Newcastle United achieved back-to-back away wins in the Premier League for the first time this season, earning a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
Eddie Howe gave Bruno Guimarães a rare start in a left-sided 'number 8' role—moving Lewis Miley deeper to 'number 6'—and was rewarded with two superb goals from the Brazilian.
Bruno's efforts sandwiched another 'striker's finish' from Fabian Schär, with Anthony Elanga and Callum Hudson-Odoi each getting on the scoresheet for the feisty home side.
All-in-all the Magpies were just about value for the three points, but the performance was nowhere near the (admittedly very high) level displayed at Villa Park a couple of weeks ago.
Here's how we saw it from one to 67, with our number 39 naturally scoring the highest.
Dubs made a massive save from Elanga when it was 1-0 but then got caught in no man's land for the first equaliser a short while later. He couldn't do anything about Hudson-Odoi's effort due to the deflection and was otherwise solid, making some very important claims.
The cross for Bruno's opening goal was a thing of beauty and it was also his delivery that led to Schär's goal, too. Other than those two key contributions he wasn't as involved as normal. He defended well, although he was somewhat culpable for Forest's second equaliser.
His finish for the second goal was class, though that's what we've come to expect from him so it was no surprise. His long-range passing was great in the first half, in particular, too, though he did play a couple of stinkers after the break and struggled with Awoyini at times.
He was done for pace along with Burn for Forest's first equaliser but made amends for that with a headed assist for Schär's excellent goal. He got away with one when getting caught under a long Sels kick, however, and should be thankful to Awoyini for wasting the chance.
Got caught out twice in the first half by Elanga's pace, with Dúbravka saving his bacon on the first occasion but failing to do so on the second. He deserves huge credit for the way he kept his head and played in the rest of the contest, however, as it didn't happen again.
This was easily Longy's best display since his return from injury, though he was a little to blame for Forest's second equaliser. He was much more involved than usual with 86 touches, won a few big tackles, passed the ball smartly, and showed real composure throughout.
Entrusted to play as the deepest of the three central midfielders, Miley put in an assured performance. Although he got caught square-on and flat-footed for the second equaliser when he should've been closing Hudson-Odoi down, he was very tidy in his use of the ball.
Given a rare start in the left-sided 'number 8' role by Howe, Bruno rewarded his head coach with two superb goals and an all-round performance of real quality. His volleyed finish for the opener was wonderful and he somehow topped it with the strike for the winner. Vamos!
He gave possession away needlessly for Forest's first equaliser and was sloppy overall, with next to nothing he tried coming off. It was no surprise at all to see him withdrawn on the hour mark for Barnes, as he'd contributed very little in either attack or defence.
He's surely rusty after another little stint on the sidelines, but this was a very poor showing from our number nine. He didn't shirk the battle with Forest's centre-halves, but he didn't manage to get a shot away in the contest and his hold-up play was next to non-existent.
He's made of stern stuff, being able to start having not trained until yesterday, and he was again our most dangerous attacker. He didn't have much competition, of course, but he was a constant outlet for Schär's long passes in the first half and put in one hell of a shift.
He came on for Almirón on the hour—with Gordon moving to the right—and was a significant improvement. He's not fully on the same wavelength as his teammates yet, which is understandable, but he looked quick and direct and played a small part in the winner.
Helped to shore things up when replacing Miley in the 81st minute, playing at left wing-back and allowing Burn to move one inside. This was a very similar cameo to the one he made at Villa Park, as he dealt with everything that came his way with minimal fuss.
Took the 'Ritchie role' of coming on in stoppage time and playing on the right wing, not managing to get a touch of the ball in the four minutes he had on the pitch.
Last season's 1-1 draw with Bournemouth was a rare low point in an otherwise marvellous campaign. This season's home fixture with the Cherries gives us a chance to apply real pressure on the teams above us.
It can't be another Luton, we need to start building up a head of steam and we're confident we will. Kick-off is at 3 p.m. (GMT) on Saturday 17th February, with no (legal) television coverage in the UK.
Howay the lads!
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