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Is it time to team Isak and Wilson up in the Newcastle attack?

Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson
Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson

Joe Bradshaw, BBC Sport

Having two exceptional strikers is a problem most Premier League managers would love to ponder, but so far this season it has proved a conundrum too difficult for Eddie Howe to solve.

Since the start of last season, Callum Wilson is seventh among all players for goal contributions (23), while Isak has missed 11 games during this time period yet still managed 13 goals and assists combined.

Mostly, the two have competed for the central striker role in Howe’s fluid front three and Isak is the clear frontrunner, starting 14 of the past 16 games going back to April 2023. Wilson has only had six starts in that time, with none in 2023-24 so far.

However, the England striker has scored more often, netting 11 in the final 12 games last season and nicking another two off the bench already this time around.

Isak’s two goals came in a breathtaking performance against Aston Villa on the opening day, but he has been unable to replicate such potency since.

Granted, the quality of opposition has been excellent – few will take points from Manchester City, Liverpool and Brighton this year, but that is the esteemed company Newcastle operate in now.

So is it time for the two to be employed in tandem?

After all, against Saturday's opponents Brentford in April, Wilson came off the bench to inspire a second-half turnaround, and he set up Isak's winner.

Playing together pushes Isak out to the left, as shown by his touch map against Brighton at St James’ Park in May compared with the Villa game in August

That was a 4-1 victory where Wilson bagged a goal and assist but, interestingly, when the two did play together last season, Isak’s numbers were down. The latter's purple patch came before Wilson’s goalscoring impact off the bench made him impossible to leave out.

Isak’s outrageous assist at Everton demonstrates his phenomenal ability down the left, and his versatility is a key asset - but so far it has seemed Howe would prefer him down the middle.

Indeed, of the four Premier League games this season, Wilson has replaced Isak in three and they played a mere six minutes alongside each other in the fourth.

The Champions League starts next week and Newcastle will need both strikers fit and firing if they are to escape a daunting group containing AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund and Paris St-Germain.

With the fixture list accordingly set to quieten in the Premier League, perhaps this debate will not matter and whoever Howe picks will relish the chance to feast on the defences of the division’s lesser lights.

What do you think, Newcastle fans? Is it time for Wilson and Isak to play together from the start more often? Have your say here