Newcastle: Journalist claims Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson may not play together
Chronicle Live’s Andrew Musgrove believes Newcastle United’s lack of striker depth could mean Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson rarely play at the same time.
The Lowdown: Depth a concern for Howe
Something that may have surprised people during the January transfer window was the lack of signings Newcastle made despite having a wealthy ownership running the club.
However, Eddie Howe was keen to emphasise how crucial it was that they respected Financial Fair Play rules, although letting Jonjo Shelvey go without a replacement being lined up seemed a bizarre decision.
Newcastle now lack depth in key positions heading into the final stretch of this season, with Howe only being able to call upon three central midfielders and two strikers at the moment – and both of his senior forwards have had questionable injury records this season.
The Latest: One of Isak and Wilson to miss out
While Newcastle have struggled for goals in recent weeks – just two in their last five games – Musgrove claimed on the Everything is Black and White podcast that he can’t see Howe starting both Isak and Wilson at the same time.
He said: “I think [Isak] has shown in the appearances against Southampton in the cup that he’s definitely a first-team player, but I just wonder whether the fact they’ve only got two recognised strikers to get them to the end of the season will also play a factor.
“You would love to play them both, I think it would work – no doubt it would work. But I just wonder whether that does play a part in why Eddie Howe might not do it.”
The Verdict: Howe must be bold
The Magpies have indeed been struggling in the final third since the resumption of club football, with Howe’s side boasting just a 10% shot-conversion rate in the Premier League, which is quite alarming.
Considering that Wilson did scored in the last game against West Ham – despite missing two more glorious chances – it could be considered a shock to see him dropped in place of Isak, although Howe has insisted the Sweden international has been ‘vital‘ for the Magpies in the past, and it is worth noting the amount of money they paid for Isak in the first place.
Given that Newcastle are taking on a Bournemouth side that sit bottom of the form table and have scored just one goal since Gary O’Neil got the job on a permanent basis, this could be the perfect chance to make a statement and show they are still a good enough side to make the top four – and doing this by starting two strikers could put fear into a shaky Cherries defence.