Forest’s August Review: goal-fests

With a two-week break from the Championship for internationals, this is a good time to review how all 24 teams have looked in their first five league games. Here’s our assessment of Nottingham Forest.

What we said in pre-season

“Ben Brereton and Zach Clough have the potential to tear up the league for Nottingham Forest, who have a young squad tailor-made for Mark Warburton. If they can tighten up and add consistency to the flashes of potential shown under him so far, they could be one to watch. 9th

Have they surprised us?

Clough hasn’t quite had the flying start to the season that we expected and Brereton has only started once, having perhaps done enough to merit more minutes. Generally though, the nature of performances have been as anticipated: they look bright going forward but shoddy at the back.

The positives

The impressive Barrie McKay scored a wonderful diagonal strike in off the post against Millwall, then Andreas ‘Might Bouch’ Bouchalakis netted a spectacular brace at Brentford. The Tricky Trees have scored three goals from outside the 18-yard area this season and only Aston Villa have netted as many from range. Performances show Warbs’ men can think outside the box.

The negatives

Each game they’ve won so far, they could have lost. That strike from McKay preceded a barrage of Millwall pressure, which would have been costly were it not for a disallowed goal and a series of goal-gaping misses. Defensive frailties were also exposed the following week at Griffin Park, where Brentford could easily have scored more than three. Assombalonga also had his chances for Middlesbrough the Saturday after, so a little more control wouldn’t go amiss.

Late business?

That control could be provided by midfielder John McGinn, who has been linked with a move from Hibernian. A centre-back is needed, even if Harlee Dean isn’t an option, while defensively suspect full-backs could be upgraded. Late additions could be funded by the sale of Ben Osborn, who has attracted interest from Leicester.

The Football Lab’s Grade

After a final day scrap last year, winning three league games from five represents progress, even if the process of getting those results could be smoother. B