Tottenham Hotspur's title chances are officially on life support after yesterday's 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane. While there were plenty of chances and close calls, one incident that stuck out is one that we all had wished didn't happen.
Dele Alli and WBA midfielder Claudio Yacob spent a lot of the match chirping at each other and getting tangled up, but the main incident is the one that's going to cost the 20-year-old midfielder when a camera spotted Alli punching Yacob on a set piece in the penalty area. Unfortunately for Alli, one of NBC's extra cameras caught the incident and it has made its way to the English Football Association.
Today, Lyall Thomas of Sky Sports confirmed what we all hoped wasn't going to happen:
Alli has been charged by the FA with retrospective violent conduct. Has till 6pm tmo to respond. Faces three match ban #THFC— Lyall Thomas (@SkySportsLyall) April 26, 2016
The various announcers during the match yesterday were talking about the difference between "petulant" and "violent" conduct, with the former of the two being the lesser issue as that is usually chalked up to just standard contact and reaction during a match. Violent conduct, unfortunately, has a much harsher penalty. While the referees during the match missed this incident, that means nothing as Alli is still facing up to a three match ban, meaning his season could very well be over.
If you're looking for a precedent here to decide what to expect, look no further than just a few months ago when Crystal Palace striker Connor Wickham was charged and subsequently banned three matches for his elbow on our own Jan Vertonghen that also resulted in the Spurs defender missing three months due to an injury. Wickham received no booking or foul during that play, but the FA was allowed to retroactively go back to the incident using TV feeds and punished him accordingly.
It's unclear as to what Alli and Tottenham will do here. Chances are high that Alli will accept the charge and plead for leniency, much like what Jamie Vardy did in his charge of verbal abuse towards referee Jonathan Moss. Right now, this isn't looking great for the PFA YPOTY. I would be personally shocked if he managed to escape a ban, especially since the FA has about a 95% rate of following up charges with a suspension, according to NBC SN during yesterday's commentary.
We won't have to wait long, but for now, it's just waiting to hear the punishment.