Belfast Telegraph

Arsenal manager Wenger unlikely to push luck on FA charge

Arsene Wenger is thought to be ready to accept his Football Association charge today which will mean that he will be forced to sit in the stand tonight for Arsenal's potentially fiery Carling Cup third round game against their rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

The Arsenal manager was hit by an improper conduct charge yesterday for his rant at the fourth official Martin Atkinson during his side's 1-1 draw with Sunderland on Saturday.

Under the fast-track process if he accepts the charge, which carries a one match touchline ban and a £8,000 fine, he will be able to take his punishment immediately.

Should he request a hearing then he risks being sat in the stand when Arsenal play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on 3 October, potentially a far more significant game.

Last night Wenger was said to be thinking over his options.

The Arsenal manager pushed Atkinson in the back during his loss of cool over Sunderland's equaliser in the fifth minute of injury time. The FA charge outlines “insulting and/or abusive language and behaviour amounting to improper conduct”. It is the “abusive behaviour” part of that charge that is thought to relate to the shove on Atkinson.

If Wenger appeals he also risks being given an extra punishment. He has never been the subject of a touchline ban since he came to England in 1996.

It also emerged yesterday that Wenger is considering playing a stronger team than he would usually field in the Carling Cup. In the past he has traditionally used it to give his youngsters a chance, but it is anticipated that he will field a much more experienced team.

There is expected to be a first team debut for Chuks Aneke, a 17-year-old midfielder from the club's academy. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, 19, who played a significant role as a loan player in Blackpool's promotion push last season is also anticipated to feature.

Belfast Telegraph


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