Relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest host Champions League pursuers Newcastle United on Friday night. Will the Magpies fly high, or will the Reds bunker down to pick up some much-needed points at the City Ground stadium? We preview the game between Nottingham Forest and Newcastle and reveal our pre-match Opta prediction.
Nottingham Forest vs. Newcastle: The Quick Hits
- Newcastle the favourites to win away from home according to the Opta supercomputer (43.2%).
- Newcastle have never lost a Premier League meeting against Nottingham Forest (W6 D3), and that run won’t end here.
- Nottingham Forest’s unbeaten home run of nine games set to come to an end.
Newcastle are unbeaten in all nine of their Premier League games against Nottingham Forest (W6 D3), which is both the most they’ve faced an opponent without ever losing and the most Forest have faced a side without ever winning in the competition.
But don’t stop reading there.
Hope for Forest fans, both in this game but also in their fight to prolong their Premier League status, will lie in their incredible home record. They are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League home games (W4 D5), since losing three in a row in August/September. Only Manchester United are on a longer current run without defeat at home in the division (12).
The City Ground has been somewhat of a City Fortress this season. Twenty of Nottingham Forest’s 26 Premier League points this campaign have come in home games, the highest percentage in the competition (77%). They’ve won 14 more points at home than they have away (20 at home, six away), with only Liverpool having a bigger such difference (18 – 30 home, 12 away).
Such is the difference between their home and away form that if you split the league table into two – one for only home results and one for only away – Forest would sit 11th taking into account only home matches, and rock bottom of the away-only rankings.
Newcastle have two games in hand over Tottenham in fourth and will be eyeing this game up as a massive chance to close the gap. The Magpies sit just four points behind Spurs, so six points from their two games in hand will see them jump over the Londoners into a Champions League spot. Newcastle are unbeaten in their last 13 Premier League games against promoted sides (W6 D7), but anything less than a win here will be real blow.
But Forest have shown their ability to take points from any team at home, having picked up a crucial point against Manchester City (1-1) last month, but also held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw on New Year’s Day and beat Liverpool 1-0 back in October.
Despite recent positive home results, the potential loss of Nottingham Forest’s key man, Brennan Johnson, will be a blow. Six of Johnson’s seven Premier League goals for Nottingham Forest this season have come in home games, and he has netted five in his last four at the City Ground. The striker sustained a groin injury in their 3-1 defeat against Tottenham and was taken off after 67 minutes and his presence up top will be missed. Johnson leads Forest for goals (seven), expected goals (6.6) and hasn’t missed a game so far this season.
Newcastle United 2-0 Nottingham Forest – 6 August 2022
The opening weekend of this season saw Newcastle win 2-0 over Nottingham Forest.
It took 56 minutes for The Magpies to breach the Forest defence, and it took something special to do it with Fabian Schär lashing in from outside the box. It was Schär’s 10th Premier League goal. With five of those 10 coming against newly promoted teams, no player with at least 10 goals in the competition has scored a higher percentage against promoted sides.
Callum Wilson put the game to bed 20 minutes later with a stabbed lob over Dean Henderson.
This was Nottingham Forest’s first Premier League match since back in May of 1999 against Leicester, with the gap of 23 years and 82 days between two Premier League games the longest in the competition’s history.
In truth, there was a gulf in class on the day. Newcastle attempted 23 shots in the match, landing 10 on target, and dominated the ball (61.4%).
The revamped Forest starting line-up boasted six new players making their professional debut for the side, including Jesse Lingard and Dean Henderson. It was perhaps not surprising then, that they only managed five shots all game for a measly 0.3 xG.
Newcastle beat Wolves 2-1 last week thanks to goals from Alexander Isak and Miguel Almirón. Victory brought to an end a really rough patch of form, with the Magpies going five games prior to that without a win (D3 L2), with defeats coming against Man City and Liverpool.
Eddie Howe will hope the win against Wolves will reignite Newcastle’s season. They haven’t won two consecutive Premier League matches in 2023, and their inconsistent form has seen them slowly slip further away from a top-four position. Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool are (somehow) only two points behind them in sixth, and while Newcastle have a game in hand over the Reds, Liverpool are now out of Europe and will look to end strong.
That inconsistent form has seen Newcastle perform pretty poorly on the road recently. The Magpies are winless in their last four away games in the Premier League (D3 L1), having won four of their previous five (D1). This is their longest run without a win on the road under Eddie Howe, underlined by the fact that the Magpies have netted just one goal in these last four games.
As mentioned, Nottingham Forest are unbeaten in their last nine home games in the Premier League (W4 D5), their longest such run since a 20-game streak between February 1995 and January 1996. Despite that, they currently are on a winless run of five matches (D2 L3) with their last Premier League win coming back on 5 February against Leeds.
Forest’s last outing saw them lose 3-1 at Tottenham. Harry Kane bagged a brace before Son Heung-min finished things off with a strike in the 62nd minute. Joe Worral netted a consolation goal, before André Ayew missed a penalty in the 95th minute that would have made things really interesting in the dying stages of the game.
Newcastle: Bruno Guimarães
Bruno Guimarães has started 19 Premier League games for Newcastle this year. Of those games, the Magpies have lost just one, won 58% of them and have averaged 2.1 points per game. Very good.
Bruno Guimarães hasn’t started six games for Newcastle this season. The Magpies didn’t win any of those games, scored just four goals while averaging 0.7 points per game.
Bruno Guimarães is everything in this team.
Nottingham Forest: Morgan Gibbs-White
With the potential absence of Brennan Johnson, a lot of responsibility falls on the shoulders of 23-year-old Morgan Gibbs-White. He has been a creative force for Nottingham Forest, leading his team for chances created (45) and passes played into the box (157). He also leads all Forest players for expected assists (4.4), showing how much of a creative outlet he’s been for his side.
The 23-year-old striker has been described as “vibrant” and “natural” on the ball by manager Steve Cooper, and his presence on the ball will be crucial for Forest to get a foothold in this game.
Nottingham Forest vs Newcastle Prediction
The Opta supercomputer predicts the Magpies to take the three points in this one, giving them an impressive 43.2% chance to win away from home.
Newcastle’s record against newly promoted sides and Nottingham Forest in particular is excellent.
With Forest embroiled in a relegation battle, they’ll be desperate to pick up points here. The supercomputer gives them a 56.8% chance to at least leave the City Ground with something to show for their efforts.
Nottingham Forest will be aiming to win three consecutive home league games against Newcastle for the first time since March 1978, with their last two wins coming from the Championship. Our season-long predictor gives them a 40.4% of being relegated, which is the fifth-highest rate of any team in the league.