Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 35.
Player analysis - Alexander Isak (NEW)
Netting with 40 per cent of his efforts, excluding blocks, Newcastle United’s in-form forward has proven himself to be an extremely clinical finisher during his debut season.
The Swede's right-foot strikes tend to be crisply struck and unerringly accurate. Remarkably, 22 of his 25 efforts have been on target.
Scoring seven times since mid-March, Isak is also one of the division’s form strikers.
It is imperative for Sunday’s opponents Arsenal to starve Isak of service and ensure he does not get on the end of too many opportunities at St James’ Park.
Top shooting stats 2022/23*
|Player||Conversion rate||Player||Shot accuracy|
|Alexander Isak||40.00%||Alexander Isak||88.00%|
|Erling Haaland||38.04%||Phil Foden||75.00%|
|Phil Foden||35.71%||Son Heung-min||70.37%|
|Miguel Almiron||33.33%||Ollie Watkins||69.84%|
|Gabriel Martinelli||28.85%||Marcus Rashford||64.71%|
|Callum Wilson||28.85%||Harry Kane||61.11%|
*10 goals or more
One of Isak’s standout qualities is his ability to calmly improvise at speed.
Flicking out his right foot to net with a tremendous volley from Joe Willock’s cross was on his season highlights at the City Ground, as was his brilliant lob from distance into an empty net in their 5-1 win at West Ham.
Isak's goal v West Ham
Quick thinking and excellent composure from Alex Isak! 🧊🇸🇪 pic.twitter.com/05h2Pf11Co— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) April 5, 2023
Isak’s spectacular form has begun to bring the best out of fellow striker Callum Wilson too.
Wilson, Newcastle’s leading scorer, has only started two of the last seven Premier League matches, but has registered an amazing eight goals during that period, netting four times as a substitute.
Such is their form, Eddie Howe has become increasingly happy to use his two strikers at the same time, with Isak often moving towards the left.
However, Isak’s mesmeric dribble down the left, before slaloming across the byline to set up his team-mate, was one of the season’s best individual moments.
Isak's dribble and skill v Everton
Happy to play out on the left if Wilson is deployed as a central striker, Isak also showed his quality when crossing for his partner to score in a 3-1 win over Southampton last time out.
Best mins/goal 2022/23
*Min. five goals
Newcastle scored 23 goals in seven matches during an impressive spell in April, winning on six occasions.
The form of Isak, and a rejuvenated Wilson, was a key ingredient and over the course of this season, they have been incredibly efficient.
Arsenal must contain the pair over the 90 minutes if they are to come away with anything from St James' Park and keep their title hopes alive.
Next: Adrian Clarke on Monday's matches