible penalty but nothing was given.


09:20 PM GMT

90+2 minutes: Nottingham Forest 1 Arsenal 2

Nottingham Forest have a corner and Arsenal are going to make a double change. Jorginho and Kiwior are replacing Odegaard and Zinchenko.


09:19 PM GMT

Goal stands

They have checked for offside and it takes so long to make the checks but finally the decision comes through that the goal stands. We are heading into five added minutes. Can Nottingham Forest find a late, late equaliser?


09:18 PM GMT

GOAL! Awoniyi gets a goal back

Game back on? Or is it too little too late? It is headed across the penalty box, Awoniyi takes a great touch and then slots home. VAR is checking for offside in the build-up...


09:13 PM GMT

84 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 2

Saka cuts in from the right onto his preferred left foot but his strike from just inside the Nottingham Forest box goes high and wide.


09:10 PM GMT

82 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 2

Worrying times for Forest. A likely home defeat and a Luton win will drag them closer to the relegation zone, and every point is precious as they wait for the outcome of the Premier League charge. A points deduction would be a huge blow to Nuno Espirito Santo, especially with the teams below them showing signs of fight. Forest returned their response to the charge earlier this week and remain hopeful of avoiding heavy sanctions.


09:10 PM GMT

81 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 2

Trossard cuts in from the left and from a central position just over 20 yards out he lets rip. His effort has a lot of power on it but not enough accuracy as it goes wide of Turner’s left post.


09:06 PM GMT

77 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 2

Odegaard shoots from range but his shot goes well wide. Nottingham Forest are making the final change of their allocation as Elanga returns from injury to replace Williams.

Arsenal are making a double change as Jesus and Martinelli are replaced by Nketiah and Trossard.


09:01 PM GMT

GOAL! Saka makes it 2-0

That feels like game, set and match. Arsenal counter and Jesus has it on the left as the Arsenal players pile forward. He finds Saka in space on the right-hand side of the penalty area and he finds the bottom corner to double Arsenal’s advantage.

Only Bukayo Saka’s second goal in his last eight Arsenal appearances, but it has been coming. Another devastating counter-attack and punishing a really bad mistake from Gonzalo Montiel. Arsenal on course to finally end their wait for a win at the City Ground.


09:00 PM GMT

70 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 1

Nottingham Forest have a corner on the right after Williams’ cross is deflected behind.

Before that Arsenal are making a change as Havertz replaces Smith Rowe, who was very quiet. Nottingham Forest also make a change as Yates comes on for Mangala, who has been linked with a move away.

Arsenal clear it away.


08:58 PM GMT

70 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 1

Curse of the Perce. Turner badly at fault there, after allowing Gabriel Jesus to find the tiniest gap to put Arsenal ahead. There were loud celebrations near us from the Arsenal analysts sitting in the press box. Sadly not a rare occurrence nowadays, and one wonders how they are allowed to get away with it.


08:54 PM GMT

GOAL! Jesus gives Arsenal the lead

Arsenal are ahead and it has felt that it has been coming. It comes from a throw-in which Nottingham Forest are too sleepy to deal with. Jesus has it inside the box and from a very narrow angle he finds a way through Turner’s legs and into the net. That was awful goalkeeping from the former Arsenal man Turner. Arsenal 1-0 up.

Gabriel Jesus scores with his weaker left foot from a silly angle. Unfortunate mistake from Matt Turner. It went right through him.


08:52 PM GMT

64 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Nottingham Forest are bringing on Hudson-Odoi for Dominguez.


08:48 PM GMT

60 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Simon Hooper stops play as Saka is down and the home fans are very angry as Hooper did not stop play in the first half when Montiel was down. Saka is back on his feet very quickly. He could not have been that hurt.


08:47 PM GMT

59 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Jesus attempts a Gazza flick over his head and volley inside the Nottingham Forest box. The first bit is done really well but his shot misses the target by quite some way.


08:46 PM GMT

58 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Jesus hits the post! Arsenal work it well inside the Nottingham Forest box through Saka and Odegaard and it finds Jesus on the right-hand side of the penalty area. His strike smashes back off the post. That is probably the first big chance that Arsenal have created tonight.


08:44 PM GMT

56 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

There’s been a lot of scrutiny on Forest goalkeeper Matt Turner this season, after his £8m move from Arsenal. He has made a number of mistakes but has just produced a fine save from Bukayo Saka’s deflected shot. He needs a decent performance to boost his confidence. Murillo, in front of him at centre-half, is having an excellent game for the home team.


08:44 PM GMT

55 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Arsenal have had a number of corners in this match and here is another one from the left in front of the visiting fans. Rice takes an inswinger but it is headed away from danger.


08:42 PM GMT

53 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Chance for Arsenal. Saka has it inside the Nottingham Forest box on the right and his shot takes a deflection off Toffolo. Turner gets down to his right to make the save.


08:41 PM GMT

52 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Chance for Nottingham Forest. They send in a free-kick into the Arsenal box and after a series of headers, Williams himself heads towards goal but it is a fairly simple save for Raya.


08:40 PM GMT

51 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Nottingham Forest break and Gibbs-White drives forward. It looks like it is a two-on-one and he has the opportunity to find Awoniyi, who would have been one-on-one with Raya. But Gibbs-White’s pass is inaccurate and Saliba intercepts. That was a real chance for the home side.


08:37 PM GMT

49 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Murillo is on hand to clear away Martinelli’s cross.


08:37 PM GMT

48 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

The pattern of the first half has continued at the start of this second half with Arsenal dominating possession and Nottingham Forest sitting in their compact shape.


08:33 PM GMT

Second half

We are back under way at the City Ground and there is a change for the home side as Awoniyi makes his return from injury to replace Wood.


08:31 PM GMT

Elsewhere in the Premier League

The goals are flying in at other grounds currently. At Kenilworth Road Luton lead Brighton 3-0 approaching half-time and it is 2-2 currently between Crystal Palace and Sheffield United and they have only been going half an hour.


08:27 PM GMT

Busy end to the window for Forest?

There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes at Forest during this game. Ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline, Forest are determined to move on a number of fringe players to create space for a couple of new signings. With Forest under scrutiny after breaching financial rules, there won’t be a flurry of activity but Forest really do need to trim their squad. Scott McKenna, the Scotland international, moved to FC Copenhagen today on loan. Divock Origi’s loan from AC Milan is set to be ripped up, while there could also be exits for Orel Mangala, Joe Worrall and Ethan Horvath.


08:20 PM GMT

All square at the break

Poor first half. Arsenal have ground out territory but they have also been ponderous against a deep-lying Forest team. Even with the ball in the Forest area, Arteta’s players have struggled to carve out a really good chance. Arteta has given Emile Smith Rowe his first Premier League start since Oct 28. It has been hard for him to get to the pace of the game. Forest are surviving minute-by-minute.


08:19 PM GMT

Half-time

Odegaard finds Jesus at the far post and his header is tipped over the bar by Turner. But there will be no corner as referee Simon Hooper blows his whistle for half-time.


08:16 PM GMT

45 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

There will be three added minutes at the end of the first half.

Zinchenko whips in a cross from the left and Jesus wins the header, but he cannot keep his effort down and it sails over the bar.


08:15 PM GMT

44 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

This is the stadium where Mikel Arteta went crazy at his players in the dressing room, as seen in that Arsenal documentary on Amazon. He won’t be losing it at this performance, so far, but he’s clearly getting frustrated that his team aren’t making their possession and dominance count.


08:14 PM GMT

44 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Arsenal come very close to taking the lead. Saka has an effort from around 10 yards out and Murillo sticks his foot out to block. It rolls just past the post and out for an Arsenal corner. Rice whips it into the near post and Nottingham Forest clear.


08:12 PM GMT

42 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Danilo wins the ball in the centre of the pitch and skips past Rice. He keeps going and going towards the Arsenal box and lets fly. But his effort just keeps rising and goes over Raya’s bar. That has got the home fans going.


08:10 PM GMT

41 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Jesus is the first man into the referee’s book tonight for dissent.


08:09 PM GMT

40 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Nottingham Forest continue to get the blocks in after Saka, Odgeaard and White exchange passes in the penalty area on the right-hand side.


08:08 PM GMT

39 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Despite Arsenal’s dominance in terms of possession in this first half, they have struggled to carve out clear-cut opportunities.


08:07 PM GMT

38 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Evangelos Marinakis is sat in his usual seat/throne in the main stand. Christian Karembeu and Lilian Thuram also in attendance. If this is going to be the way Forest survive this season it could be a long 16 games. Murillo has been excellent at centre-half.


08:07 PM GMT

37 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Montiel is back on his feet and has continued.


08:06 PM GMT

36 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Nottingham Forest are unhappy that play was not stopped when Montiel went down inside his own box. Jesus then had a shot blocked and eventually Zinchenko’s cross goes behind for a goal-kick. Montiel had got back up but he has gone down again and is receiving treatment on his shoulder.


08:04 PM GMT

34 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Like at Kenilworth Road, there has been a very early goal mat Selhurst Park where the visitors Sheffield United have taken the lead through Brereton Diaz.


08:02 PM GMT

32 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Very flat at the City Ground - the monitors showing the game on TNT Sports have just pointed out Forest have completed one pass in their attacking final third in 29 minutes. Arsenal have managed 107. Either way it’s an uneventful game so far.


08:00 PM GMT

30 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Smith Rowe tries to curl one into the top corner from the edge of the box but his effort does not trouble Turner’s goal.


07:58 PM GMT

29 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Arsenal are knocking on the door here and if Nottingham Forest cannot gain some control and keep hold of the ball for a period, it feels like a goal for the visitors might be coming.


07:57 PM GMT

28 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Nottingham Forest want a handball against Rice but nothing is given. Arsenal break through Martinelli down the left. He tries to find Saka in the centre but the cross is cut out and goes behind for another Arsenal corner. Rice’s delivery is too deep.


07:56 PM GMT

26 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Odegaard sends the free-kick into the box but Turner shows good authority in his own penalty area and catches with ease.


07:55 PM GMT

25 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Rice sends in a dangerous inswinger from the left which Nottingham Forest do well to clear away. Arsenal have a free-kick in a good position after Williams is penalised for handball.


07:54 PM GMT

23 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Nottingham Forest are on the counter and Wood takes a shot on from just outside the Arsenal box but his effort is blocked.

Down the other end Arsenal have a corner as Martinelli’s cross is deflected behind.


07:51 PM GMT

20 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Elsewhere in the Premier League tonight there are four other games, including two games that have just kicked off at 7.45pm. Luton are already 2-0 up against Brighton inside just three minutes. What a start from Luton! Fulham are hosting Everton at Craven Cottage.

Crystal Palace vs Sheffield United kicks off at 8.00pm and Aston Villa host Newcastle at 8.15pm, which you can follow live here.


07:47 PM GMT

17 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Turner is back on his feet and looks fine to continue.


07:46 PM GMT

15 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Turner, in goal tonight for Nottingham Forest, is down receiving some treatment. It looks like his hand is the issue.


07:45 PM GMT

14 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Another chance for Arsenal. Smith Rowe crosses from the left-hand side of the penalty area and tries to find Jesus. It is deflected behind for a second corner of the night for the visitors. It is played short and works its way to Saka centrally, whose shot is blocked.


07:43 PM GMT

13 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Odegaard has an effort from inside the Nottingham Forest box around 12 yards out but it is well blocked. Nottingham Forest are a little bit under the cosh here.


07:41 PM GMT

10 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Arsenal have the first corner of the night from the right. Saka to take an inswinger. The former Arsenal man Turner tries to punch the ball away but does not get a great contact on it. Danilo is on hand to hook the ball away from danger.


07:40 PM GMT

9 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Saka makes a dangerous run into the Nottingham Forest box and crosses from the right but his cross is blocked and cleared away. Nottingham Forest need to be careful there with Saka getting into those areas.


07:35 PM GMT

5 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Nottingham Forest make their first foray forward after neat play in the midfield by Dominguez but Wood cannot gather as he was running towards the Arsenal penalty area.


07:34 PM GMT

3 minutes: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 0

Arsenal are enjoying most of the early possession and Nottingham Forest seem content currently to sit in their shape, be compact and look to counter-attack.


07:30 PM GMT

Kick-off

Mull of Kintyre rings around the City Ground. If you did not know, that was the best-selling single of the 1970’s.

We are under way.


07:27 PM GMT

Kick-off fast approaching

Both sides have emerged from the tunnel and we are just moments away from kick-off at the City Ground.


07:26 PM GMT

TNT Sports crew talk Emile Smith Rowe


07:24 PM GMT

Reminder of the team news

Nottingham Forest: Turner, Montiel, Omobamidele, Murillo, Toffolo, Mangala, Danilo, Williams, Gibbs-White, Dominguez, Wood.

Subs: Hennessey, Vlachodimos, Worrall, Awoniyi, Hudson-Odoi, Felipe, Elanga, Yates, Aguilera.

Arsenal: Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Rice, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.

Subs: Ramsdale, Kiwior, Soares, Walters, Jorginho, Trossard, Havertz, Nelson, Nketiah.


07:21 PM GMT

Nottingham Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo talking to TNT Sports


07:16 PM GMT

Visitors getting ready


07:16 PM GMT

Hosts out to warm up


07:08 PM GMT

Nottingham Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo speaking to TNT Sports

“We decided to bring them [Elanga and Awoniyi]. They are not totally ready. They’ve only had a couple of sessions. Let’s see how we can manage them.

“I believe if you give routines and try to create some ideas, it’s easier. But when you have so many injuries, you have to choose.

“We are aware of the points deduction situation. But it’s not part of our day, we don’t speak about it. When he decision comes, we have to face it. We have people taking that on, but our job is to play.

“We believe we have talent, now it’s about getting the team compact, organised and get a clean sheet. The supporters here at the City Ground is amazing, we rely on that.”


06:58 PM GMT

Elanga back from injury on the bench


06:54 PM GMT

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta speaking to TNT Sports

On Emile Smith Rowe:

“He’s playing really good, he deserves it and has been training really well. He’s had some consistency now and he is ready to impact the games now.”

On playing at the City Ground:

“You have to play with a lot of personality and impose yourself in these atmospheres.”


06:52 PM GMT

Smith Rowe gets a start


06:49 PM GMT

Visitors in the building


06:44 PM GMT

Full team news

Nottingham Forest make three changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Bristol City in the FA Cup. Harry Toffolo, Neco Williams and Morgan Gibbs-White come into the starting XI.

Taiwo Awoniyi, Felipe and Anthony Elanga all return from injury on the bench.

Nottingham Forest: Turner, Montiel, Omobamidele, Murillo, Toffolo, Mangala, Danilo, Williams, Gibbs-White, Dominguez, Wood.

Subs: Hennessey, Vlachodimos, Worrall, Awoniyi, Hudson-Odoi, Felipe, Elanga, Yates, Aguilera.

Arsenal make two changes from their last match, a 5-0 win over Crystal Palace. Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe come into the starting XI, replacing Leandro Trossard and Kai Havertz.

Arsenal: Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Rice, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.

Subs: Ramsdale, Kiwior, Soares, Walters, Jorginho, Trossard, Havertz, Nelson, Nketiah.


06:40 PM GMT

Home side arriving


06:31 PM GMT

Arsenal team news


06:31 PM GMT

Nottingham Forest team news


06:27 PM GMT

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06:24 PM GMT

Match preview

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has branded claims from Spanish media that he is set to replace Xavi at Barcelona in the summer as “fake news”. Xavi announced on Saturday that he is stepping down as Barcelona manager at the end of the season but Arteta has denied those reports circulating in the Spanish media.

“Who, me? No. That is totally fake news,” said Arteta.

“What you read, I’m really upset about it. I couldn’t believe it. It has no sources. I’m in the right place with the right people and feel really good about it.

“I’m embracing a beautiful journey with this club and there’s still a lot to do. I have a strong relationship with the board.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta arrives before the match
Arsenal are looking to close the gap to leader Liverpool to two points tonight if they claim all three points against Nottingham Forest - Lee Smith/Reuters

“Things come in a natural way. When the time is right we will have those [contract] discussions and find the best way to deal with it.”

Arsenal go into tonight’s game at the City Ground in third place, five points behind leaders Liverpool. They were not involved in the FA Cup fourth round having already been knocked out of the competition by Liverpool in the third round. The visitors are hoping to end a poor recent run of form away from home; they have gone three league away games without victory and have only on two of their seven road games.

Nottingham Forest were last in action on Friday night in the FA Cup fourth round, where they drew 0-0 away at Bristol City which will see them go to a replay.

Nottingham Forest are aiming for a fourth consecutive home win over Arsenal in all competitions. Arsenal’s last away league win at the City Ground came in January 1999 with a 1-0 victory. The hosts are currently 16th in the Premier League, two places and four points above the relegation zone.

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