Alexander Isak struggled against Bournemouth’s defensive block in a concern for Newcastle going forwards, according to Paul Merson.
The Magpies made the Sweden international their club-record signing earlier this summer. Newcastle broke their transfer record for Bruno Guimaraes in January, but the Saudi-backed owners invested heavily again.
And Isak enjoyed a dream Premier League debut, netting against Liverpool at Anfield and having a second ruled out.
Isak netted his second Newcastle goal in three games in Saturday’s 1-1 Premier League draw with Bournemouth.
Although, the penalty came in contrast to the joy the 22-year-old had running behind Liverpool’s high line. And speaking in the wake of the draw with the Cherries, Merson picked out his noticeable lack of presence as a concern.
The pundit added that Isak may be much more effective away from home for Newcastle than at St James’ Park.
“I didn’t see too much of him, they [Bournemouth] defended him very well,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“You know, it’s hard. Sometimes it’s hard [for a striker].
“You need that grass behind the defence and it wasn’t there for him. He’s very quick (and) they nullified that, Bournemouth.
“They just sat back and put 10 behind the ball. [There was] not a lot of space between the goalkeeper and the back four. He didn’t have anywhere to go.
“When it’s like that it’s going to be hard. I think he’ll get a lot more joy away from home.”
The draw with Bournemouth left Newcastle 10th in the Premier League table with eight points to their name.
After the international break, they face a run of seven Premier League games before a Carabao Cup clash against Crystal Palace.
Their Premier League sequence sees them face the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Fulham.
Alexander Isak can make Newcastle difference
Newcastle enjoyed a fantastic start to the season, beating Nottingham Forest before holding Premier League champions Manchester City to a 3-3 draw.
Since then, though, they have drawn games which they would have looked to win.
The 0-0 with Brighton was a particular standout, as was the same scoreline against Palace.
And it is in these games that Isak needs to make the difference.
He showed against Liverpool that he can be a serious threat in front of goal in the Premier League. However, he needs to learn to play against low blocks better.
It is in those tight games where a 1-0 win for Newcastle – supplied by Isak – would make their situation a whole lot rosier.
They have been in all of the games they have played this season. Indeed, they were ahead against Man City and Liverpool. But, they need to find a way to stay on top and dominate games more.
And that is where more goals from Isak can unnerve Premier League defences and lead to better results.
The fact is, though, Isak has already shown exciting talent and that there is a lot more to come from the Swedish star. He just needs more time and more goals.