Newcastle United take on Nottingham Forest tonight in their final game before the international break, and Chris Sutton has had his say on who will come out on top.
It is a mammoth game for both sides. A win for Eddie Howe‘s side will strengthen Newcastle‘s Champions League credentials, while Forest will hope to boost their survival bid with another strong result at home.
These two sides met on the opening day of the season, with the Magpies winning 2-0 at St James’ Park thanks to goals from Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson, who was not happy with his performance on that day.
Forest seriously struggled on Tyneside, as they received a brutal welcome to the Premier League. But tonight will be a different story, as Steve Cooper’s side are a much more dangerous proposition at the City Ground.
Their home form is excellent, and a big reason why they are still in contention to avoid relegation back down to the Championship. They are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League games at the City Ground, with a run that includes a win over Liverpool and draws with Manchester City and Chelsea.
Fulham were the last team to beat Cooper’s side at the City Ground in the league back on September 16th, but Sutton expects Newcastle to end Forest’s fantastic home run.
Chris Sutton thinks Newcastle will beat Nottingham Forest
As part of his weekly Premier League predictions for BBC Sport, Sutton has tipped Newcastle to win 1-0 on Friday night and explained why.
“This is such a big game, at both ends of the table,” he wrote.
“Newcastle had lost a bit of ground in the race for the top four before they beat Wolves last weekend. They got a bit lucky, because Wolves could have had a penalty and their goalkeeper Nick Pope could have been sent off if it was given, but it was an important result for them.
“Forest, meanwhile, were well beaten at Tottenham. Their performance was so disappointing, and they were very lucky to get a goal – they barely had an attack.
“Steve Cooper’s side rely so much on their home form because their results on the road have been terrible, but it means they are under pressure to get points here, and I think that might begin to tell.
“It smells a bit like a draw to me, but Newcastle need the win and Forest can’t play Chris Wood [who is on loan from the Magpies] and also have issues at the back. Forest haven’t lost at the City Ground in the league since the middle of September but I think that run ends here.”
It would be a first away win since Boxing Day for Newcastle
If Newcastle are going to beat Nottingham Forest tonight, they must do something that no Premier League side has done since mid-September and win away at the City Ground.
Howe’s side will also need to do something they haven’t done since December 26th, and that is win a Premier League game on the road. Since the Magpies beat Leicester on Boxing Day, the Toon have only won two more league games – both of which were at St James’ Park.
But Sutton is expecting an away win for Newcastle tonight, pointing to Forest’s defensive ‘issues’ as a reason why.