4 things we learned from Newcastle United 2-0 Nottingham Forest
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06: Neco Williams of Nottingham Forest and Joelinton of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest at St. James Park on August 6, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Nottingham Forest were given a baptism of fire in the Premier League as an impressive Newcastle side defeated the Reds 2-0.

Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson scored in the second half to give the home side victory as Forest will look to bounce back. 

Here are the takeaways from the win for Eddie Howe's side.

Newcastle should be pushing for European football this season

Newcastle United clearly picked up where they left off last season in a game where Nottingham Forest were less than impressive. 

Only Manchester City and Liverpool had more points in the second half of last season than Newcastle, and the Magpies appear to have only improved as a team.  

The midfield partnership of Bruno Guimarães and Joelinton hurt Forest, while the direct play between Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin was consistently dangerous.  

Forest couldn't lay a glove on Newcastle's defence, but even when they got close, their defenders were there to close any gaps, giving new goalkeeper Nick Pope nothing to do throughout the game.

If the Magpies can make St. James' Park a fortress, they might just be able to finish in a European spot this season. Newcastle have only suffered one loss there in 2022 which came against Liverpool.

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Bruno Guimarães is the complete package

No wonder the Brazilian cost £40 million. Of all the Newcastle players on the pitch, Guimarães was either top or joint-top for successful passes (64), dribbles completed (5), tackles (3), ground duels (12), fouls won (4) and chances created (3).

The 24-year-old was everywhere, and Newcastle’s entire possession game revolved around him. He recycled the ball, progressed the ball and even created shots for himself and his teammates.

His stellar touches and subtle through balls overwhelmed Forest throughout the game and with Joelinton impressing alongside the Brazilian, it was clear that the midfield was Newcastle’s biggest strength in the game.

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Forest need to gel

Throughout the entire game, one thing stood out in particular: Forest's lack of cohesiveness. 

With six debutants in the starting lineup and two coming off the bench, the team was never going to gel quickly, especially in such an intimidating stadium.

Whether it was nerves, a lack of cohesion or just the sheer quality of Newcastle, or a bit of everything, Forest’s retention of possession was poor throughout.

However, there were periods of the game when communication between players improved. Although the shot was soon blocked, Lewis O'Brien did brilliantly to retrieve the ball in midfield and find Jesse Lingard between the lines.  

Steve Cooper knows what he wants out of his players, and with five loanees last season, it didn't take long for the team to gel and gain an understanding, so it's not out of the question that it will happen again this season.

Forest will need to come together fast, though, as there are eight fewer games and much more merciless opponents in the Premier League.

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Home form will be key for Forest

An away day against a team that is currently flying was never going to be the ideal way to kick off Forest's first Premier League season in 23 years. 

Forest managed to turn the City Ground into something of a fortress upon Steve Cooper's arrival last year, and it will be necessary to do so again this year if survival is the goal. 

The Reds earned 43 points out of a possible 54 at home under Cooper last season. They also beat Arsenal and Leicester City at the City Ground in the FA Cup before narrowly losing 1-0 to Liverpool in their own stadium.

With AFC Bournemouth, Fulham, and Aston Villa set to visit the City Ground in the near future, Forest will need to use these games to find some form and establish a rhythm as a team.

Forest have yet to drop league points at the City Ground in 2022 and will hope to channel that kind of form in the Premier League this year.

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