Nottingham Forest vs Wolves: Both sides in desperate need of a boost in EFL Cup clash

Between them, Nottingham Forest and Wolves have lost every league game they have played this season, so which one will be granted relief by the EFL Cup?

When: Tuesday, August 24, 8pm GMT

How to watch: Untelevised

Best bets

Wolves to win and both teams to score at 10/3

Over 2.5 goals at 23/20

Both teams to score in the second half at 13/5

The EFL Cup rumbles on this week and it has thrown up a real cracker at the City Ground.

That may be welcome news to Nottingham Forest, whose solitary win so far this season came in this competition.

Wolves are also struggling for wins, having lost both of their first two Premier League matches, meaning there may be more at stake in this one than mere cup progression.

Last three EFL Cup campaigns

2020/21

Nottingham Forest

Forest had a real 'blink and you'll miss it' flirtation with the EFL Cup last season, as they lost 1-0 to Barnsley in round one.

Due to the fixture challenges brought about by the COVID pandemic, that meant they were out of the cup before their league campaign had even started.

Wolves

Wolves also had an EFL Cup campaign to forget last season, as they lost their only match in the competition to Championship side Stoke.

It was a strong Wolves side too, but Jacob Brown's 86th-minute goal settled it at Molineux.

2019/20

Nottingham Forest

It was a solid showing for Forest in the EFL Cup in 2019/20, although one that ended in a thrashing.

They beat Fleetwood in the first round and secured a satisfying 3-0 win over local rivals Derby in round two.

Sadly, for them, a 5-0 trouncing by Arsenal the Emirates brought their involvement in the competition to an end.

Wolves

Due to their involvement in European competition, Wolves' EFL Cup campaign didn't get underway until the end of September.

They sneaked through their first match at home to Reading thanks to a penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw before being knocked out by Aston Villa at Villa Park.

2018/19

Nottingham Forest

Forest had a very good run in the EFL Cup in 2018/19, and may well be disappointed they weren't able to take it further.

They beat Bury on penalties in round one and then produced a fine performance to beat a strong Newcastle team 3-1 at the City Ground. Stoke followed, again at home, and they were also sent packing.

In the end, it was Burton Albion - so often considered the local minnows - who knocked them out, as Forest fell 3-2 at the Pirelli Stadium.

Wolves

The 2018/19 season also saw Wolves disappoint in the cup, with their involvement again lasting just two matches.

They easily beat Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough but Leicester knocked them out on penalties in the following round after a 0-0 draw at Molineux.

Historic head-to-head

Nottingham Forest wins: 44

Draws: 26

Wolves wins: 61

Forest not far off?

It can be hard to look at a team who have lost four league games out of four this season and see reasons for optimism, but Forest don't look like they are far from clicking into gear.

Two of their defeats have been due to conceding a late winner, and another against a very strong Bournemouth team.

There are positive signs, though. Forest have scored in four of their five matches in all competitions this season, so they know they have a goal in them more often than not.

In Chris Hughton, they have a wily and experienced campaigner who will know not to panic, and you'd not be surprised to see them start winning sooner rather than later.

Wolves a relatively unknown quantity

Wolves are in a similar boat to Forest this season. They are losing games, but not by much.

It's not been an ideal start for new boss Bruno Lage, although he has big boots to fill after replacing Nuno Espirito Santo.

Jamie Vardy goal was enough for Leicester to beat Wolves on the opening day of the season, and Tottenham also beat them 1-0 last weekend thanks to an early penalty.

A Premier League game just over 48 hours ahead of the clash will mean wholesale changes but Lage is not short of resources - Leander Dendoncker and Fabio Silva were both on the bench on Sunday.

One big question mark for Wolves is we don't know just how seriously Lage will be taking the EFL Cup. Is he a manager who sees it as a needless early-season distraction or a welcome opportunity?

Ultimately, it may be the need to exorcise the ghost of Nuno Espirito Santo which holds sway. And while an EFL Cup win at a Championship side won't do that, it would certainly buy him some much-needed time to top up his holy water.

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