Looking for a second beyond Monday’s match against West Ham United and to next Monday’s FA Cup quarterfinal against Manchester United, who are likely to be, and certainly should be, without their biggest talisman for the trip to Stamford Bridge after the events of Saturday (unless The FA bottle it and don’t suspend him).
United slumped to yet another draw in the Premier League to start the weekend, failing to put more than one past the previously sieve-like AFC Bournemouth defense — though it was perhaps down more to poor finishing than any actual defensive solidity from the visiting Cherries at Old Trafford. Either way, the match finished 1-1.
The bigger talking points, other than whatever nonsense Jose Mourinho was trying to deflect to, were the incidents between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Tyrone Mings, neither of whom were actually punished by the referee (he did send off Andrew Surman in the kerfuffle that followed). Here’s a replay of the sequence.
Who will be banned longer? #Zlatan or Mings? Or neither?pic.twitter.com/JvBkie27A8— TheFootballRepublic (@TheFootballRep) March 4, 2017
So that’s a stamp on Ibrahimovic’s head (!) — or an accident? — and then a clear elbow right into Mings’s head from Zlatan. The closed fist is a pretty clear indicator that he wasn’t just jostling for position. Zlatan of course claims that the defender “jumped into his elbow,” giving us a glimpse at life inside his own reality distortion field.
Zlatan to #MUTV: "I went for the ball and it was unlucky he jumped into my elbow. But it was nothing on purpose... I hope he's not injured." pic.twitter.com/gpr1chUXhF— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 4, 2017
The expected punishment from The FA for Zlatan is a three-match ban for violent conduct, which would rule him out of not only the Chelsea match, but of United’s games against Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion. Seeing as how he has 15 of their 39 goals in the league this season (38%), that would be a big loss.