There was a time when the lads from Newcastle were known as The Entertainers. That team, which mostly played in the mid-90s, brought magic to Tyneside and helped locals believe something extraordinary was brewing in the north English town.
This Newcastle is far from that version, but there’s no arguing they know how to entertain you, don’t they? Just a week ago, the Magpies drew their EPL game against newly-promoted Luton Town 4-4 at St James’ Park and on Saturday they once more made those paying for a ticket worth doing so by winning their fourth consecutive game on the road across all competitions beating hosts Nottingham Forest 3-2 at the City Ground.
The win, a much-needed one for a struggling Newcastle side led by manager Eddie Howe, helped NUFC climb to the seventh place in the Premier League table pending what West Ham (one game in hand) do Sunday against fellow Londoners and third-placed Arsenal FC.
Bruno Guimaraes didn’t change his position on the Magpies midfield but his role in Howe’s scheme was entirely different, moving from his usual no. 6 role to much more advanced positions higher up the pitch related to the tasks demanded from a natural no. 8.
So big was the change that Bruno finished Saturday’s outing with a brace and scoring the game-winning goal for Newcastle approaching the 70th minute of play.
Nottingham Forest, before allowing Bruno to get away with the winning score, conceded two goals from set pieces and put the cherry on top of a turd performance with a crucial error that allowed Bruno to score the winning goal following an errant pass by Anthony Elanga stolen by the Brazilian and ultimately put smoothly on the bottom of the net.
Forest appealed for a penalty before Newcastle’s third goal but it was never awarded and they collapsed after that action, going from one to no points earned this weekend and getting dangerously closed to facing the very real tread of relegation, sitting just two points above the drop zone through Saturday’s matchups.
Bruno put Newcastle ahead quickly with a volley just 10 minutes into the affair following a cross from the right side of the pitch. After only 15 minutes Forest would bring it all to a draw with Elanga leveling the score in the 26th minute.
There will be two more goals before the break, the first by Newcastle’s defender Fabian Schar off a free-kick and then another one by Forest five minutes into added time before the break, this one courtesy of Callum Hudson-Odoi already into the 50th minute of play through the first half.
Speaking after the game, Howe praised Bruno’s performance while sliding his own ginous idea of moving him higher up the field, saying “When we can get him the ball in those positions higher up the pitch, he has undoubted quality.”
While Newcastle surely dominated Forest having possession of the ball for 60 minutes to the Tricky Trees’ tally of 40, they also suffered a bit to put off a team that should never complicate matters that much for a club of the stature (at least as they perceive themselves) of Newcastle.
The Magpies allowed Nott Forest to come back twice and needed an error by their opponent to score the winning goal already deep into the second half. All of that, again, after allowing Luton Town to put four goals past them just a week ago.
Positioning Bruno as a left-sided No. 8 instead of his usual deeper-No. 6 position unlocked a much more prolific and dangerous Newcastle amid the current injury wave, but Bruno is not going to excel at that hybrid No. 8-10 role he enjoyed against Forest on Saturday simply because of the level of competition being putrid yesterday and much tougher challenges being ahead of him, starting with a trip to Arsenal two weeks from now followed by the FA Cup’s fifth-round matchup just three days after that game.
“We have to get Europe again, at least Europa League,” Bruno said after beating Forest. “We have all the possibilities to get there—we have been playing better away than home, and it was the opposite last season so it’s good to get another three points away.”
The optimism is there and the willingness is to. Now, it’s all down to putting on stronger defensive efforts while keeping the goals (in favor) coming. Let’s keep it going.