Trudging down the disciplinary corridors of power to find their fate this week, like naughty schoolboys destined for the headmaster, are a Jamaican veteran of Premier League spells at Portsmouth, Southampton and more recently Stoke City, and a Swedish international with over one hundred appearances for West Bromwich Albion.
First up is Stoke’s Ricardo Fuller, whose ill timed kick out at Branislav Ivanovic early in Saturday’s loss at Stamford Bridge resulted in a red card from referee Andre Marriner. Having been on the end of a strong challenge from the Serbian, Fuller could legitimately have gone to ground and may even have got a favourable decision, but in the end his rash stamp – labelled “stupid” and “ridiculous” by his manager Tony Pulis – forced a decision the other way and spared Ivanovic any censure of his own. Fuller will now miss the weekend FA Cup tie at Liverpool and Premier League games at Spurs and home to Manchester City. Jonathan Walters is seemingly set to reprise his support striker role with the imminent return of Matthew Etherington to the wing.
Next in line for the carpet, thanks to two yellow cards in the 2-0 defeat to Manchester United is West Brom defender Jonas Olsson. Having been booked early in the second half for a foul on goalscorer Wayne Rooney, Olsson was then guilty of a lunge on his strike partner Javier Hernandez in the 66th minute and duly saw the red card produced. Roy Hodgson will now be without his regular centre-back for the trip to Wigan at the weekend, meaning either a rare start for England U21 defender Craig Dawson, or a reshuffling of Liam Ridgwell into the centre with Nicky Shorey in at left-back.
Finally, taking a seat just outside the headmaster’s office amongst the leafy ferns and sweet perfume of his secretary, is Arsenal’s French international defender, Laurent Koscielny. As we’ve previously reported, there have been some complications with Koscielny’s disciplinary record, thanks mainly to a mis-attributed card in the New Years Eve win over QPR in which centre-back partner, Thomas Vermaelen was reportedly booked, only for the caution to be reassigned to Koscielny a week later. That extra booking made the yellow received in the last gasp Monday night win over Newcastle his ninth, and he will now balance on the tightrope for the next few games hoping to reach the Easter cut off on April 8 without further cautions. After that date the threshold is raised up to 15 bookings.
- Ricardo Fuller (STO) – 1 Red for violent conduct (second of 3 matches)
- Lee Cattermole (SUN) – 1 Red for foul and abusive language and 10 Yellows (third of 4 matches)
- Stéphane Sessègnon (SUN) – 1 Red for violent conduct (last of 3 matches)
- Nathan Dyer (SWA) – 1 Red for serious foul play (second of 3 matches)
- Jonas Olsson (WBA) – 1 Red for 2 Yellows (1 match)