Belfast Telegraph

Villa appeal after Delph red card

Aston Villa have appealed Fabian Delph's red card after the midfielder was dismissed against Sunderland.

The 25-year-old became the third Villa player to be sent off in four games when he saw red for a challenge on Jordi Gomez in Sunday's 0-0 Barclays Premier League draw with Sunderland.

It forced manager Paul Lambert to deny they are a dirty team after Kieran Richardson and Gabby Agbonlahor - who had his red card agianst Manchester United rescinded - also walked early this month.

Villa hope to get another card overturned after launching a protest for Delph. Lambert said: "I thought it was a harsh red card and we think three games is excessive.

"Fabian hasn't gone in maliciously at all. I can kind of understand why the referee's done it, but I still think it's excessive."

Delph is facing a three-game ban starting with the New Year's Day visit of Crystal Palace if Villa fail in their appeal.

It was their fourth red card of the season, including Agbonlahor's, after Christian Benteke was dismissed against Tottenham in November and Lambert feels they are being harshly treated by officials.

"I think it's been unfair at times," he said.

"I think because we are a youngish kind of side, we can be a target for that.

"Even when you ask the lads about it sometimes they can't believe it either. It's just something you have to try and get through.

"You just have to try and keep 11 guys on the pitch, but I saw some challenges over the weekend on TV and they weren't punished with anything. You think to yourself 'how is that different from ours?'

"I think if you go back to Gabby's red card, everyone knew that shouldn't have been sent off.

"So we were down to 10 men against Manchester United then they told us that Gabby shouldn't have been sent off - well thanks very much.

"Christian's red card I would also debate, too."

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