Nottingham Forest must eradicate slow starts if they want to make playoffs

Championship Picks

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

Nottingham Forest’s start to the season has been pretty good so far as they sit tenth in the Championship table.

After an opening day defeat to Midlands rivals West Brom, the Reds have gone unbeaten winning two games and drawing three others.

Their form has also spread into the Carabao Cup where they thrashed Derby County 3-0 to earn a tie against Arsenal in the third round.

There isn’t much to fault with Sabri Lamouchi and his side so far this season, but if there was one issue, it would be their slow and ponderous starts to matches.

It’s something that’ll need to be addressed if Forest have real ambitions to be in and around the playoffs this season.

On the Chalkboard

Albert Adomah was needed again to salvage a point against Preston North End on Saturday.

And following the game, the manager acknowledged the fact that they are poor during the first half of matches, even taking responsibility for doing so.

The contrast over the two halves for Forest is rather remarkable.

If matches ended based on the first 45 minutes alone, then they would sit 13th in the table compared to fourth if the standings were based upon the second half – they’d actually be unbeaten too.

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Forest’s last three wins in both the league and the cup have happened when they’ve netted in the first half also going into the break with the lead.

Sandwiched between those victories have been two 1-1 draws where they were a goal down at the interval, needing heroics from Adomah to ensure they didn’t lose the match – versus Preston and Charlton.

That does take some bottle in itself, but the aforementioned figures show that Forest are rather resolute and can hold onto a lead to see a game out.

Therefore, it is something that Lamouchi needs to address as the season goes on – it may well be the difference between missing out on the playoffs and being a solid contender.

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