Newcastle dominated the possession on Saturday but couldn’t breach a stalwart Bournemouth defense. While the performance was lacking, with Eddie Howe calling it the worst of the season, two shots struck the woodwork while Neto was forced to make some dramatic saves.
Nevertheless, almost isn’t worth much and the Newcastle haven’t scored from open play in two straight matches. The return of Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin can’t come quick enough as they will solve some of the issues in front of the net.
Alexander Isak was brought in to make that difference but its early days for the young Swede. He took his penalty very well yesterday and has found the back of the net in 2 of his 3 matches.
Isak is still acclimatizing himself to a new country and league. While he struggled to make an impact against Bournemouth, it was largely due to a lack of creativity from his teammates.
After the match, Eddie Howe spoke at length about his new striker. He admitted the 22-year-old was left isolated at times but was overall pleased with his contributions. Here is some of what the head coach said as published in Newcastle World:
“He’s learning, and not just how the team plays, but also how his teammates around him play too.
“Again, there were flashes from him today, but I don’t think, as a team, we did well enough around him to get him into goalscoring positions.
“We didn’t feed him the ball early enough. He was a little bit isolated, and we didn’t get him involved enough in the key areas where he wants to be involved.
“Let’s look at the positives – he took his penalty brilliantly and he worked hard for the team.
“He definitely contributed, but we know we can get him involved a lot more than that.
“It’s certainly not a view that we’re playing with one striker – we’re playing with several attacking players. It didn’t really materialize today though, so we’ll look at that and analyze why.
“He is a versatile player, and we obviously moved him briefly to the wide left when Chris (Wood) came on.
“He can play in a slightly deeper role as well, so there is flexibility with him.”
Isak has been thrust into the deep end and despite a lack of service has been our only goalscorer over the past three matches. He has a bright future at the club and once Howe gets everything to click in the final third, this team will a very exciting one to watch.