Newcastle United v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Championship
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Last Newcastle XI to beat Nottingham Forest including Benitez’s £10m star

Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Newcastle United will host Nottingham Forest on the opening day of the Premier League season, six years on from the Toon’s last win over the Midlands outfit in a Championship clash at St James’ Park.

Steve Cooper will take his City Ground natives to the North East on August 6 after leading the club to play-off glory last season. Nottingham Forest edged Huddersfield Town 1-0 at Wembley after ending the regular-season in fourth, behind champions Fulham, runners-up Bournemouth and the Terriers.

Nottingham Forest last played in the Premier League during the 1998/99 season when they finished bottom of the pack. Newcastle finished that term in 13th and won both games with the City Ground natives, thanks to a 2-0 victory on Tyneside in 1998 before claiming a 2-1 win on the road in March.

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Newcastle have met Nottingham Forest seven times across all competitions since last facing off in a top-flight fixture. The Magpies have won on three occasions to four defeats, including losing each of the last two meetings. Nottingham Forest eliminated the Toon from the EFL Cup in 2017 and 2018.

Newcastle to host Nottingham Forest on opening day of Premier League season

The last league encounter between Newcastle and Nottingham Forest ended in the Magpies’ favour, though. Rafa Benitez led the Toon to a 3-1 win at St James’ in December 2016 on route to lifting the Championship title. The result lifted the club to the top of the table above Brighton & Hove Albion.

Matt Ritchie put Newcastle ahead after just four minutes when his free-kick deflected past Vladimir Stojkovic. The goal stunned Nottingham Forest, but the visitors managed to respond when Nicolao Dumitru swept the ball home on the volley from Eric Lichaj’s delivery as the half-hour mark neared.

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Ritchie almost restored Newcastle’s advantage early into the second-half, but the momentum swung firmly in United’s favour on 60 minutes. Referee Keith Stroud reduced Nottingham Forest to 10 men when he sent Matt Mills off after two bookable offences, three minutes before Dwight Gayle scored.

Sloppy defending by the visitors handed Gayle a chance to put Newcastle back in front with his 18th goal of the season. The forward then pounced once again, and prayed on the uncertainty that Mills’ red card brought to score at the far post. He would go on to end the term with 23 goals in 32 games.

So, with Nottingham Forest now returning to St James’ for a league match on the opening day of the Premier League season in August, who else played for Newcastle during the clubs’ last win in 2016?

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Karl Darlow (GK): Newcastle outcast started last win over Nottingham Forest

Karl Darlow is currently an outcast at St James’ having not featured in a Premier League match since Eddie Howe took charge in November. But the 31-year-old guarded Benitez’s net for the Toon’s last win at home to Nottingham Forest in 2016 for one of his 34 Championship appearances that season.

DeAndre Yedlin (RB): Inter Miami’s winter arrival started vs Nottingham Forest in 2016

DeAndre Yedlin is now plying his trade in MLS after joining Inter Miami from Galatasaray in February, a year after leaving Newcastle. The right-back had joined the Toon from Tottenham for the 2016/17 Championship season for £5m, and would go on to feature in 27 second-tier matches for six assists.

Jamaal Lascelles (CB): Newcastle captain led Benitez’s men to Nottingham Forest win

Jamaal Lascelles captained Newcastle to the club’s last win over Nottingham Forest during Benitez’s tenure in December 2016. The centre-half featured in 43 Championship fixtures that term, while his 26 Premier League outings in 2021/22 helped take him to 214 Toon games across all competitions.

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Ciaran Clark (CB): Newcastle outcast was pivotal under Benitez in 2016/17

Ciaran Clark has not featured for Newcastle since January as Howe omitted the centre-half from his Premier League squad. But the Republic of Ireland international was a pivotal part of Benitez’s plans in 2016/17 after a £5m transfer from Aston Villa with 34 second-tier appearances and starting each.

Paul Dummett (LB): Newcastle product started last win over Nottingham Forest

Newcastle product Paul Dummett started in the club’s last win over Nottingham Forest in December 2016. The 30-year-old, with 204 Magpies outings in all competitions, featured in 45 of a potential 46 Championship matches during the 2016/17 campaign, and also started during 44 of his appearances.

Jack Colback (CM): Midfielder set for Newcastle return with Nottingham Forest

Jack Colback will return to Newcastle with Nottingham Forest this August, six years after beating the City Ground side under Benitez. The midfielder featured 29 times during the 2016/17 Championship campaign, but he fell out of favour before first joining the Midlands outfit on loan in January 2018.

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Isaac Hayden (CM): Star of last Newcastle win over Nottingham Forest now at Norwich

Isaac Hayden moved to Newcastle from Arsenal aged 21 for the 2016/17 Championship season and featured 33 times that term. But surgery for a knee injury in December saw the midfielder slip down Howe’s pecking order and he will spend the 2022/23 season on loan with Norwich in the second-tier.

Matt Ritchie (RM): Deadlock breaker now wanted back at Bournemouth

Benitez signed Ritchie from Bournemouth in 2016 for £10m, up to £12m with add-ons, and deployed him in 42 Championship games that term for 12 goals and eight assists. But Howe is now prepared to sell the winger, per TeamTalk, while The Northern Echo note the Cherries are considering his return.

Ayoze Perez (CAM): Leicester man started last Newcastle win over Nottingham Forest

Ayoze Perez stayed at Newcastle after the club’s relegation in 2016 and would score nine goals while creating seven over 36 Championship games. He remained key under Benitez but left St James’ when Leicester paid a £30m clause in 2019. Now, the Daily Mail report the Foxes have put him up for sale.

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Christian Atsu (LW): Former Newcastle ace now plying his trade in Saudi Arabia

Christian Atsu is now plying his trade in Saudi Arabia after joining Al-Raed upon leaving Newcastle as a free agent last year. The Ghanaian spent five years on Tyneside after joining in an initial loan from Chelsea in 2016, and went on to feature 121 times for eight goals and 10 assists in all competitions.

Dwight Gayle (ST): Forward fired Newcastle to last win over Nottingham Forest

Gayle fired Newcastle to the club’s last win over Nottingham Forest after joining from Crystal Palace under Benitez in July 2016 for £10m. He has never managed to match his Championship exploits in the Premier League with the Toon, however, with just 11 goals from 81 games and none since 2020.

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