Nottingham Forest received a rude welcome back to the Premier League. In their return to the English top flight after more than 23 years away, Forest were thoroughly dominated by an ambitious Newcastle United who deserved the 2-0 opening day win.
Two moments of superb class by Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson produced the decisive goals in the second half. Schar stepped up from his defensive position to fire an angled blast into the top right corner of the goal, and Callum Wilson applied a classy touch on a cross in the box, curling it in for the second goal that put the game away.
The difference in quality and seasoning between the two sides was stark as the game went on. Newcastle's Bruno Guimaraes pulled the strings in midfield, Allan Saint-Maximin ran circles around defenders, and Miguel Almiron made lung-busting runs in behind all match. Joelinton and Joe Willock brought the hard work and physicality to midfield, and captain Kieran Trippier was influential from his right back position. And they didn't even need star center-back signing Sven Botman, who only came on in the the final minute.
Forest could never grab a hold of the midfield, and rarely had extended spells of possession as their forwards struggled to hold up the ball to help their team relieve some of the pressure. Jesse Lingard had a quiet debut for his new club, while record signing Taiwo Awoniyi and newcomer Orel Mangala came off the bench, but could not provide much of a spark.
Nottingham Forest will look to regroup when they host West Ham on Sunday, while Newcastle travel to face Brighton next Saturday, looking to continue a strong start and show they mean business in 2022/23.
Newcastle can contend for Europe if they bring firepower up front
The level of the opponent clearly needs to be taken into account in this case — and the Aug. 21 home match against Manchester City will be an interesting litmus test — but Newcastle were impressive for the personality they showed in bossing the game from start to finish.
The one thing that should be concerning to Eddie Howe is the decision-making and lack of goal-scoring instincts from his attackers in the final third. They desperately need Wilson to be in position to finish more plays than occurred against Forest. On the one occasion he received a decent ball in the box, he finished it with aplomb.
Saint-Maximin and Almiron are always busy on the flanks, and they want to make things happen on the ball. But sometimes they overindulge, and they don't make the early pass. Often, that can be enough to take Wilson out of a play if the moment is missed. And Saint-Maximin and Almiron don't finish nearly as regularly enough to make up for it. If the end product is missing, it will surely cost them points in the long run. They were fortunate that it didn't on this day.
Newcastle's calculated transfer strategy paying off
Guimaraes was the best player on the field and he dazzled for the way he kept Newcastle moving forward on every attack. The Brazilian maestro connected players with his quick passing, and then slipped the occasional pinpoint through ball. His vision, decision-making, and feel for the game are world-class. He makes Newcastle tick.
Opponents could ultimately prove more effective at containing him, but at this point he is one of the steals of the transfer market over the past year at £42m ($50m) from Lyon. Compare that to left wing-back Marc Cucurella who moved from Brighton to Chelsea for a reported £56m ($68m).
Newcastle aren't employing the tactics of other clubs that have landed rich ownership groups. It has surprised most observers that they haven't outspent other clubs during this summer with relatively few pick-ups. Instead, they're taking their time to find the right pieces at the right prices. Goalkeeper Nick Pope, who commanded his box so well against Forest, could be the next highlight of the Magpies' transfer strategy.
Forest's Steve Cooper has plenty to think about
By half-time it was painfully clear that Nottingham Forest had no way to seize control of the game. Matches usually have a natural ebb and flow to them, with regular momentum changes, but that wasn't the case at St. James' Park where it was one-way traffic. The lack of tactical flexibility by Forest manager Steve Cooper didn't help things.
The match was screaming for a halftime change, but Forest came out in the same formation and same personnel, outnumbered and outclassed in the middle of the field. Forwards Brennan Johnson and Sam Surridge were punchless, and Lingard was invisible. There came a point when Cooper didn't need all three of them on the field and would have been better suited adding a central midfielder.
The absence of halftime substitutions or adjustments was surprising. And the delayed introduction of new arrivals Awoniyi and Orel Mangala was a head scratcher — though they may not have had the fitness levels to contribute sooner. But if Forest are going to survive this season, they're also going to need the manager to outperform on a few occasions with some impactful in-game adjustments.
Newcastle vs Nottingham Forest final score
NEW — Fabian Schar — 58th min.
NEW — Callum Wilson (Joelinton) — 79th min.
Newcastle vs Nottingham Forest live updates
Final: Newcastle 2, Nottingham Forest 0
90th min.: Newcastle bring on the subs. Chris Wood (for Callum Wilson), Jacob Murphy (for Allan Saint-Maximin), and Sven Botman (for Bruno Guimaraes).
83rd min.: Forest sub. Steve Cooper takes off one of his three center-backs and brings in attacker Alex Mighten. Cooper's going to give it a go.
80th min.: Joe Willock replaced by Sean Longstaff and Miguel Almiron gets a hand with Ryan Fraser taking his place.
75th min.: Goal Newcastle! Joelinton with another attacking run out of midfield and his cross is finished splendidly by Callum Wilson, who applies a classy poke to the ball. It's a deserved 2-0 lead for the Magpies.
75th min.: Forest sub. Orel Mangala is on for Lewis O'Brien to make his debut for the club. We'll see if there's better quality from Forest between Mangala and Awoniyi.
72nd min.: Forest get a corner kick, but even the set pieces are lacking quality. The ball from Brennan Johnson is easily collected by Newcastle 'keeper Nick Pope.
63rd min.:What a chance for Forest! Neco Williams with great work down the right and his pinpoint cross was headed into the ground by Sam Surridge, who should have done better. Surridge comes off moments later with Awoniyi taking his spot.
58th min.:Goal Newcastle! After Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin were misfiring in the box, Fabian Schar collects a clearance and blasts it into the top right corner. It will be one of the top goals of the week.
56th min.: O'Brien gets a yellow card on a play that captures the game so far. O'Brien had the ball, Almiron pressed him quickly and won it.
51st min.: Penalty Newcastle? Callum Wilson appeals to the referee that he was pulled in the box as he chased a cross. Replays don't show much in that challenge from Worrall.
The half has started in a similar vein. Newcastle buzzing around, Forest trying to push forward, but their attempts fizzle out quickly.
46th min.: Second half is underway and no changes to start the second 45 minutes.
Half-time: Newcastle 0, Nottingham Forest 0
Half-time: That was all Newcastle United, but Nottingham Forest have done well to hold firm despite one or two chaotic moments.
Allan Saint-Maximin from the left and Miguel Almiron on the right have presented the biggest danger to the visitors, Joelinton has been a presence in midfield, and Bruno Guimaraes is putting on a passing clinic with his through balls. The Brazilian and Almiron are connecting well.
Kieran Trippier wasn't too shabby either, though his set pieces left something to be desired.
Kieran Trippier compared to all players in the first half of the 3pm Premier League kick-offs:— Squawka (@Squawka) August 6, 2022
◉ Most touches (66)
◉ Most passes (44)
◉ Most ball recoveries (11)
◉ Most final third entries (11)
◉ Most penalty area entries (9)
Right flank on fire. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Jhoxx8I5TW
Nottingham Forest threatened on a lone opportunity which was expertly blocked. But they have Taiwo Awoniyi they can bring off the bench. And Orel Mangala could help them gain a bit more of a hold in midfield. It'd be a surprise if manager Steve Cooper didn't make any changes.
40th min.: Chance for Forest! Fabian Schar with a sensational sliding block on a Jesse Lingard shot in the box after some good work from Forest's Lewis O'Brien. Best chance of the half for Forest and it didn't even make it on frame.
37th min.:Saint-Maximin chance! The Frenchman gets the ball on that left wing and is targeting Forest captain Worrall. This time his slicing run ends in a shot on goal that Dean Henderson stops. This half has been one-way traffic.
31st min.: Chance Newcastle! Big Joelinton pushes into the attack and he rips two shots in consecutive minutes with one coming close to Forest's left post. The Newcastle opener feels like it's merely a matter of time. Forest are no threat.
26th min.: Some chaos in and around the Forest box that ends with a shot from Bruno Guimaraes that's off the mark. The visitors can't possess the ball for any meaningful stretch and the Newcastle pressure is simply incessant.
22nd min.:Dangerous from Newcastle! Miguel Almiron presses Forest newcomer Moussa Niakhate and blocks the defender's pass, but Forest goalkeeper Dean Henderson reacts and gets to the ball in the box before Almiron does. Niakhate might be having some nerves early in his debut.
15th min.:YELLOW CARD to Forest captain Joe Worrall for taking down Allan Saint-Maximin, who's been active with his take-ons. Kieran Trippier's shot on the ensuing set piece is off the wall. Newcastle can't take advantage of its many set pieces thus far.
13th min.: Forest's Jesse Lingard is positioned behind the two forwards Sam Surridge (left) and Brennan Johnson (right). Surridge has had two threatening runs in the Newcastle half in the span of a couple of minutes, but he couldn't do anything with them.
8th min.: Newcastle try another corner-kick routine and it ends with a Dan Burn header from a tight angle. The designed set piece plays haven't been working out for the Magpies thus far.
4th min.: MASSIVE BLOCK. A Joe Willock blast takes a deflection for Newcastle's second corner, but nothing results from it. Had Scott McKenna not blocked that shot, it was headed on goal. Good start from the home side, as you'd expect.
1st min.: Newcastle kicks off. Teams in their traditional colors.
5 mins. from kickoff: The atmosphere at the stadium as the anticipation grows. Both sets of supporters will be feeling the nerves right about now.
60 mins. from kickoff: Lineups are in. Nottingham Forest's Taiwo Awoniyi starts on the bench, as does Sven Botman for Newcastle. But Jesse Lingard (Forest), Moussa Niakhate (Forest) and Nick Pope (Newcastle) all make their debuts.
Let's do this. ✊— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) August 6, 2022
90 mins. from kickoff: All eyes on what kind of performance this Nottingham Forest team can put together in their Premier League return.
120 mins. from kickoff: For proper historical context, here's video proof of the last time that Nottingham Forest played in the Premier League back in 1999:
The last time Nottingham Forest played in the Premier League was May 16, 1999. They defeated Leicester City 1-0 with a goal from Chris Bart-Williams.— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) August 4, 2022
23 years later, they return to the PL. They travel to Newcastle for a match Saturday at 10AM ET on @PeacockTV.#NEWNFO | #NFFCpic.twitter.com/8VKdPwYfT6
Newcastle vs. Nottingham Forest lineups
In the two biggest decisions facing Howe, Nick Pope gets the start over Martin Dubravka, but newcomer Sven Botman does not unseat Dan Burn, who will start in central defense. Paraguayan attacker Miguel Almiron was on fire during preseason (six goals), but he now has to carry that form into games that count.
Jonjo Shelvey (hamstring), Federico Fernandez (calf), and Jamal Lewis (calf) are out due to injury and Javier Manquillo (groin) only recently returned to training. Emil Krafth and Paul Dummett did not make the matchday squad.
Newcastle starting lineup (4-3-3, right to left): 22-Nick Pope (GK) — 2-Kieran Trippier (capt.), 5-Fabian Schar, 33-Dan Burn, 13-Matt Targett — 28-Joe Willock, 39-Bruno Guimaraes, 7-Joelinton — 24-Miguel Almiron, 9-Callum Wilson, 10-Allan Saint-Maximin.
Newcastle subs (9): 1-Martin Dubravka (GK), 4-Sven Botman, 6-Jamaal Lascelles, 11-Matt Ritchie, 36-Sean Longstaff, 32-Elliot Anderson, 21-Ryan Fraser, 23-Jacob Murphy, 20-Chris Wood
Newcomer Moussa Niakhate makes his debut at the heart of the defense, though club record signing Taiwo Awoniyi, and Belgian midfielder Orel Mangala will have to wait to make their bow off the bench. It'll be Neco Williams and Harry Toffolo as the wing-backs.
Defender Steve Cook and forward Joe Lolley did not make the 20-man matchday squad. Ryan Yates (knee) and Omar Richards (hairline leg fracture) were already confirmed to miss the match with Yates billed as "not far away," according to Cooper.
Nottingham Forest starting lineup (3-4-3, right to left): 1-Dean Henderson (GK) — 4-Joe Worrall (capt.), 19-Moussa Niakhate, 26-Scott McKenna — 7-Neco Williams, 8-Jack Colback, 14-Lewis O'Brien, 15-Harry Toffolo — 20-Brennan Johnson, 16-Sam Surridge, 11-Jesse Lingard
Nottingham Forest subs (9): 13-Wayne Hennessey (GK), 6-Loic Mbe Soh, 2-Giulian Biancone, 5-Orel Mangala, 41-Oliver Hammond, 18-Cafu, 17-Alex Mighten, 33-Lyle Taylor, 9-Taiwo Awoniyi
Newcastle vs Nottingham Forest TV channel, live stream
|Date||Sat, Aug. 6||Sat, Aug. 6||Sat, Aug. 6||Sun, Aug. 7|
|Time||15:00 BST||10:00 ET||10:00 ET||00:00 AEST|
|Streaming||—||Peacock||fuboTV Canada||Optus Sport|
UK: Matches in the 3 p.m. local window are not televised in the UK. A radio broadcast is available on BBC Radio 5 Live.
USA: The Newcastle vs. Nottingham Forest match is exclusively streamed on NBC's Peacock for subscribers.
Canada: Every Premier League game streams live and on demand exclusively via fuboTV in 2022/23.
Australia: Fans in Australia can stream matches live and on demand on Optus Sport this season.