Chelsea Hit With FA Charge But Liverpool Escape Punishment After James Red Card Incident

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Chelsea charged but Liverpool escape punishment over clashes in aftermath of Reece James penalty incident

The Blues have been charged with failing to control their players for the second time in five Premier League games after Saturday’s 1-1 draw

The Football Association has issued two disciplinary charges against Chelsea over the behaviour of their players during Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield.

Chelsea took the lead through a clever Kai Havertz header and were seemingly in control of the game until Reece James was sent off just before half-time for denying a goalscoring opportunity by handling Sadio Mane’s shot on the goal-line.

Referee Anthony Taylor initially waved play on before reversing his original decision, awarding a penalty to Liverpool and issuing a red card to James, after reviewing the incident on his pitchside monitor, much to the displeasure of Chelsea’s players. Antonio Rudiger was cautioned for his protestations.

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There was a further flashpoint when Edouard Mendy was also booked for catching Jordan Henderson as he attempted to boot the ball away after Mo Salah’s successful penalty had bounced back out of the net.

An FA statement on Wednesday read: “Chelsea FC has been charged with two breaches of FA Rule E20.1 following their Premier League fixture against Liverpool FC on Saturday.

“It is alleged that Chelsea FC failed to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during the 48th minute of the first half, and following the half-time whistle.

“Chelsea FC has until Friday to provide a response to this charge.”

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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel and club captain Cesar Azpilicueta both criticised Taylor for not taking long enough to rewatch the footage. James will now face a three-match domestic ban, starting from Chelsea’s next Premier League match against Aston Villa after the international break.

“The red card spoils the game, I have no solution for it because maybe it is a red card because he denies a chance but it is also a deflection,” said Tuchel. “I would have liked a longer [VAR] check. I can remember referees that explained if it is a deflection and it is not a very unnatural arm position it is not a penalty.”

Azpilicueta added: “He [the referee] just goes and sees one image and it’s enough for him to give a penalty and a red card. I feel sorry for Reece, it’s very harsh.”

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It is the second time in five Premier League games that Chelsea have been hit with the same charge by the FA after their players became embroiled in a touchline brawl with Leicester players in stoppage time of a 2-1 win at the end of May.

On that occasion, which fell a week after Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat to Leicester in the FA Cup final, a tough challenge from Ricardo Pereira on Ben Chilwell sparked a 20-man brawl involving all outfield players. Both clubs were subsequently fined £22,500.