Tricky Trees need to be trickier at both ends

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Much was made before last season of Billy Davies' decision to narrow the City Ground pitch. His decision was made to enable Forest to close down the opposition more easily, although he might soon suggest bringing the touchlines in several MORE yards!

This season, almost every goal Forest have conceded in the league has been from wide areas. A quick recap of the match reports on Forest's official website showed a very strong recurrent theme.

Each time the report moved on to describing the opposition scoring, it read something along the lines of ‘player A got on the end of a cross from player B, and his header found the bottom corner...’

This vulnerability to balls in the air has proved Forest's Achilles heel as they find goals harder to come by than last year. Admittedly, they are only marginally worse off than they were last season, and it wasn't until late November and December that they really hit top gear.

However, these goals are costing Forest points in games they would have won last year, or so one would expect.

The other cause for concern associated with this is the inability to keep clean sheets. Only three so far this season shows a marked change from the previous campaign, and could prove Forest's undoing. Of course, these two points could be related – it may well be the case that the other 23 teams in the division have got a clearer idea of Forest's system this year, and so are better at nullifying the attacking threat and exploiting the weaknesses.

These weaknesses - in both defence and attack - may well have been there since Billy Davies took over nearly two years ago, but only now, with a settled squad and a signature approach are they showing up time and time again.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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Nottingham Forest

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