Nottingham Forest secure Premier League survival by beating Burnley 2-1

Nottingham Forest’s Premier League status was finally secured with a 2-1 win over Burnley and a party atmosphere at Turf Moor, after a season many will be pleased to see the back of. George Edwards was at the game

The Reds are staying up, olay, olay!

Finally, we can sing it. Sing it with joy, passion and relief. Sing it with excitement, delirium and enjoyment. Sing it with all of our hearts.

This season has been as chaotic as a Nottingham Forest season can be. A change in manager, reoccurring defensive frailty and off-the-pitch issues taking the headlines.

But none of that mattered at Turf Moor. It was a day when the negative thoughts were parked and the jubilance began. Against the media and against the Premier League, Nottingham had proven itself as the rebel city and its club had lived up to that label.

Many hoped and expected Forest to be challenging towards the upper half of the league at the start of the campaign, building on their sensational survival story of last season. Natural progression was expected, particularly given the further influx of players.

It became pretty clear early on that that wouldn’t be the case. A failure to beat the teams around them sucked Forest into a relegation battle, a fight that kept throwing punches just when they thought they’d gotten out of it.

An away win at Chelsea couldn’t ignite them. New manager bounce with two wins to close 2023 couldn’t ignite them. And just as they were pulling away, they were struck back down by a points deduction.

It went down to the wire, but doesn’t it always with this club?

On the pitch, Forest acquired 36 points, 10 more than 18th-placed Luton, showing their supremacy compared to the bottom three. That’s two points less than last season, a stat that elucidates just why there have been doubts about Nuno going forward.

Those doubts were parked as Burnley brought the best out of everyone. Nuno’s name was sung with glee by the entire away end, with the manager seen to serenade and salsa to his savoured song following the final whistle. Many aren’t convinced by him, but it was clear he has the players backing and love, and he cares dearly about the job in hand.

Chris Wood netting two goals as Forest won 2-1 reminded everyone of his importance to the Reds’ survival. He’s struggled to hit the target of late, but his 14 league goals beats the 10 scored by Taiwo Awoniyi last season; the Reds would be down without his vital interventions.

Murillo has done everything but score this season. His confidence playing out from the back, his tremendous tendency to bail Forest out and his glowing self-confidence have all contributed to an incredible breakthrough season. Everyone from a Forest persuasion was willing the Brazilian on to score on the final day. That wasn’t meant to be, but Murillo’s name will be forever cherished and savoured, regardless of whether he wears a red shirt next season or not.

There are plenty of other names you could credit. Ola Aina, Neco Williams, Ryan Yates. All grafters who have given everything for the shirt and have never hidden.

But the shining gem has been Morgan Gibbs-White. Even on his quieter days, he is central to Forest’s positive play and is the figurehead of the Reds attack. He relishes being Forest’s main man and is the one player who looks irreplaceable.

Granted, it’s not all been positive — far from it in fact. Forest have conceded the fourth most non-penalty set-piece goals of any Premier League side this season and, as mentioned, have regressed from last season’s points total. Their away form has improved — four wins now this term on the road, and the Burnley victory means it’s back-to-back away league wins for the first time since 1995 — but their home form has simultaneously faltered. And the inseparable connection between the club, players and supporters faltered as expectations rose.

But Forest will be in the mix next year. They fight to live another day. Next season is sure to be tougher, with the standard at the bottom likely to rise. However, for now at least, warmth can be taken from the fact that Forest remain in the promised land and the only way has to be up.

You Reds.

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