Nottingham Forest were welcomed back to the Premier League with a bang yesterday, losing 2-0 at Newcastle. In truth, it could, and should, have been a more emphatic defeat but in Lewis O’Brien, the Reds did have a smidgen of positivity.
Forest huffed and puffed at St James’ Park. For 45 minutes they kept the host at bay but goals from Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson saw the hosts claim a deserved win.
The Reds will have to get better in the final third. Yesterday, very little was created going forward and Forest actually failed to register a shot on target during the 90 minutes.
Several new players were handed debuts. One of those was O’Brien who started for the first time following his £10 million move from last season’s beaten play-off finalists Huddersfield.
The 23-year-old was an intriguing signing by Forest. He’s only ever played in the Championship but he has been one of the top midfielders in the second tier over the last two seasons.
Yesterday was a tough baptism of fire for the Reds. O’Brien playing in his first Premier League didn’t look particularly fazed and stayed calm when the majority around him lost their composure.
O’Brien provides Forest positivity
In truth, the midfield axis of O’Brien and Jack Colback probably didn’t work yesterday. Having two left-footed options in the engine made things a little bit unbalanced.
O’Brien did show some composure in possession. He made 26 passes throughout the game and even attempted three long balls during his time on the pitch.
Defensively he was sound too. He made three tackles and produced four clearances as Forest tried their best to keep the Magpies at bay.
The Reds player showed his energetic style of play and he was withdrawn in the second half following an unbelievable shift where he covered every single blade of grass.
There will be even more to come from O’Brien as the season progresses. Forest are going to improve and the lively nature of the midfielder is likely to be a huge asset.
The Reds will have wanted to get off to a good start against Newcastle. It wasn’t to be but in O’Brien, there was at least something positive about the trip north.