Wayne Rooney could be banned for Manchester United's crucial tie against Chelsea on Tuesday, as he faces a charge for violent conduct after elbowing Wigan's James McCarthy in United's 4-0 win on Saturday.
A charge for violent conduct could mean a three-game suspension for the striker. It comes at a crucial time for United as they face tricky ties against Chelsea and Liverpool during the week.
Rooney lashed out at Wigan's James McCarthy with an apparent elbow early in the first half at DW Stadium on Saturday. The referee Clattenburg had awarded Wigan a free kick at the time. It puts the FA's disciplinary system on the radar as the 'trial by video' clause is only used on incidents which escape the attention of the referee. In this case, Clattenburg did award free kick for Wigan, thereby ruling out the clause.
Just a few hours before United take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the Football Association will release the contents of referee Mark Clattenburg's report on Tuesday.
United have a decision to make if Rooney is found guilty. He could be free to face Chelsea if the club decides to appeal against a charge but that would mean risking an extra match suspension for a 'frivolous appeal'.
It makes for an unnecessary distraction for United as Chelsea, though they are 15 points behind the leaders, will be desperate to win and won't let go of the title they won last season without a fight. It's a point acknowledged by United keeper Edwin van der Sar.
He said, They will be looking for our scalp. We would be the same in their situation. We know they will be eager to beat us that is obvious. The fact we overturned their lead (Chelsea led the table by 5 points until their slump in November) does also serve as a reminder that it can be done to us. It is better to be on top but four points is not a lot with 11 games to play. There are still 33 points to be had, so you can't get too far ahead of yourself. Chelsea are a little behind points wise but you know who your closest competitor is and you have to stay in front of them.''