For the second time this season, Manchester City players have received no punishment for their part in post-match and off-field fracas after the FA reviewed their cup tie against Wigan Athletic.
Wigan won the match 1-0, but some of the main talking points came outside the actual game time. Sergio Aguero appeared to lash out at a pitch invader, and Pep Guardiola was involved in an angry confrontation with opposition manager Paul Cook and referee at half-time.
On Tuesday, the FA analysed all the footage from the incidents. They also obtained testimony from Aguero himself, and decided against any punishment for either of the forward or City manager.
Wednesday’s Daily Mail writes that Aguero claims the fan involved in the altercation shouted “suck my d***” and spat in his ear.
Another Wigan supporter allegedly struck the striker on the head.
As a result, the FA clearly deemed the 29-year-old within his rights to throw his arms around.
In fact, Wednesday’s Telegraph claims that Aguero is considering legal action against the fan. Wigan have promised to ban the supporter once they identify him.
The only FA sanction against either club is a charge for failing to control their players after the first-half dismissal of Fabian Delph.
The two teams crowded around referee Anthony Taylor, and they have until 6pm on Friday to respond.
Most likely that means they’ll receive a fine, a reminder of their responsibilities, and nothing more.
It’s not the first time City have escaped from a tunnel bust up without any real punishment this season.
Earlier in the campaign, the Manchester derby ended in milk throwing and Mikel Arteta suffering a cut forehead.
Allegedly, over 20 players were involved in a row, but the FA took no action.
Different rule-book for Arsenal?
The indication given by these reports is that Aguero won’t receive any punishment because he was only retaliating, he didn’t instigate the confrontation.
That must be a new rule, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Arsenal player escape sanction on that basis.
When Joey Barton almost broke Abou Diaby’s leg, and his Newcastle teammate came over to give the Frenchman a shove, it was Diaby sent off for pushing Barton to the ground.
When Manchester City fans threw insults at Jack Wilshere’s children from the stands, and he stuck his middle finger up in response, the FA gave him a two-match ban.
The FA haven’t shown any leniency with Arsene Wenger either, in the way Guardiola is escaping punishment.
Earlier this season, the manager called Mike Dean a “disgrace” for his penalty decision in the match against West Brom. Wenger got a three match touchline ban, even though Dean later admitted he got it wrong.
Needless to say, Arsenal fans aren’t happy about the whole thing, with the League Cup final on Sunday:
Arsène Wenger got banned for 3 matches for calling Mike Dean a "Disgrace". Tonight, Aguero hit a fan and Pep was being aggressive to the referee and has a huge confrontation with Paul Cook in the tunnel. If Pep/Aguero escapes a ban then I'll know there is favouritism from the FA
— P¹⁸ (@RedLacazette9) February 19, 2018
Can't fathom any other way for it to happen to be honest. Wenger got a 3 game ban & a huge fine for calling out a ref for some appalling decision. Aguero punches a fan and Pep shoves a manager, but nothing doing.
— Arsenal Echo (@punkrockshake) February 20, 2018
— Benjamin (@Hodgetts33) February 20, 2018
Let’s just hope there are no similar incidents at the weekend. If there are, we know how the FA will deal with them.