Tottenham Hotspur winger Erik Lamela could yet miss much of the Premier League title run-in, after appearing to strike Stoke City forward Marko Arnautovic during the 4-0 win at the Britannia Stadium. The collision occurred during the second half of the game which saw Arnautovic floored by an errant forearm from the Argentina international, an off-the-ball incident that was missed by referee Neil Swarbrick.
The Lancashire based official, who has been part of the Premier League's select group since 2011, reportedly has 48 hours to summit his post-match report and should he omit the episode or indicate he did not have full view of the incident The Football Association could act, retrospectively against the Spurs playmaker. Arnautovic required treatment after the blow during a game where Swarbrick allowed several challenges to go unpunished and showed just two yellow cards. IBTimes UK have contacted the governing body for comment.
Swarbrick's lenient performance followed criticism of colleague Jon Moss, after the controversial draw between Leicester City and West Ham United during which the referee sent off Jamie Vardy for diving and awarded late penalties to either side. Though Tottenham thrashed Stoke to go within five points of Claudio Ranieri's side, with just four matches remaining, they could yet lose Lamela for much of the remaining campaign if the player is found guilty of violent conduct.
Lamela would likely be banned for three games if The FA's independent panel rule against him, and would join Vardy on the sidelines – with the England international facing an extension to his one-match punishment after being charged with improper conduct following his weekend dismissal.
Vardy, who has netted 22 times in the Premier League this term, was shown a second yellow card after appearing to exaggerate contact between himself and Hammers defender Angelo Ogbonna, but his subsequent remonstrations with Moss could see his ban extended.
Leicester will be without their top scorer for their visit to Swansea City this weekend, a game which could see Ranieri's team re-establish their eight-point advantage, which has been cut by Tottenham's impressive win over The Potters. Harry Kane and Dele Alli both struck twice to leave Mauricio Pochettino thrilled with the result.
"It was amazing, we feel very proud of our players and they deserve full credit, all the praise," he said according to the official Tottenham website. "We showed character, passion, we were hungry and we enjoyed that 93 minutes. We've arrived at a crucial moment at a very good level, we're happy with how we are and we need to continue pushing and putting the pressure on Leicester".
"It's fantastic, the mentality and everything we've showed from the start of the season. This is also brilliant because they believe and they trust in the philosophy we play" continued Pochettino. "It's fantastic and when you feel that, you can only enjoy it. Our fans were fantastic. They deserve this moment and one more time, thank you very much, their support was incredible."