Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Tyrone Mings have a 6pm deadline on Tuesday to respond to the Football Association charges for alleged violent conduct they were served on Monday.
Manchester United stand to be without their talismanic Swedish forward for the FA Cup clash at Chelsea as well as Premier League encounters with Middlesbrough and West Brom after Ibrahimovic’s elbow caught Mings in the face during Saturday’s
1-1 draw with Bournemouth.
That came just after the Cherries defender’s left boot landed on Ibrahimovic’s head, with Mings now facing the possibility of an even longer ban following the FA’s probe into the incidents.
Both players had professed their innocence and escaped punishment at the time as referee Kevin Friend failed to spot them, yet FA charges were brought about on Monday once a panel of three former elite officials had studied the video footage.
An FA statement read: “Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Tyrone Mings have both been charged with alleged violent conduct following the Manchester United versus AFC Bournemouth game on Saturday (4 March 2017).
“The players were involved in two separate incidents in or around the 44th minute which were not seen by the match officials at the time but caught on video.
“Furthermore, The FA has submitted a claim that the standard punishment that would otherwise apply for the misconduct committed by the Bournemouth defender is ‘clearly insufficient’.
“Both players have until 6pm on Tuesday 7 March 2017 to reply to their charge.”
Ibrahimovic later had a second-half penalty saved in the game as United drew for the seventh time at home in the Premier League and his bad day has since been compounded by the possibility of retrospective punishment.
The 35-year-old seemed prepared to accept such an eventuality when quizzed on the matter following Saturday’s game.
“I respect every decision,” he had said.
“I am not here to attack anybody. My purpose was not to do that. The game is hard.”
He and Mings had been involved in an ongoing tussle throughout the afternoon at Old Trafford which ignited once Ibrahimovic threw his marker to the ground.
On the stroke of half-time Mings then stood on Ibrahimovic as he looked to hurdle both him and Wayne Rooney in the build up to a United attack.
The former Ipswich man claimed any contact with Ibrahimovic’s head was purely accidental – though former England defender and current TV pundit Jamie Carragher had argued it was “disgraceful”.
“It wasn’t intentional,” Mings stressed. “If there is reaction (from pundits), there is reaction after.
“They have time to slow it down and look at it from different angles.
“When you are out there on the pitch you have to try and get back in and defend.
“I obviously didn’t mean it, but if there is reaction, there is reaction – everyone will have an opinion. That is football.”