Flailing arm could cost Argentine a suspension.
Javier Mascherano could face a violent conduct charge from the Football Association after appearing to swing an arm and strike Jermaine Beckford on the back of his head during Liverpool’s 1-0 Carling Cup win at Leeds United last night.
When Beckford appeared to pull Liverpool’s Argentinian midfielder back at a throw-in, Mascherano swivelled, raised an arm and caught the striker on the head with a forearm. Beckford collapsed to the ground clutching his head but Alan Wiley, the referee, took no action and the forward played on.
It is unclear whether Wiley had a proper view of the incident. If he did, the FA cannot issue sanctions – in this case almost certainly a charge of violent conduct and a likely three-game suspension. But if the report Wiley submits to the governing body states he did not spot the blow, action can be taken on video evidence.
Rafael Benítez, Liverpool’s manager, indicated he would defend any such charges. “I think it is just nothing,” he said, explaining that Mascherano’s indiscretion could not possibly be compared to the sort of bad tackles that frequently go unpunished. Simon Grayson, the Leeds manager, was sanguine but more cynical. “Mascherano’s turned and put his arm up; it went a bit too high. I’ve looked at replays. I’m not saying it’s malicious and I’m not saying it’s not, you can’t really tell. Some players have been sent off for that, some haven’t, sometimes these things go your way, sometimes they don’t.” (Guardian)
Given recent bans given for far worse offences, like Emmanuel Adebayor’s deliberate kicking of Robin Van Persie, I would hope that common sense prevails on this one. I don’t think it was malicious and wasn’t as bad as some have made out.