Chelsea appear desperate to avert a potential midfield problem ahead of the League Cup final, with the possibility that they will appeal against the red card issued to midfielder Nemanja Matic during the 1-1 draw with Burnley at Stamford Bridge on 21 February.
The Serbia international, who has been a pivotal figure under Jose Mourinho since returning to the club from Benfica in January 2014, was dismissed in the 70th minute by referee Martin Atkinson after reacting to a dangerous tackle from Ashley Barnes by shoving the Clarets striker to the ground.
It was not the only questionable challenge of the afternoon made by Barnes and Mourinho was visibly incensed by the decision to punish Matic while allowing other offences to go unpunished. But reports from the BBC claim Chelsea will contest a three-match ban.
During a surprising guest appearance on Sky Sports' Goals On Sunday, the Chelsea manager described the initial foul on Matic as "criminal" and continued his recent crusade against the media by criticising the broadcaster for its failure to apologise for coverage of Diego Costa's stamp on Emre Can during the League Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool in January.
"End of career," the Portuguese manager, who runs the very real risk of further FA sanction with this latest outburst, said on 22 February. "I can't find words to describe what that player did. I can't find an adjective any stronger than to say end of career.
"Matic is a lucky guy. Matic had reason to lose his emotions. What are the consequences of Matic's push on the other player? Nothing. One second later, he stands and goes. The consequence for Matic could be the end of career.
"When you say Diego's 'crimes' because he put his foot on another man, you have to say this is a criminal tackle."
If Chelsea's appeal against Matic's suspension were to prove unsuccessful, the player would be ruled out of the Wembley showpiece against London rivals Tottenham on 1 March as well as the club's next two Premier League fixtures away to West Ham United and at home to Southampton.
Such an absence could prove particularly problematic for Mourinho given John Obi Mikel remains sidelined with a knee problem and Brazil midfielder Ramires has only recently returned to full fitness after his latest injury lay-off.
Cesc Fabregas completed the full 90 minutes against relegation-threatened Burnley after previously struggling with illness and although he will be expected to start against Tottenham, the loss of Matic would still come as a huge blow against a side whose own midfield has been boosted massively in recent months by the impressive form of young duo Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb as well as established playmaker Christian Eriksen.