Alexander Isak’s dramatic late winner serves as reminder to Dream Team gaffers
YOU would be forgiven for forgetting that Newcastle signed a £63million striker in the summer.
Alexander Isak (£3.4m) was restricted to just 244 minutes of playing time for his new club prior to the World Cup break because of a hamstring injury he incurred while on international duty in September.
The Sweden forward would have been noticeably absent had the Magpies struggled in the months since but, on the contrary, they currently reside third in the Premier League table.
Callum Wilson (£3.9m) and Chris Wood (£2.1m) have shared centre-forward duties between them with the former impressively averaging a goal involvement every 108.8 minutes in the top flight this term.
More broadly, Miguel Almiron’s (£3.4m) purple patch has meant there hasn’t been much talk of a need for more attacking threat.
But of course Eddie Howe would have delighted to be able to call upon Isak again this month.
The 23-year-old got some minutes under his belt against Sheffield Wednesday and Leicester in Game Week 17 and this weekend he reminded fans and Dream Team gaffers alike of his presence when he came off the bench to score Newcastle’s winner against Fulham.
The goal itself was the simplest of tasks, a point-blank header with no goalkeeper to beat, but the magnitude of it should not be underestimated.
Howe’s side are now just one point behind Manchester City and have realistic hopes of Champions League qualification having still only lost one league game in 2022/23.
Isak’s goal was also a wake-up call for Dream Team managers who may have forgotten that the the former Real Sociedad striker scored two goals in three outings before his injury.
It’s a small size granted, but the Toon’s No14 is averaging a goal every 87.7 minutes in the Premier League since his big-money transfer.
Those numbers, while probably unsustainable, certainly warrant consideration at the very least.
Saying that, patience remains a virtue, it’s not yet clear whether Isak is fully match fit or where he resides in the pecking order at St James’ Park.
Surely the long-term plan is for Isak to be the first-choice striker but it would be understandable if Howe stuck by Wilson for foreseeable future – the England international has always played his best football under the former Bournemouth tactician.
What’s clear is that Newcastle are a team to keep backing in the realm of Dream Team and their upcoming fixtures reinforce the validity of that idea.
They face Crystal Palace next Saturday before two Carabao Cup semi-final legs against Southampton, then West Ham and Bournemouth – two teams at the foot of the table.
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