Wayne Rooney will be a big miss for Manchester United when the Red Devils take on Newcastle this Saturday.
The English forward picked up a yellow card on Wednesday night against Everton. That's his fifth of the season, which means he's out for United's next game, per ESPN FC's Colin Udoh.
That Rooney booking is critical for Man United. He will now miss the Newcastle game.— Colin Udoh (@ColinUdoh) December 4, 2013
If this were the Rooney of last season, perhaps the club wouldn't be affected too much by his absence. He wasn't on a great run of form for much of the campaign, and Robin van Persie was firmly the No. 1 option in the attack and could carry the side through.
Without Wayne Rooney, will United beat Newcastle on Saturday?
This year, though, Rooney has reasserted just how important he is to Manchester United. The 28-year-old leads the club in both goals (eight) and assists (five). Quite often, he has been the lone standout performer in an attack that has lacked creativity for much this season. Supporters could at least take solace in his individual play despite some of the club's poor showings.
Taking him out of the side could make things very difficult against Newcastle.
The impact in terms of defense will be minimal. Although Rooney's work rate is high, he wouldn't have been tasked with marking either Yohan Cabaye or Loic Remy out of the game.
Where his absence will be felt is in the final third.
Without Rooney, it will be difficult for United to find that spark in the final third.
With the form of Remy, there's a chance the Magpies will be able to get on the scoresheet in Old Trafford. In the event they get down in the match, United could be in trouble.
Van Persie is always capable of scoring, but Newcastle's defense is tough and organized. Without Rooney to worry about, Michael Williamson and Fabricio Coloccini can focus more of their attention on the Dutch target man.
Javier Hernandez could be a possible replacement for Rooney and strike partner for RVP, but he needs service in order to thrive. Rooney won't be there, so you wonder who that provider would be.
There's no doubt that Manchester United will have a difficult time on Saturday. Although they're still capable of snatching three points in a close game, don't be surprised to see this one end up as a draw.
Follow @JosephZucker on Twitter.