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Awoniyi & Dennis: Zero shots, no assists vs Manchester United highlight Nottingham Forest duo’s struggles

09:38 GMT+3 28/12/2022
Taiwo Awoniyi.
Taiwo Awoniyi and Emmanuel Dennis had a game to forget as they failed to make an attempt on goal in Nottingham Forest’s defeat to Manchester United.
  • Awoniyi & Dennis had a toothless display against Man United
  • The Nigeria internationals failed to make any attempt on goal
  • Forest remain second from bottom following ninth PL defeat

WHAT HAPPENED? Awoniyi was preferred upfront for Forest but he had a toothless display that ended without a shot, on or off target, before Sam Surridge replaced him after 61 minutes. Dennis, meanwhile, was introduced for Orel Mangala at the same time.

Dennis also found the going tough as the Tricky Trees were on the backfoot for most of the game following Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial’s early strikes for United.

Ivorian defender Willy Boly thought he had reduced the arrears with his bouncing header but the goal was disallowed for offside after a lengthy VAR check before substitute Fred scored a late third for the Red Devils.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Awoniyi cut a lonely figure upfront with little service coming his way as he managed 24 touches, having oscillated between centre forward and the left wing.

The Nigeria international ended the game without an attempt on goal while losing possession 16 times with one of those proving costly, as it led to United’s second goal.

Dennis, meanwhile, did not fare any better with his 27 minutes on the pitch yielding no shot on goal while he also gave away the ball late on, leading to the hosts’ third goal.

He tried to atone for his mistake shortly after when he attempted to send a low pass into the box from the edge of the penalty area, but the opposition's defence knocked the ball to safety.

THE VERDICT: The Nigerian strikers have the quality but their job is made more difficult by the lack of creativity in Forest’s midfield and their tendency to play on the back foot. Despite famously signing 22 players before the season began, the club might have to add more quality to the team in the January transfer window to help their cause.

WHAT’S NEXT? Forest face Chelsea in their next Premier League match on Sunday, before they face a run of possibly season-defining matches against fellow PL strugglers Southampton, Wolves, Leicester and Bournemouth in January.