FA hits Arsenal's Alex Song and Gervinho with three-match bans

Arsène Wenger's midfield crisis deepened after Alex Song was handed a three-match ban for his stamp on Newcastle United's Joey Barton, after a review of the video evidence.

FA hits Arsenal's Alex Song and Gervinho with three-match bans The Arsenal manager, who has lost Cesc Fábregas to Barcelona, faces losing Samir Nasri to Manchester City and has Jack Wilshere out with ankle trouble, has appealed against the severity of Gervinho's suspension for his red card at St James' Park. The new signing slapped Barton during the melee that erupted after the Newcastle midfielder accused him of diving to win a penalty.

The Football Association has charged both clubs for failing to control their players following the flashpoint, which carries a £25,000 fine. Newcastle have denied the charge and their case will be heard by an FA disciplinary commission. Arsenal are considering their response. Arsenal do not dispute Gervinho's red card and they have not appealed against it but against the punishment, a three-game ban, which they feel is too severe for what was a petty slap. They will point out that Barton has admitted overreacting. As they are not appealing against the decision, there is little chance of Gervinho being suspended for an extra match for making a frivolous appeal.

Song's stamp was not spotted by the referee Peter Walton and, as such, the path was cleared for the FA to deal with the player retrospectively. Arsenal have accepted the punishment, which begins with Liverpool's visit to the Emirates on Saturday. Song will also miss the Premier League matches at Manchester United and at home to Swansea City.

Barton's outspoken comments on Twitter in the aftermath of the Arsenal game have dismayed his club's officials and they were unimpressed at his performance on Radio 5 on Sunday night, if relieved that he refrained from discussing Newcastle or his contract situation. Barton had promised Newcastle he would not do any interviews.

Nasri, has reacted to the abusive chants from Arsenal's travelling support at St James' Park. There was anger among them at his proposed move to City on a more lucrative contract. "I heard what the fans were singing about me on Saturday," Nasri tweeted, "and it is really disrespectful because I'm still an Arsenal player."

Nasri is expected to complete his move to City this week while Emmanuel Eboué is close to tying up his transfer to Galatasaray. Wenger was asked to rate Nasri's chances of staying at Arsenal on a scale of 1-10. "I don't like the scales in the game because it is always unpredictable," he said. "It is difficult to answer that question in an honest way."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by David Hytner, for The Guardian on Monday 15th August 2011 23.00 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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