Gary Lineker sums up Nottingham Forest status in Match of the Day snub

Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Micah Richards on Match of the Day duty as Nottingham Forest lose to Chelsea but are almost sure of their place in the Premier League.
Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Micah Richards on Match of the Day duty as Nottingham Forest lose to Chelsea but are almost sure of their place in the Premier League. -Credit:BBC

It must be some kind of back-handed compliment that Nottingham Forest all-but sealing Premier League status was ultimately so undramatic it didn't warrant any analysis on Match of the Day.

Forest lost 3-2 to Chelsea at the City Ground in their penultimate match of the season, having led 2-1 going into the final 10 minutes of normal time. Goals from Wily Boly and Callum Hudson-Odoi had put the hosts in charge but two in two minutes from Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Jackson - added to Mykhailo Mudryk's early opener - won it for the visitors.

But the most important results of the afternoon were coming in London, where Luton Town were losing 3-1 to West Ham and Burnley were beaten 2-1 by Tottenham. That means that Burnley are officially relegated, five points behind Forest with a game to play, and Luton are as good as doomed. They are three points adrift but 12 behind on goal difference.

READ MORE: Nuno delivers warning as Forest still not mathematically safe

READ MORE: How the Reds rated against Chelsea

MOTD host Gary Lineker summed up their position pretty succinctly going into the final day, saying: “It’s confirmation that Nottingham Forest are as safe as you can be without actually being safe.

“No win for them (this time though) but I thought it was a very entertaining game and Chelsea continue their recent run of form.”

He added: “Forest are almost certain. You daren’t say it in case the silliness happens.

“But despite a points deduction of four points they have stayed up with a total of 29 points and the promoted three clubs have only got 66 points between them.”

Alan Shearer picked out the performance of Jackson in a brief talk about the match itself but there was no dissection of Forest's play.

Luton and Burnley will join Sheffield United straight back in the Championship, unless there is any silliness, and 29 points could be the lowest survival total since three points for a win was introduced in 1981. The previous lowest was West Brom with 34 in 2004/05.

No three promoted clubs have collected fewer combined points. The closest is Sunderland, Birmingham and Derby (85) in 2007/08 while Norwich, Watford and Brentford scrambled to a collective 91 in 2021/22.

Pundit Micah Richards said: “It just shows you the gap. If you’re not ready to adapt to the Premier League then you’re getting punished. Those three promoted teams need to do better,”

Forest head coach Nuno Espirito Santo insists he will not take anything for granted heading into a last day trip to Burnley.

He said: “Of course we are disappointed to lose the game and not be able to give what we wanted to to our fans at the City Ground, which was a victory. That is especially what frustrates and disappoints us the most.

“It is not over. It is virtually. But maybe I am the only person who has seen too many things in football to allow our players to relax. We are going to prepare properly for the next one to finish the season on a high - a season that has been so hard on all of us as a club.”

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