Newcastle started their Premier League campaign with a dominant 2-0 victory against newly-promoted Nottingham Forest, courtesy of goals from Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson.

Newcastle United got their 2022/23 Premier League season off to a flying start with a solid victory over newly promoted Nottingham Forest at St James’ Park. Goals from Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson were enough for the home side to secure a comfortable three points.

The Magpies dominated the proceedings for almost the entire game and put forth a free-flowing performance, but had to wait until the last half-hour to find a breakthrough and put the game to bed, as they stifled Forest’s attack and never allowed them into the match.

The home side, buoyed by the support, created chance after chance through the game, having a total of 23 attempts with 10 on target, while Forest failed to record an attempt on target, struggling to bring attacking players into play.

Miguel Almiron, Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton all had clear-cut chances but lacked composure with their finishing. After a torrid first half, Forest eventually settled down in the second period, but Newcastle kept on coming in waves, although to little fruition. That was until Magpies’ defender Schar unleashed a piledriver from 25 yards into Dean Henderson’s near top corner to break the deadlock.

Forest had the odd chance on the counter. But the hosts hit back in the 78th minute to take the game beyond Forest’s reach, with patient build-up seeing Joelinton beat his marker, Neco Williams, down the left-flank and sending in a low cross for striker Callum Wilson, who delicately flicked the ball over Henderson to seal three points for Eddie Howe’s side.

Nick Pope: 6.5/10

Pope had a decent Premier League debut for Newcastle as he rounded it off with a rather comfortable clean sheet. He was rarely called into action the whole game, aside from a couple of routine catches, as the Forest attackers never really tested him at any point during the match. His command of his area was good, and he also showed a few glimpses of his front-foot goalkeeping.

Kieran Trippier: 6/10

Trippier saw plenty of the ball and attempted a whopping 11 crosses but struggled to create anything meaningful out of those, while his set-pieces were below-par by his lofty standards. He was also caught out of position defensively on the few occasions Forest forayed forward. Still, the stand-in skipper bombed forward a lot to create overloads and did a lot of playmaking work down the right flank.

Fabian Schar: 9/10

Schar kept a tight lid on the movements of Jesse Lingard and Sam Surridge and performed well, with a crucial block in the first half, playing his part in the well-deserved clean sheet. The Swiss international showed his ball-playing skills and kept things relatively calm at the back before taking the spotlight with a spectacular 25-yard strike to put Newcastle ahead.

Dan Burn: 7/10

Preferred ahead of the new signing, Sven Botman, Burn did not put a foot wrong throughout the whole game and justified his selection with a no-nonsense display at the back. Coped well with Brennan Johnson’s pace and won almost everything in the air. Made some good tackles and clearances to keep Forest at arm’s length the few times they did look like creating something.

Matt Targett: 6.5/10

Targett was sometimes caught off guard by Neco Williams’ bombing runs down on his side, and he was guilty of being pinned back for much of the game, but he was an effective outlet at the back. He performed his defensive job well and kept things simple while providing support in the final third.

Joe Willock: 6.5/10

Willock started the game brightly and had a couple of openings as he saw an early effort deflect wide. He provided bundles of energy, snappy tackles, well-read interceptions, and a few good touches in the middle. But as the game progressed in the second half, he became less effective and eventually faded out of the game.

Bruno Guimaraes: 8/10

Guimaraes is simply a class act on the pitch. The Brazilian was at the heart of most things Newcastle excelled at, particularly in the first half. The ball appeared to be glued to his foot at times when he flicked the opponents with his first touches and supreme footwork, as the hosts dominated big portions of the game.

He placed his through passes exquisitely for Almiron’s blindside runs on multiple occasions and sprayed the long balls effortlessly and with preciseness. Defensively, he worked hard and finished with the highest number of tackles (4).

Joelinton: 8/10

A combative powerhouse in midfield. Joelinton played an important role in keeping the Forest midfielders quiet. He physically bullied the opposition and constantly broke up play to disrupt the visitors’ flow.

But not only that, the Newcastle midfielder showed great attacking impetus as well, constantly driving forwards and combining with Saint-Maximin very well down the left flank, which earned him a well-deserved assist on Wilson’s goal. Could have scored a fine goal when he showed a clean pair of heels to infiltrate Forest’s box, but he could not keep his shot on target.

Miguel Almiron: 7/10

While the end-product was clearly lacking, Almiron had an excellent outing, as he put in a balanced shift in both phases of the game. The Paraguayan was a buzzing presence and popped up all over the pitch to create triangles and one-two scenarios. He picked out pockets between the lines and exploited them to good effect, while his superb chemistry with Guimaraes was also on display.

Callum Wilson: 7.5/10

Wilson was extremely quiet in the first 45 minutes, with a tame header comfortably claimed by Forest keeper Dean Henderson his only chance of the opening half despite Newcastle’s total dominance. To be fair, the hosts were utilising both wings, but the quality of the crosses was lacking, so he had little to feed on.

This changed in the second half as he drifted into wide areas to have more joy and kept on probing until he found an opening. Eventually, the English striker sneaked in front of his marker and somehow dinked the ball over Henderson into the far corner to provide Newcastle with a further cushion. Predatory instincts of a proper No. 9.

Allan Saint-Maximin: 7.5/10

With no goals since January, the mercurial Frenchman has been accused of being a showboat, with some fans calling for him to be sold during the summer transfer window. Rubbish. Saint-Maximin remains Newcastle’s most dangerous and entertaining player by all metrics, from chances created to shots taken to dribbles completed.

The 25-year-old lit up the show with tremendous pace, footwork, skill, and directness in abundance, as he always does, but it was work rate, tracking back, combination play, and releasing the ball on time instead of overdoing the stepovers that impressed the most. He notable laid the ball for Joelinton in the build-up to the second goal.

SUBSTITUTES

Sean Longstaff: 5/10

After being put on for Willock with ten minutes remaining on the clock, Longstaff brought fresh legs late in the second half, but his passing looked sluggish at best.

Ryan Fraser: 5/10

Made an excellent forward run down the middle but came to nothing.

Jacob Murphy: 5/10

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Chris Wood: N/A

He barely had any time to impact the game.

Sven Botman: N/A

Newcastle’s big-money defensive singing, Sven Botman was introduced as a late substitute in injury time.

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