World’s richest club Newcastle prove they do not have to break bank to mount challenge

·3 min read
Fabian Schär reels away after putting Newcastle United ahead against newly-promoted Nottingham Forest - World’s richest club Newcastle prove clubs do not have to break bank to mount title challenge - GETTY IMAGES
Fabian Schär reels away after putting Newcastle United ahead against newly-promoted Nottingham Forest - World’s richest club Newcastle prove clubs do not have to break bank to mount title challenge - GETTY IMAGES

It took two special finishes to consign them to defeat and on albeit brief evidence they look capable of competing at this level, but that will be of scant consolation as Nottingham Forest were taught a harsh early lesson on their first day back at the Premier League's school of hard knocks.

They kept Newcastle at bay for almost an hour, and should have been level immediately after Fabian Schar's stunning opener so there were plenty of positives to take back down the A1 in the absence of any tangible points, the only one of the three promoted sides to emerge empty handed on opening day.

Forest will not be alone in returning empty-handed this season from the increasingly fortress-like St James' Park, as Eddie Howe's side maintained the impressive momentum with which they ended the last campaign to earn a fully deserved victory,

It took them until December last season to register a first home league win but despite fielding just the single summer signing in their starting line-up in England goalkeeper Nick Pope, the world's richest club showed you perhaps do not have to break the bank, or FFP rules, in order to mount a sustained challenge at the sharp end of the league.

Forest have been far from shy in terms of splashing the cash since their play-off final victory over Huddersfield in May, and of their six debutants, former Manchester United keeper Dean Henderson, and defenders Moussa Niakhate and Neco Williams all stood out in a predictably testing rearguard action.

Four Newcastle corners in the opening 10 minutes appeared to be the prelude to a torrid afternoon for the visitors, who to their credit withstood the predictable early onslaught to carve out a couple of half-chances for Sam Surridge, ones which the forward would have probably taken against Championship defences.

Schar had to be alert to block a Jesse Lingard shot as Forest grew into a contest the hosts would have been in control of by the interval had they kept their composure in front of goal.

Joelinton forced Henderson to beat out a long-range effort before the brilliantly-bonkers Brazilian waltzed past three challenges only to scuff a shot horribly wide in a perfect encapsulation of the South American's Jekyll and Hyde form in black and white.

Callum Wilson headed a Joe Willock cross tamely at Henderson and Allan Saint-Maximin failed to apply a decent contact to an inviting Miguel Almiron centre as an entertaining encounter surprisingly failed to produce a goal in the opening 45 minutes.

The deadlock was finally broken with a little over 30 minutes remaining as  Schar hammered home from 20 yards via a post after Forest failed to deal with one of many Saint Maximin centres into the danger area.

Surridge should have done better when directing a more than presentable headed chance wide soon after, and the hosts were out of sight 12 minutes from time when Wilson applied a deft outside of the right foot finish to a low Joelinton cross into the six-yard box.

Wilson put a late chance into the side netting but a third would have been harsh on Forest, who will console themselves that they won't come up against this quality of opposition every week. Just every other week.

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