The expected announcement by the FA just dropped: Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Mousa Dembele has been charged with violent conduct by the Football Association for his scuffle with Diego Costa during Spurs' 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday, and it's likely that he will be suspended for more than the usual three matches.
Dembele's charges stem from an incident where he poked Costa in the eyes in the middle of a scrum between Spurs players and Chelsea players. Neither match official Mark Clattenburg or his assistants saw the incident but it was caught on camera.
Meanwhile, Mousa Dembélé has been charged for an alleged act of violent conduct which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video during the same game.
The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder was involved in an incident with Chelsea’s Diego Costa near the end of the first half.
Further, it is alleged the player’s behaviour constituted violent conduct in circumstances where the standard punishment of three matches that would otherwise apply is clearly insufficient.
The player has until 6pm on Thursday 5 May 2016 to respond to the charge.
This is wholly unsurprising news, and I think everyone expected that Dembele would be disciplined. However, the wording of this release makes it sound like a five match ban or even longer might be in store for the Belgian midfielder, which would extend his suspension into the first few games of next season.
For Tottenham, the question now turns to who replaces him. Eric Dier (remarkably?) escaped long-term punishment from the Chelsea match despite a series of hard tackles. It's quite likely that Ryan Mason will slot in beside Dier for the matches against Southampton and Newcastle, though it's possible we could see more of a tactical shake-up.
And there might actually be silver lining to Moose missing three matches to begin next season. At present Tottenham doesn't really have a natural back-up in his position. This suspension might force Pochettino's hand a bit in this summer's transfer window. If the end result of this incident is that Spurs end up with two solid rotation options in central midfield, then that might be the best possible outcome.
In addition to Dembele, both Chelsea and Tottenham have also been charged with "failure to control their players and/or officials," which is another wholly unsurprising outcome and will result in hefty fines.
This also means that, aside from Dembele, no other players from Tottenham or Chelsea have been brought up on FA charges. So yes, Spurs fans, that means Erik Lamela is off the hook for stepping on Cesc Fabregas' hand.
Both clubs have until Monday at 6 pm to respond to the charges.