Nottingham Forest were beaten 2-1 in their first game of the 2019/20 Championship season against West Bromwich Albion to give Sabri Lamouchi plenty to think about.
Matty Cash gave the Reds an early lead after just eight minutes at the City Ground. His low strike caught Sam Johnstone out at his near post, much to the delight of the home supporters.
However, the Baggies were able to quickly level through Kyle Edwards. His shot slipped through the grasp of Manchester City loanee Arijanet Muric. The debutant keeper was caught out again soon after as Matty Phillips’ freak goal turned the game on its head.
Forest’s next outing is on Saturday when they travel to Elland Road to face Leeds United.
After this weekend’s disappointing display against the Baggies, we looked at three takeaways from the Championship contest:
Learning curve for Muric
The 20-year-old has had shaky games during pre-season, and this was a debut to forget for Muric.
There’s no doubt that he will feel he could’ve done better with both goals. He allowed Edwards’ shot to slip through his grasp, before being caught out by a cross from Phillips.
This performance already has some fans calling for his head and for a new keeper to be signed. However, it’s too early to write off a young player who is so highly-rated by Pep Guardiola.
Of course, it remains to be seen if Muric is good enough to remain first choice throughout this season, but he should undoubtedly be given more time to let his quality shine through.
Alfa Semedo impressed with his performance against Real Sociedad just over a week ago, and he was able to replicate that against the Baggies.
There’s no doubt that it was a disappointing result for the Reds. However, Semedo’s performance was one of numerous positives to take from the game. He has the potential to be a key player for the Reds this season.
The 21-year-old’s ability to beat players and go on driving runs has already seen him likened to Manchester United’s Paul Pogba. Out of the midfield trio Sabri Lamouchi utilised, he was the one who stood out.
It’s still very early days but it was an encouraging performance from a player who still has the potential to improve even more as the season progresses.
One player who hasn’t received the same level of praise following Saturday’s game is Lewis Grabban.
The 31-year-old scored 16 goals in the Championship last season for the Reds. However, he rarely looked a threat against the Baggies. He wasn’t able to muster an effort on goal until the latter stages of the game.
In this case, Grabban didn’t have much service to go off. The Baggies defended resolutely throughout and made it very difficult for the Reds to create.
That being said, he’ll want to get off the mark as soon as possible to avoid any pressure building up on his shoulders.