Newcastle United 2 Nottingham Forest 0, St James’ Park, Premier League, 6/Aug/22, KO: 15:00, Att: 52,245

Player Ratings from Yousef Hatem in the stands at St James’ Park. 

Pope – 7 – Did not have a huge amount to do, but dealt with high balls into the box well, and came off his line when needed. Important to start with a clean sheet.

Targett – 8 – His best attacking performance in a black and white shirt. Overlapped time and time again, and his delivery from dead balls was better than Trippier’s. Our pressing and intensity from back to front was the key feature of this performance. Nobody epitomised it more than Targett. He is so, so much more than just a solid full back. That does him a disservice.

Burn – 7 – Made some important interceptions. Occasionally outpaced, and lost his man for Forest’s best chance, but otherwise solid. Would be hard to justify dropping him for Botman, based on this display.

Schar – 7 – Magnificent goal. Increasingly looked like we’d need something special to break the deadlock, and his strike certainly was. Had little to do defensively, but just about did what he needed to do.

Trippier – 6 – May seem harsh to give the captain a fairly average score when the team played so well, but the truth is he can play much better than this.  Solid and dependable as always, but will expect to offer more going forward (and from set pieces) than he did today.

Bruno – 9 – We didn’t just beat Forest 2-0, we absolutely destroyed them, and the destroyer in chief was our Brazilian genius. He set the tempo from start to finish, and controlled everything around him. Today was further proof that he is world class and can be an absolute legend at this club.

Joelinton – 8 – Colossal in midfield, at one point in the first half managing a pirouette while on the floor, beating three men in the process. Was controlled and sensible in possession. Had quite a few shots, and will be desperate to improve his goal return this season. Basically, picked up where he had left off. Faded a little bit after the break, but had already comprehensively won his midfield battle by then.

Willock – 8 – Was on Bruno’s wavelength from start to finish, offering some smart touches and runs, and repeatedly won the ball back on the rare occasions when Forest got it. If he keeps getting in the positions he did today, goals will come.

Almiron – 9 – Superb performance. Made the right runs, passed at the right times, and showed enough to suggest that – maybe, just maybe – he is finally going to deliver for us. If he’d scored, it would have brought the house down and rightly so.

St Maximin – 8 – We know about his ability. But here was a display which showed him – finally – to be in tune with what Eddie Howe is looking to achieve. He ran at the right times, he passed at the right times, and he went for goal himself at the right times. It didn’t always come off (in fact, it often didn’t, but we already know that comes as part of the deal). What we learnt today was that ASM, with proper coaching and instruction, is a real asset to this side. Hugely pleasing to see.

Wilson – 7 – Two moments of pure class: his goal an instinctive striker’s finish, and then a magnificent piece of control shortly afterwards, plucking the ball out of the sky and beating his man in the process. It would be tempting to give him a higher score based on those two moments alone, but he was a little anonymous until that point, despite leading the line in his usual boisterous, physical way.

Yousef Hatem – @yousef_1892