Pep Guardiola has challenged Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish to keep Manchester City at the Premier League summit after reclaiming top spot from Arsenal.
City defeated Arsenal 3-1 in midweek to usurp their title rivals on goal difference for the first time since November, though the Gunners do still have a game in hand.
De Bruyne and Grealish were both on the scoresheet against Arsenal and are expected to start Saturday’s match away at Nottingham Forest.
“I’m so pleased for everyone, but I want more,” Guardiola said ahead of the match at the City Ground. “I still have the feeling Kevin can do more and Jack can do more.
“[Grealish] scored a fantastic goal, but I know the demands we have here until the end of the season. We need the players to have the feeling we can do better.
“We were aware we had to put the shoes on again and try to be close to the top of the league, and now we are there, we are close.”
City have won four of their past five league games, while Forest enjoyed a good run of form themselves prior to their five-match unbeaten run being ended by Fulham last week.
Reds boss Steve Cooper insists his side, who have climbed six points clear of the relegation zone, have nothing to fear when they take on leaders City.
“Whatever team City play, they’re incredible all over the pitch so we’ll have to be perfect,” he said. “But that is what the club longed for.
“Every game in the Premier League, home and away, is brilliant and I’m sure this is one our supporters will look forward to.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Nottingham Forest – Brennan Johnson
Forest’s upturn in form has coincided with Johnson finding his feet in the top flight, the Wales international having scored three and assisted two more in his past five games. The 21-year-old has scored in his past two home Premier League matches, and is out to become only the fourth Forest player to net in three in a row at the City Ground in the competition.
Manchester City – Kevin De Bruyne
Belgian playmaker De Bruyne has been directly involved in 25 goals in 34 Premier League appearances against promoted teams (eight goals and 17 assists). However, he did not score against Forest in his cameo appearance earlier in the season, making them one of two sides he has faced in the competition without scoring or assisting (the other being Huddersfield Town).
KEY OPTA FACTS
– This is the first time Forest are hosting City in a league match since October 2001 (1-1 in second tier), and the first time in a Premier League match since September 1995 (3-0 win).
– City won the reverse fixture against Forest 6-0 – they last completed a top-flight double over them back in the 1990-91 season.
– Since losing three Premier League games in a row at the City Ground in August and September, Nottingham Forest are unbeaten in seven on home soil (W4 D3), which is their best home unbeaten run in the top-flight since a 20-game stretch between February 1995 and January 1996.
– City have won their past nine Premier League games against promoted sides since a 2-1 home defeat to Leeds United in April 2021. Away from home, they have won their past five in a row and not lost since September 2019 against Norwich City.
– Forest have lost their past seven Premier League games against the reigning champions by an aggregate score of 29-3, including a 6-0 defeat to Man City earlier this season. Their last win against the reigning champions was in December 1994 away at Man Utd (2-1).