Sunderland right back Phil Bardsley has not managed to get away with that vicious little kick on Chelsea winger Juan Mata in the first half of the Blues 2-1 win over the Black Cats at the Stadium of Light on Saturday after all. Mata had been knocked to the ground over the course of play and Bardsley's attempted vault over the downed 23-year-old was punctuated with a particularly nasty stamp to Mata's back. Although referee Lee Probert didn't see the incident, it was widely replayed on television and now the FA has opted to formally charge the defender with violent conduct.
There was some question as to whether or not the stamp was purposeful, especially in light of Bardsley's apparent concern for Mata as he lay on the ground in pain, but the charges would not be made if the FA weren't comfortable that that it was a deliberate action. I would agree with them - there's nothing about Bardsley's movement that suggests said stamp was anything but an opportunistic and sneaky way to take revenge on a player who'd been obliterating him all match. The offence was worthy of a straight red card, and Bardsley will probably face a
three four match ban if the charge is upheld.
Sunderland have until midweek to respond.