Eddie Howe faces a major selection dilemma at Newcastle United

Alexander Isak of Newcastle United. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
Alexander Isak of Newcastle United. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images) /

This coming week might be the most difficult for Eddie Howe as Newcastle United manager. One or more players will have to be demoted from the lineup to make way for Alexander Isak. Who, though? It depends on how Isak will be utilized.

Eddie Howe has Newcastle United flying high as the team sit seventh in the Premier League table with only one defeat to their name. The “draw” column is a bit stacked, but Newcastle United returned to winning ways this weekend despite missing a few key players to injury.

The good news is that injured players are making significant progress and fans could see some of them in the team sheet for the Brentford clash on October 8. The key name this article will focus on is the club’s most expensive signing – Alexander Isak.

The Sweden international has made an immediate impact since his transfer from Real Sociedad. With two goals in three Premier League appearances, the 23-year-old has fit right in on Tyneside, but he will spark noticeable changes to the lineup when he returns from injury.

There are a few scenarios that could see multiple players demoted in order for Isak to thrive at Newcastle United.

The Magpies’ front office did not sign Isak to make money from increased jersey sales. The expectation is for the dynamic striker to play an integral role in the success of the club. That being said, here are different scenarios analyzing who would get the axe to make way for the new star.

Scenario 1: Demotion for Callum Wilson

This scenario is not expected to occur, at least not on a regular basis, since Howe has hinted that his preference is for Wilson and Isak to play together. However, that narrative can change at any time based on form or injury. Wilson has Premier League experience on his side, but if Howe feels that Isak will operate better as a lone striker then he would be the player sacrificed.

Scenario 2: Demotion for Miguel Almiron

If Howe carries on with his implementation of the 4-3-3 shape and decides to keep Wilson up top to lead the front line, then Miguel Almiron would have to make way for Isak on the wing. The Newcastle United boss has mentioned how versatile the striker from Sweden is, and that he is confident he can be effective playing off the central role as well. Almiron would be demoted as there is no chance superstar Allan Saint-Maximin will be losing his place.

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Scenario 3: Demotions in Central Midfield

This is where things truly get interesting. If Howe changes the team’s shape to a 4-4-2 to form a striking partnership between Wilson and Isak then the idea of a midfield trio is scrapped. Bruno Guimaraes brings too much quality to the table, so he is safe, but either Joelinton, Joe Willock, Sean Longstaff, or Jonjo Shelvey would have to be dropped.

Shelvey is nearing full fitness again and it is important to note that Newcastle United were at their best last season with the trio of Shelvey, Bruno Guimaraes, and Joelinton in central midfield.

The trio might still play together if a 4-2-3-1 transition occurs where Shelvey and Joelinton sit back while Guimaraes, plays in the ten role, but that spot could also belong to Isak, Almiron, or even rising star Elliot Anderson.

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All of these scenarios are worth thinking about as Howe will have to make some important changes to the lineup in the near future. If not for the Brentford game, then definitely for the trip to Old Trafford in two weeks time.