Newcastle: Alexander Isak’s star continues to rise

Alexander Isak celebrates scoring his second goal against Tottenham by sliding on his knees
Alexander Isak has scored 21 goals in all competitions for Newcastle this season

To be mentioned in the same breath as one legendary striker is one thing, but two is quite another – especially when those names happen to be Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Alexander Isak scored for the sixth home game in succession as Newcastle dismantled Tottenham with a 4-0 victory in the Premier League at St James’ Park.

There were echoes of Henry in the manner in which the Sweden striker notched his double.

Isak seems to possess the same languid style, graceful fleetness of foot and ice running through his veins to finish in one-on-one situations as the Arsenal great.

“Playing football is really fun at the moment, especially when we have days like this,” Isak told BBC Match of the Day.

“You guys in the media always find more records and statistics to be beaten, but I just play and do my best.”

The 24-year-old had the poise of a ballet dancer as he jinked back inside on to his right foot before he whipped a low shot into the net for his first goal.

Tottenham defender Micky van de Ven was sent into a dizzying spin before tumbling to the ground as he tried to stop Isak.

The Dutch centre-back might be the quickest player in Premier League history, but he was left trailing in Isak’s wake for his second goal.

Isak anticipated a high ball over the top from Bruno Guimaraes to give him a head start on Van de Ven, then shaped his body to nonchalantly stroke the ball past Guglielmo Vicario.

“It’s hard because Thierry was one of the best ever,” former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand said on TNT Sports.

“But the timing of his runs – a lot of players run offside – those little details. He doesn’t need to be the quickest because upstairs he is quicker.”

Ferdinand’s fellow pundit, ex-Liverpool striker Peter Crouch, said Isak is someone he loves watching who “seems to make the right decisions”.

“He is so calm when he gets in those positions. He cut Van de Ven up a few times,” Crouch said.

“You always know he is going to score, he has great feet and leads the line. He’s not got the blistering pace Henry had, but the calmness in front of goal.”

Isak has quite a way to go to eclipse the goalscoring feats of Henry, who bagged 175 in 258 Premier League appearances for the Gunners.

Isak has 27 in 46 games for Newcastle in the top flight since he joined from Real Sociedad in August 2022 for a fee in the region of £60m.

In the immediate term, though, he looks set to overhaul a record set by compatriot Ibrahimovic.

Isak’s double took him to 17 league goals this season – the joint highest by a Swedish player in a campaign along with Ibrahimovic’s total at Manchester United in 2016-17.

Isak became the fourth player to score in six consecutive Premier League home games for Newcastle after Alan Shearer (15 in 1996-97), Andrew Cole (eight in 1993-94) and Les Ferdinand (six in 1995).

He is the first Newcastle player to score 20 in all competitions since Shearer in 2003-04.

Team-mate Anthony Gordon said there is no ceiling for Isak, who reportedly had his car stolen this week, provided he can stay clear of injuries.

“When fit, he is so good to play with. You can see on the pitch he is so, so gifted,” Gordon said.

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