The play of right-back Mathieu Debuchy has been a driving force behind Newcastle United's surprisingly stellar 2013-14 EPL season thus far, but the Magpies will have to figure out a way to thrive without him over the next three matches.
According to Newcastle FC's official Twitter account, Debuchy was ejected from the team's New Year's Day game against West Bromwich Albion after being given a straight red card for a tackle in the 62nd minute:
Some might argue that the decision to eject Debuchy immediately was rash, but the Premier League's Twitter account deemed his challenge "dangerous":
RED CARD Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle). The Frenchman is sent off for a dangerous tackle by referee Lee Mason after 62 mins #WBANEW— Premier League (@premierleague) January 1, 2014
The ejection ultimately cost Newcastle dearly against West Brom, as they surrendered a penalty in the 87th minute, which Saido Berahino converted, and West Brom won the match 1-0.
In addition to that, the Magpies will also miss Debuchy during a crucial set of matches moving forward. He will be ineligible to play against Cardiff City in a crucial third-round FA Cup match on Jan. 4, and he's also prohibited from playing in the upcoming EPL matches against Manchester City and West Ham United on Jan. 12 and Jan. 18, respectively.
Was the straight-red ejection of Debuchy a fair decision?
Although Debuchy and Newcastle can appeal the Football Association's ban, it is likely that he will have to serve the entirety of it due to the aggressiveness of his tackle.
Losing Debuchy for any period of time is unfortunate for Newcastle, as the 28-year-old Frenchman provides great pace and a steady demeanor on the back end. Without him in the fold, the Magpies will have to turn elsewhere in the coming matches.
In addition to the defensive onus falling on the likes of Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon and Michael Williamson, expect 21-year-old Massadio Haidara to potentially step in with Debuchy out of action.
Haidara doesn't have the nearly the experience that Debuchy does, but he is an exciting player who can help maintain the tempo of Newcastle's attack.
It is likely that nobody is more disappointed than Debuchy, as he was starting to embrace the EPL grind, according to Lee Ryder of The Chronicle Live:
It's the first time I have experienced the Christmas and New Year football period here – in France, we have a week, maybe 10 days, off. But it's quite nice to get those games coming thick and fast and I feel more than ready to get out there and attack these next games.
As it turns out, Debuchy will get a break after all, but it certainly won't be a welcomed one.
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