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What happened when Nottingham Forest last raided the Portuguese market

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Nottingham Forest complete triple raid on Portuguese market – What happened the last time when they did it

There has been no shortage of excitement in the 2019 summer transfer window and the football fans in England currently seem to be in the grip of the transfer fever at the moment, with the excitement levels rocketing sky-high as the deadline day in August draws closer.

The Premier League clubs have already made the headlines with some big-money deals for emerging European stars but the Championship promotion-hopefuls are not far behind either.

Shifting our focus to the EFL Championship, Nottingham Forest are one of the first names that come to our mind when we talk about bringing in high-profile players from other European leagues.

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It’s quite clear that there is no shortage of cash at the City Ground and the two-time European Cup winners, indeed, have the reputation and the pulling power to attract quality young talents from across the continent.

The two-time European champions got their business underway this summer by sacking O’Neill and appointing former Rennes manager Sabri Lamouchi at the helm of affairs.

Forest have already made the headlines with yet another triple raid on the Portuguese market. Over the past few seasons, Forest have shown an inclination to bring in some burgeoning young talents from the Portuguese top-flight.

Apart from the signing of Joao Carvalho from Benfica last summer, Forest brought in the likes of Tobias Figueiredo, Diogo Goncalves, and Gil Dias.

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Neither of the signings particularly lived up to the expectations last season, however, the fans at the City Ground have every reason to be optimistic about the club’s new acquisitions this time around.

It is true that Forest’s triple raid on the Portuguese market last summer didn’t produce the desired outcome but the likes of Tiago Silva, Yuri Ribeiro, and Alfa Semedo can be looked at as intelligent additions to the squad, particularly due to the fact that neither of them has come through the door at the City Ground for a big sum of money.

As opposed to last summer when Forest splashed out a record £13.5million on Joao Carvalho, the club’s approach to the transfer scheme of things hasn’t really been the same this time around.

They have brought in some talented youngsters but the investors have been cautious not to spend over the limits, thus eliminating the risk factor of bringing in relatively unproven players to a considerable extent. 

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Central midfielder Silva and left-back Ribeiro have joined on permanently deals from Feirense and Benfica respectively, while Semedo has linked up with Lamouchi’s squad on a season-long loan deal from Benfica.

All the three aforementioned players were relatively unknown commodities in Portuguese football last season but they apparently did enough to convince Forest’s scouting base.

A brief overview of the trio and what they could possibly add to Forest’s ranks

Tiago Silva

Tiago Silva, 26, comes in as the most experienced of the trio, having successfully plied his trade for Feirense in the Portuguese top-flight over the past three seasons.

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The versatile midfielder contributed with 3 goals and 5 assists in 29 appearances in the Primeira Liga the last term for Fereinse, who finished rock-bottom in the table and suffered relegation to the second tier.

Silva started his career with Belenenses in the second-tier and was a part of the club’s incredible rise in Portugal, with the midfielder being one of the driving forces behind their promotion to the Primeira Liga and eventual qualification to the Europa League. 

The 26-year-old, who represented his nation at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, switched boats to join Feirense on loan in 2016 and plied his trade there for a couple of seasons before making his stay permanent.

Silva racked up 14 goals and 17 assists in 97 appearances for Feirense in all competitions before the club eventually got relegated to the second tier last season.

A technically-gifted central midfielder who is also noted for his versatility, Silva is adept at switching between various positions in the middle of the park.

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The 26-year-old is more than capable of sticking his foot out to break up the play but it is his creativity, set-piece ability and devastating eye for key passes in the final third that should interest the fans at the City Ground. 

One of the marked drawbacks from Forest’s campaign in the Championship last season was their lack of creativity in the midfield and Silva has probably been brought in to add more depth and quality in that particular area of the pitch given his ability to play in No.10 and box-to-box roles.

However, Lamouci should be aware of the fact that he picked up as many as 32 yellow cards at Feirense over the past three seasons, meaning he isn’t the most disciplined in the middle when it comes to making challenges.

Alfa Semedo

The 21-year-old might not have represented Portugal at the youth levels but he rose to prominence with Moreirense in the Primeira Liga in the 2017-18 campaign before making a return to his boyhood club Benfica last summer.

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Upon his return, Semedo scored for Benfica in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League last season, though just 5 substitute appearances for the heavyweights in the league campaign saw him get loaned out to La Liga outfit Espanyol in January.

Essentially a central defensive midfielder by trade, the Guinea-born enforcer is also capable of slotting in at the heart of the defence.

Nottingham Forest relied heavily on Newcastle loanee Jack Colback last season but given that a permanent deal for the veteran is yet to be finalised, the acquisition of Semedo would offer Lamouci some valuable cover in the defensive midfield region.

Forest have the likes of Claudio Yacob, Ben Watson and Adlene Guedioura as options in the middle, although they are all on the wrong side of 30 and Semedo’s youthful exuberance might as well add a bit more dynamism to Lamouchi’s options.

Yuri Ribeiro

A Portuguese U-21 international, the 22-year-old left-back made his senior debut for Benfica in the 2016-17 season, although it was during the loan stint at Rio Ave in the 2017-18 campaign that he rose to prominence with some impressive displays.

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Ribeiro featured in Benfica’s Europa League campaign last season but he never played a part in the club’s triumphant Primeira Liga season.

Ribeiro has real quality on the ball and he is more than capable of driving forward and chipping in with valuable goals and assists, meaning that Forest are probably looking at him to provide competition for the likes of Jack Robinson and Ben Osborn down the left-hand side of the pitch.

What happened last time around?

Club-record signing Joao Carvalho finished the 2018-19 campaign with 4 goals and 8 assists in 38 Championship outings, returns which aren’t eye-watering considering all the effort that Forest had put in to bring him to the City Ground.

However, he continues to be a highly-rated creative player at 22 and the fans will be expecting him to make a bigger contribution under Lamouchi’s attacking philosophy next term.

Tobias Figueiredo featured sporadically under Karanka and O’Neill, and managed only 11 starts in the Championship last season, whilst Gil Dias drew a complete blank in terms of goals and assists in his 21 league outings before terminating his loan deal in January.

Diogo Goncalves, on the other hand, failed to mount a challenge for a first-team place and started only once in the Championship all season.

Conclusion

Barring Joao Carvalho, Forest’s triple-raid on the Portuguese market last summer failed to pay the dividends and the fans might just be a bit skeptical about the likes of Silva, Semedo, and Ribeiro coming to the City Ground this time around.

However, new arrivals bring with them new hopes and so there is every reason for the fans to be optimistic about the club’s new acquisitions.

Whether or not they will be able to cope with the demands of playing in an unforgiving league such as the Championship is something that only time will reveal.

Even if they don’t live up to the expectations, the disappointment will be considerably lesser given that not a lot has been spent on these players.

Liverpool

[Image] Predicted 4-3-3 Liverpool XI to face Sheffield United – Can the Reds keep their league form going?

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Predicted Liverpool XI to face Sheffield United in the Premier League

Liverpool romped home to a comfortable 2-0 victory over MK Dons in the third round of the EFL Cup on Wednesday, thanks to goals from James Milner and Ki-Jana Hoever. 

Jurgen Klopp’s side edged 2-1 past Chelsea in a riveting end-to-end encounter and the current pace-setters in the Premier League will be strong favourites on paper when they make the trip to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United on Saturday.

The Blades finished Round 6 inside the top-10 with a surprise 2-0 victory over Everton last week but they are going to face an uphill task against an in-form Reds unit. 

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Team News

Xherdan Shaqiri (calf), Nathaniel Clyne (knee) and Alisson (calf) are all ruled out for the weekend clash against Sheffield United, while Divock Origi is also doubtful.

Sadio Mane picked up a minor knock to his thigh last week but he is likely to be amongst the starters on Saturday. 

Predicted XI

Formation: 4-3-3

Adrian (GK)

The Spaniard made a few smart saves to guide the Reds to a victory over Chelsea last week and he is expected to continue in goal. 

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Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB)

The youngster scored an absolute stonker of a free-kick last week and he has always been one of the first names on Klopp’s team sheet over the past twelve months. 

Virgil van Dijk (CB)

One of the best in the world and an undisputed starter for Liverpool every week, the Dutchman is expected to return to the eleven after being rested for the EFL Cup tie. 

Joel Matip (CB)

The Cameroonian has done really well to establish himself ahead of Joe Gomes and Dejan Lovren in the pecking order. 

Andrew Robertson (LB)

He was one of the architects of Liverpool’s victory over Chelsea last week and there is hardly any doubt over his selection. 

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Fabinho (CDM)

The Brazilian has enjoyed a wonderful start to the ongoing campaign and he will be expected to keep up his good work in the middle of the park.

Jordan Henderson (RCM)

The England international continues to be one of Klopp’s trusted lieutenants in the midfield and he should be fresh and ready to start after taking a break for the EFL Cup game.

Georginio Wijnaldum (LCM)

One of the key cogs of Liverpool’s midfield, the former Newcastle man has impressed with his industrious displays and he is likely to return to the eleven on Saturday. 

Sadio Mane (LW)

The Senegalese star has already bagged four goals in the Premier League this term and Liverpool will once again look up to him to deliver the goods. 

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Mo Salah (RW)

The Egyptian wizard didn’t play a part in the midweek fixture but Liverpool will rely heavily on his pace to unlock a stubborn Blades defence. 

Roberto Firmino (ST)

Liverpool’s devastating front trio is never quite complete without him and he could play a key role on Saturday with his guile and trickery.

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Derby County

[Image] Here’s the EFL Championship TOTW for gameweek 7 featuring Middlesbrough and Leeds stars

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2019-20 EFL Championship: Team of the Week Round 7 

Round 7 of the 2019-20 EFL Championship had everything in store for all sections of the fans to savour and admire, as the players returned to action following the end of the international break. 

There was hardly any shortage of twists, turns and talking points in Round 7. Leeds United reclaimed top spot in the standings, Swansea and Charlton Athletic lost their unbeaten status, Stoke City and Huddersfield Town continued their losing habits and West Brom remained the only unbeaten side in the division. 

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There were some fantastic individual performances too, and with that in mind, here’s the Team of the Week for Round 7 in a 4-3-3 formation.

Championship Team of the Week

Darren Randolph (GK)

The Irish shot-stopper made some crucial saves to propel Middlesbrough to a 1-0 victory over Reading at the Riverside Stadium and he definitely deserves a place in the elite elven.

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Scott Malone (LB)

Derby County remained in the bottom half with a 1-1 draw against Cardiff City but the left-back put in a much-improved performance as compared to his previous outings and scored the Rams’ only goal.

Maxime Colin (RB)

Birmingham City broke into the top-ten by ending Charlton’s unbeaten run with a 1-0 victory away from home, and the Frenchman was instrumental in the Blues’ win with his solid display at the back. 

Derrick Williams (CB)

The Irish centre-back was one of the standout performers, as Blackburn Rovers got themselves back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Millwall.

Darragh Lenihan (CB)

One of the architects of Blackburn’s victory at the weekend, the Irish defender is one of the surprise inclusions in this week’s elite eleven. 

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Kalvin Phillips (CDM)

The central midfielder put up yet another dogged display in the midfield to guide Leeds United to a 2-0 victory over Barnsley, registering an assist with a free-kick for Nketiah’s goal. 

Eberechi Eze (RAM)

The Nigerian has really come of age for QPR this term and the attacking midfielder was once again one of the driving forces behind his team’s 3-2 victory over Luton Town, registering a goal and an assist in the process.

Mateusz Klich (LAM)

The Polish international once again proved his worth as one of Marcelo Bielsa’s trusted lieutenants in the middle of the park and secured a 2-0 victory for his team with a well-taken penalty towards the end of the game. 

Robert Glatzel (RW)

The towering German centre-forward equalised from the penalty spot for Cardiff City in the Bluebirds’ 1-1 draw against Derby County and finally registered his first goal of the EFL Championship.

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Harry Cornick (LW)

Luton lost a five-goal thriller at Loftus Road but Cornick impressed with a goal and an assist in what was a fine individual performance. 

Nakhi Wells (ST)

A proven source of goals in the EFL Championship, Wells bagged a brace in QPR’s 3-2 victory over Luton Town to hand Mark Warburton’s side a third consecutive victory in the league.

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Bristol City

3 Winners and 3 Losers from Championship gameweek 7 including Leeds United and Swansea City

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2019-20 EFL Championship: 3 Winners and 3 Losers from Round 7

The players returned to action for their respective clubs this weekend when the international break finally came to an end and Round 7 of the 2019-20 EFL Championship witnessed quite a few twists and turns, most notably, with Leeds United displacing Swansea City to reclaim the top spot in the standings.

Swansea and newly-promoted Charlton Athletic both saw their unbeaten run in the division come to a halt, while Stoke City and Huddersfield Town once again finished the week at the bottom of the table with defeats against Bristol City and Sheffield Wednesday respectively.

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Elsewhere, West Brom drew 1-1 away at Fulham to remain the only unbeaten side in the Championship after seven rounds. Without further ado, let us take a look at 3 winners and 3 losers from Round 7:

Winners

1. Leeds United

A narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Swansea City at home in the previous league fixture saw Leeds United go into the international break placed second in the standings but Marcelo Bielsa’s side reclaimed the top spot with a comfortable 2-0 victory away at Barnsley on Sunday, overtaking the Swans, who slumped to an unexpected 1-0 defeat at home against Nottingham Forest. 

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The Whites dominated the proceedings but it took them as long as 84 minutes to finally break the deadlock, thanks to Eddie Nketiah’s opener off a free kick from Kalvin Phillips.

Nketiah then earned the penalty for Mateusz Klich to make it 2-0 just before the end of the game and the Yorkshire giants should be pleased to get back to the top of the table after a long and hard grind against the newly-promoted outfit. 

2. Bristol City

The Robins went into the fixture against Stoke City away from home on the back of an unbeaten run of five games in the EFL Championship and a 2-1 victory saw Lee Johnson’s side stretch their streak to six games. 

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Sam Clucas gave the Potters the lead with a crisp strike from inside the box but Stoke were always going to be in trouble after Joe Allen received a straight red card for a horrible lunge.

Famara Diedhiou’s header levelled the scores in the 55th minute before a failed goalline clearance from Tom Edwards sealed things for Bristol City, who finished the week placed 4th in the standings. 

3. QPR

Queens Park Rangers had the chance to make it three in a row in the Championship this weekend when they played host to newly-promoted Luton Town at Loftus Road, having beaten Wigan Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday prior to the international break.

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And Mark Warburton’s side edged past the Hatters in a 3-2 thriller on Saturday, with the victory pushing them to 7th place in the standings just behind the likes of West Brom and Preston on goal difference. 

When Eberechi Eze opened the scoring in the third minute and Nakhi Wells made it 3-0 before the half-hour mark with a quickfire brace, it looked as if the hosts were heading for a pretty straightforward victory.

Luton, though, showed a lot of character to get back into the game with goals from Harry Cornick and James Collins but that wasn’t enough to prevent QPR from making it 4 wins out of 7.

Losers

1. Swansea City

Swansea started Round 7 at the top of the standings after their victory over Leeds United in the last game but Steve Cooper’s side saw their unbeaten run come to a sudden halt at the hands of Nottingham Forest, who bagged all three points at the Liberty Stadium courtesy of Alfa Semedo’s 85th-minute goal. 

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The Swans had more of the possession throughout the game but they failed to create enough clear-cut chances and Cooper has every reason to be disappointed with his team’s efforts after the international break.

2. Charlton Athletic

Charlton’s fairytale start to the EFL Championship finally came to an end this weekend as the Addicks went down 1-0 to Birmingham City at The Valley, courtesy of a solitary strike from Jude Bellingham in the second half.

The Addicks enjoyed a lot of possession and carved out a few decent chances but it just wasn’t their day in front of goal and they will be looking to get themselves back to winning ways when they make the trip to Wigan Athletic next week.

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3. Stoke City

The fans at the Bet 365 Stadium would have hoped for the turnaround of fortunes for their team after the international break but it wasn’t to be, as Bristol City beat the Potters 2-1 on their home turf to inflict a fourth straight defeat in the Championship and sixth overall in the league so far.

Sam Clucas’ early opener certainly gave them hope but Bristol City were always going to be the favourites when Joe Allen received a straight red card in the 12th minute. Up next for Nathan Jones’ side is a trip to Brentford. 

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