Saturday night football awaits as Eddie Howe takes his side to the City Ground. We look ahead to the Premier League clash with our Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle prediction and preview.
Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle Stats: The Quick Hits
- Newcastle are predicted to defeat Nottingham Forest, winning 44.5% of pre-match simulations by the Opta supercomputer.
- Forest will be aiming for their first league double over Newcastle since 1977-78, when they won their one and only top-flight title.
- Newcastle are unbeaten in their last seven top-flight away games against Nottingham Forest (W3 D4).
Nottingham Forest are in danger of getting dragged back into the Premier League relegation battle as they still search for their first win of 2024 ahead of Newcastle United’s visit to the City Ground on Saturday.
Nuno Espírito Santo seemed to have steadied the ship after his December appointment, leading his new side to an away victory at Newcastle before their roaring home success against Manchester United. However, Forest have since gone three league games without a win to start the new year, losing to Brentford and Arsenal before a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth last weekend.
Callum Hudson-Odoi cancelled out Justin Kluivert’s early opener before Philip Billing’s 84th-minute red card at the Vitality Stadium on Matchday 23, leaving Forest – who could reportedly face a points deduction for alleged financial breaches with the Premier League – 16th in the league table and just two points clear of Everton in the relegation zone ahead of this weekend’s matches.
Nuno’s plight has not been helped by a growing absentee list, with Ivory Coast trio Serge Aurier, Willy Boly and Ibrahim Sangaré and Nigeria’s Ola Aina preparing to face one another in the Africa Cup of Nations final. Cheikhou Kouyaté and Divock Origi returned for the FA Cup fourth-round replay against Bristol City, with the loanee striker scoring in a 1-1 draw before a 5-3 penalty shootout victory for Forest on Wednesday.
However, Chris Wood sat out of the Bournemouth draw and the midweek FA Cup clash due to a hamstring issue that could keep him out for two months. Wood has scored nine Premier League goals against sides he’s previously played for in the competition, including a sensational hat-trick against Newcastle earlier this term.
Although not struggling near the bottom of the table like Saturday’s hosts, Newcastle have endured similar struggles this term after their top-four finish in 2022-23. Eddie Howe’s men have just one win in their last six Premier League games, though that came on Matchday 22 with a 3-1 victory at Aston Villa preceding their chaotic 4-4 home draw with resurgent Luton on Saturday.
That St James’ Park madness on MD 23 means Newcastle have conceded at least three goals in six of their last nine Premier League matches, a concerning sign for Howe considering they only conceded 3+ goals in five of their previous 72 games before this.
Sean Longstaff scored twice in the entertaining Luton spectacle before a late salvaging act was required from Kieran Trippier and the fit-again Harvey Barnes as Newcastle came back from 4-2 down. It was Longstaff’s first ever double in the Premier League, netting as many goals against Luton last weekend as in his previous 44 matches in the competition combined (two).
Trippier created Longstaff’s seventh-minute opener, taking the England full-back to nine assists in the Premier League this season, only Villa’s Ollie Watkins (10) has provided more. The last Newcastle player to record double figures in a single top-flight campaign was Laurent Robert in 2001-02 (11).
Howe may have to rely on the creativity of Trippier and set-piece opportunities once again against Forest’s frail defence after being hit with more injury issues. Anthony Gordon limped off with an ankle injury against Luton, joining Nick Pope, Joelinton, Matt Targett, Elliot Anderson, Alexander Isak and Sandro Tonali – the latter suspended for his gambling-related ban – on a hefty list of absentees.
Joe Willock and Jamaal Lascelles could at least return for Saturday’s game, as Callum Wilson and Barnes did against Luton, as Newcastle aim to build on their ninth-place Premier League position.
Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle United Head-to-Head
Forest are looking to complete a league double over Newcastle for the first time since 1977-78, when they won their one and only top-flight title, after Wood’s hat-trick inspired their 3-1 win at St James’ Park in December.
However, Newcastle are unbeaten in their last seven top-flight away games against Forest (W3 D4), with their last such defeat at the City Ground coming in May 1987. The Magpies have lost two Championship games there in that time (2009 and 2016), though.
The City Ground club historically struggled against ‘stronger’ teams but have improved; since their return to the Premier League last season, Forest have won three games against sides that finished in the top four the previous campaign, as many as they had in their first five seasons in the competition combined.
Newcastle were victors in this exact fixture last season, though, winning 2-1 thanks to Isak’s double after Emmanuel Dennis – now on loan at Watford – opened the scoring in Nottingham.
Newcastle’s 3-1 win against Villa in their last away game ended a seven-game winless run on the road in the Premier League (D2 L5). They last won consecutive away games in March/April last year, a run of three which included the 2-1 victory over Forest.
Howe may fancy banishing those away-game struggles further as well, considering Forest have lost five of their last six Premier League home games (W1), as many as they had in their previous 24 matches at the City Ground since returning to the competition in 2022 (W10 D9).
Indeed, defeat here would see Forest lose both of their opening two home league matches of a calendar year for the first time since 2018 (first three), after going down 2-1 to Arsenal at the end of January.
Expect this to be another entertaining one, too, given Newcastle’s Premier League games have seen more goals scored (85) than any other side this season (F48 A37). Their 37 goals conceded is already four more than they shipped in the whole of 2022-23 (33).
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle Prediction
Despite slim returns on the road, Newcastle are backed by the Opta supercomputer to win on Saturday, triumphing in 44.5% of the 10,000 pre-match simulations.
Forest only secured their much-needed victory in 27.8%, with the draw evenly matched at 27.7% in the data-backed predictions, though the latter result would increase the pressure on Nuno.
Only Sheffield United (99.6%), Burnley (95.8%) and Luton Town (32.3%) have higher chances of relegation than Forest’s 30.0% in Opta’s end-of-season projections, with Everton (21.2%) keeping close company. Meanwhile, at the other end of the table and hunting for Europe, Newcastle are currently forecast to finish seventh – two above their current position but outside the Champions League qualification spots.