06 Dec Fabregas no charge
Cesc Fabregas avoided further punishment as Manchester City and Chelsea were both hit with charges following Saturday’s stormy clash at the Etihad Stadium.
City pair Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho were both banned, as expected, for four and three games respectively after being sent off in the ugly scenes that marred the end of City’s 3-1 loss to the Londoners.
The clubs collectively were also charged with failing to control their players by the Football Association on Monday following the mass brawl, which was sparked by Aguero’s horror tackle on David Luiz.
But Chelsea midfielder Fabregas, who was booked for getting involved in the fracas, escaped further retrospective action for the apparent slap on Fernandinho that precipitated the Brazilian’s angry reaction and subsequent red card.
That could anger City with defender John Stones having said after the game he did not think the punishments meted out at the time were “fairly balanced”.
A statement from the FA read: “Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas will not face any further action in relation to an incident involving City’s Fernandinho.”
City and Chelsea will both have until 6pm on Thursday to respond to the general charges.
City manager Pep Guardiola was unwilling to discuss the matter in detail at a press conference to preview Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Celtic.
He said: “It is a pity what happened in the last minute and of course we are going to accept the ban from the FA and we are going to work with other players for the next games.”
Guardiola was also unwilling to entertain suggestions his team have a discipline problem. Including a retrospective punishment for Aguero earlier in the season, City players have effectively collected six red cards this campaign.
“We are the best team with ball possession and with most red cards,” was all he would say.
Guardiola also denied he ignored his former Barcelona player Fabregas after the game.
He said: “I greeted Cesc in the changing room. I don’t realise he was on the pitch.”
City will also be without Fernandinho against Celtic as he serves a European suspension for his dismissal at Borussia Monchengladbach a fortnight ago.
But with nothing riding on the game for either side – City are guaranteed last-16 qualification as runners-up while Celtic will finish last – rotation was always likely.
Guardiola said: “There will be changes, definitely. I am so happy to give minutes to people who deserve to play and who did not play in the last games.”
The sides drew 3-3 at Celtic Park and although the Scottish champions are heading out of the competition, they still want to prove they belong at this level.
Captain Scott Brown said: “We have to learn to play in these games to be in the Champions League and now it’s for us to focus on next season and show we’re good enough to be back in it.”