Opinion was split over whether or not Phil Bardsley deliberately stamped on Chelsea winger Juan Mata during the Blues 2-1 win over Sunderland on Saturday. The fact that the Scotland right back showed immediate concern for Mata was a point in his favour; the fact that the stamp seemed to be a completely unnatural extension of his jump over the prone Chelsea player was one against. The only person who knows for sure whether it was on purpose or not, of course, is Bardsley himself, and now he's more or less admitted his guilt by not contesting a charge of violent conduct laid down by the FA following their review of the incident.
Initially Sunderland were expected to appeal the charge, which comes with a four-match suspension thanks to Bardsley already having been sent off once already this season (for two bookable offences against Newcastle), so this change of heart from the club is a little bit weird. It gets even weirder when you look at the right back situation Steve Bruce is facing - John O'Shea isn't fit, so losing Bardsley for four matches makes Ahmed Elmohamedy Sunderland's only senior right back. Anyway, that's not really our problem, so I'm just happy to see that a violent incident involving one of our players is properly punished. Mata is too tiny to be taking that kind of punishment.