Mousa Dembele is facing a potential lengthy ban after being charged with an alleged act of violent conduct by the Football Association (FA). The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder appeared to push his finger into the eye of Chelsea striker Diego Costa during first-half stoppage time of an ill-tempered 2-2 draw on Monday night (2 May). That match was littered with bad tackles and saw referee Mark Clattenburg produce no fewer than 12 yellow cards.
If found guilty, the usual punishment for violent conduct is three matches. However, the seriousness of the alleged offence means that the Belgium international could be set for a longer spell on the sidelines. Spurs host Southampton next before finishing an otherwise impressive season away to relegation-battlers Newcastle United.
"Mousa Dembele has been charged for an alleged act of violent conduct that was not seen by the match officials but caught on video during the same game," the FA confirmed in an official statement released two days after the so-called 'Battle of Stamford Bridge'.
"The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder was involved in an incident with Chelsea's Diego Costa near the end of the first half. Further, it is alleged the player's behaviour constituted violent conduct in circumstances where the standard punishment of three matches that would otherwise apply is clearly insufficient."
In addition to Dembele, both Chelsea and Tottenham have been hit with three separate breaches of failing to control their players and officials. This charge appears to relate to ugly confrontations that followed the full-time whistle, when 69-year-old manager Guus Hiddink was knocked down as the arguments progressed towards the tunnel area.
The flashpoint at the end of the first half was ignited by Danny Rose's foul on Willian, which saw Mauricio Pochettino unsuccessfully try to restore calm to proceedings. Another unsavoury episode in the 87th minute followed allegations from Cesc Fabregas that Erik Lamela had stood on his hand. A subsequent report from The Telegraph claimed the Chelsea midfielder has since been accused of sparking the regrettable post-match scenes by "slapping the groins of Spurs players and staff". However, neither he nor Lamela will face any retrospective action.
Both clubs have until 6pm on 9 May to respond to the respective charges, while Dembele's deadline is the same time this Thursday (5 May). Tottenham, whose failure to beat Chelsea handed the title to Leicester City with two games still to play, are already without Dele Alli after the England midfielder was handed a three-game suspension for aiming a punch to the stomach of Claudio Yacob during the costly home draw with West Bromwich Albion last week. The club have also accrued an automatic £25,000 fine for receiving at least six cautions in one match.