Newcastle United vs Nottingham Forest - Pre-match analysis
(Credit: Mick Walker - CameraSport)

These two sides haven't met since the 2016/17 season in the Championship, in the season where the Toon Army lifted the title. Both fixtures were action packed and full of controversy, especially the encounter at the City Ground. You can find a link to the highlights from this game here:

But to find the last time these two met in the Premier League we'd have to go all the way back to 1998/99 where Newcastle United took three points on both occasions, 2-0 and 2-1 respectively.

Theres a lot to dive in on for this game starting with the hope on each side going into the new season.

A season of prosper for both sets of fans

This game is certainly one to keep an eye on in game week one as both sides have high optimism after last seasons efforts saw both achieve remarkable goals.

The hosts became the first side in Premier League history to avoid relegation after being winless in their first 10 games. On top of this, as widely known, they became the richest club in the world after the PIF, PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers took over responsibilities from Mike Ashley in October of last year.

This has then seen an influx of cash and new talent into the squad which has seen great hope be restored to the city as a whole and they anticipate one of the most exciting seasons of late.

Anticipation and eagerness can also be said in Nottingham as Nottingham Forest miraculously achieved promotion to the Premier League after a poor start, a mere 23 years after their initial relegation.

They overcame Huddersfield Town in a tight contest at Wembley in the playoff final, and thanks to an own goal from Levi Colwill, they saw themselves in the promise land much to the delight of their delirious supporters.

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They'll be looking to reap off of that bounce of being promoted by carrying their momentum into the Premier League to help them avoid relegation which has to be the main goal.

So with both sets of fans being buoyant ahead of an exciting new Premier League season, this game is bound to home one of the most electric atmospheres this weekend.

Debut day

Both sides have made additions to their squads in the summer window, one maybe more than the other. The home side have made the signing of Matt Targett a permanent fixture after he spent the second half of the season on loan at the Magpies and impressed.

To add to this two new faces have joined the squad, Nick Pope from Burnley and the Sven Botman from Lille, after months of negotiations, finally agreeing on a £35 million fee.

This solidifies the Toon defence, giving them strength in depth in those areas too which is so dearly needed to become a top team in the league. 

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To Forest Newcastle's three additions will be considered a quiet window as they have brought in 11, yes 11 new faces to the City Ground. 

The most notable of these arrivals being the free acquisition of Jesse Lingard after his contract expired at Manchester United. He had offers from around the world, all desiring his signature but it was Forest and Steve Cooper who got pen to paper to see him feature for the Reds this season.

Other names include Taiwo Awoniyi from Union Berlin, Dean Henderson on loan from Manchester United, the double signing of Harry Toffolo and Lewis O'Brien from Huddersfield Town and the permanent signing of Neco Williams from Liverpool, amounting to £85 million spent  to bolster Forest's hopes of maintaining Premier League status.

So St James' Park is therefore due to host a number of debuts, not only for club but the league with most Forest players making their Premier League debuts, and will receive a match ball after the game for their achievement.

How will each team take shape?

Newcastle United

Under Eddie Howe the Magpies adopted a 4-5-1 shape in defence that turns into more of a 4-3-3 with a holding midfielder in attack. 

Where Newcastle win their games is in this three man midfield which consists of a deep lying playmaker, this being either Jonjo Shelvey, Bruno Guimaraes or occasionally Sean Longstaff,, this player then sits above the back four receiving and turning to face play to feed either the wide players or further up field to the other two in midfield or even the striker with a long ball.

With this player sitting it gives freedom to the other two in midfield who both operate as box-to-box midfielders, these two being preferably Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton. This allows them to apply pressure to the other team as well as having the space to create and get forward and contribute, shown through Bruno's impressive five goals and an assist in 17 appearances. 

As well as Joelinton's exceptional resurgence, who has now become a monster in his new role, becoming a fan favourite and one of the first names on the team sheet.

The midfield can also widen itself to support the wingers, aiding the skilful Allan Saint-Maximin as he's now got a constant option to help him punish defences, whereas in the past when Newcastle were a much more negative team, he'd find himself isolated and frustrated.

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Nottingham Forest

Now with all of Forest's new additions it is hard to say who will start where and exactly how they will play, but one thing we do know is the system Steve Cooper implemented that he's sure to stick to.

This system entails a 3-4-1-2 formation, enabling the wing backs to fly up and down the pitch throughout the game. This is done through forcing play through the middle, freeing up the wide men, enabling quick switches to catch out defences.

This helped propel them up the league table last year. This system helped them go from having the second worst shots per game, to the fourth best in the Championship with an average of 4.4. 

But it is not just the attack where they win their games, in fact it is more so the defence behind them which is the key to their success. The club man, Joe Worrall, has been nothing short of a brick wall for the Reds, commanding the back three excellently with the experienced Steve Cook and Scott McKenna either side of him. 

This set up saw them concede 38 from an expected 52, numbers which are hard to fathom. Although they have lost their shot stopper in Brice Samba, they have replaced him excellently with the eager Dean Henderson who has a point to prove. As well as strengthening centre back wise with Moussa Niakhate, Forest can expect more of the same defensively, even in a tougher division.

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Predicted lineups

Newcastle United - Pope, Trippier, Botman, Schar, Targett, Guimaraes, Willock, Joelinton, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Wilson (4-5-1)

Nottingham Forest - Henderson, Cook, Worrall, McKenna, Toffolo, Williams, O'Brien, Yates, Lingard, Awoniyi, Johnson (3-4-1-2)