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Newcastle: Craig Hope urges Eddie Howe to unleash Alexander Isak

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe has been encouraged by journalist Craig Hope to unleash Alexander Isak following Bruno Guimaraes‘ injury.

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The Toon have been dealt a potentially huge injury blow over the weekend after their star man, Guimaraes, rolled his ankle in the victory against Fulham.

Guimaraes was seen leaving St. James’ Park on Sunday wearing a protective boot and being supported by crutches after the ankle injury saw him leave the pitch in tears.

But the match-winner, Isak, stole the headlines on Tyneside having made his first Premier League appearance since his return from his own injury issues.

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And with the Brazilian midfielder potentially set to be sidelined for some time as a result of the injury, Hope has spoken on his YouTube channel about now unleashing the Swedish forward:

“I just think as well, given the injury to Bruno Guimaraes and the absence, or certainly what will be a dearth of numbers in midfield, perhaps that would be a route Eddie Howe has to explore a lot more in the coming weeks. You know, Alexander Isak just off Callum Wilson with a 4-2-3-1 formation.”

 Big decision to make for Howe

Despite the issues leading up to the game against Fulham on the weekend, Howe decided to stick with Joelinton in the starting XI.

However, the Brazilian did feature higher up the pitch than he typically has under Howe but was reverted back into midfield in the second half as a result of Guimaraes’ injury.

And now his compatriot, Guimaraes, could be set to miss some action on the pitch, Joelinton may have to return to his spot in the midfield.

Who should start vs Palace?

Allan Saint-Maximin

Allan Saint-Maximin

Alexander Isak

Alexander Isak

But this will leave Howe with a decision to make whether to play Isak or Allan Saint-Maximin from the start with the Swede only recently returning from injury.

Saint-Maximin was the man to replace Guimaraes at half time but he did only manage 25 touches in the 45 minutes he played (via SofaScore).

In comparison, in the 19 minutes Isak played against the Cottagers, he managed to touch the ball 19 times and one of those proved the decisive header which earned Newcastle all three points (via SofaScore).

Since signing, the Swede has been heavily affected by injury issues but he has provided an impressive return in the handful of games he has played under Howe.

Isak – hailed a “superstar” by Jason Cundy – has made just his fourth appearance in the Premier League on Sunday and has racked up just 263 minutes of action but has managed to score three goals (via Transfermarkt).

That is a goal every 89 minutes. And when you compare it to Saint-Maximin’s one goal in 458 minutes of league action, it does leave Howe with a decision to make ahead of the game against Crystal Palace on the weekend.