A suspension for Newcastle star Fabian Schar means the defender will now miss the Toon’s next two fixtures, leaving manager Rafa Benitez with a huge selection headache.
Although the rest of the Magpies will still be on a high after their 3-2 comeback over Everton last weekend, the victory was a bitter sweet one for Schar.
The defender picked up his 10th yellow card of the season against The Toffees, incurring a two match suspension.
The Swiss international will now miss Saturday’s away trip to Bournemouth, as well as a Monday night fixture versus Arsenal on April 1st.
Rafa Benitez will no doubt be frustrated to lose such a key player, especially with Newcastle still only six points above the relegation zone.
But more annoying for Benitez, is that this suspension could have so easily been avoided.
After a decision went against the Toon during the Everton clash, Schar picked up the ball and threw it to the ground in frustration.
Referee Lee Mason quickly deemed the behaviour unsportsmanlike and so booked the defender accordingly.
It was a needless booking, and was particularly frustrating given how close Schar was to avoiding suspension.
Had Schar managed just two more matches without a yellow, he’d have been available for the rest of the season.
However his tendency for bookings may well be a side of his game he just cannot change.
Schar’s yellow fever
The truly bizarre thing about Schar’s yellow card haul, is that he’s only played 18 games this season.
In more than half the games he’s played, he’s picked up a booking. And in many cases they’ve been cynical or needless fouls.
It’s a record he should not be proud of, and his suspension may well cost Newcastle.
Of course defenders aren’t known for being gentlemen of the game, but Schar’s booking rate is far too high.
The defender will next be available to play Crystal Palace on April 6th. But there’s every chance he could pick up another suspension.
Given Newcastle play Crystal Palace in game week 33, Schar could potentially play another six matches this season.
He could easily pick up five more bookings in that time.
A 15 card accumulation also incurs a three match ban. This means such a ban for a player could well carry into next season.
Newcastle need Schar to slightly adjust his attitude as they need him to play as many games as possible.
Newcastle without Schar
It’s no coincidence that of the 18 games Schar has played, the Toon have won nine of them.
And when you consider Newcastle have only won nine matches in 30 this season, it’s obvious he is integral to their success.
The defender also has an eye for goal, his three league strikes contributing to wins over Cardiff and Burnley.
Newcastle have never had such a cultured defender since Philippe Albert, and he has quickly become a fan favourite.
His suspension has left Benitez with some important decisions to make, and hopefully Schar’s absence will not leave Newcastle in a precarious position come April.