Things continue to go from bad to worse for Sunderland.
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Without several first team players due to injury and participation at the Africa Cup of Nations, plus left back Patrick Van Aanholt looks to be on his way to Crystal Palace, manager David Moyes must now deal without key central defender Papy Djilobodji for four games.
The Senegalese defender lashed out at West Bromwich Albion skipper Darren Fletcher off the ball late on in Sunderland’s 2-0 defeat at the Hawthorns last weekend. The incident was not spotted by the officials but TV cameras picked it up.
Djilobodji initially denied the charge but an independent panel has found him guilty of violent conduct and he will now serve an immediate four-game ban, meaning he will miss the games against Tottenham, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Everton.
Moyes will have Lamine Kone back after Ivory Coast crashed out of AFCON in the group stages but Paddy McNair is out for the season. Moyes’ Sunderland have the most injuries in the PL with 10 and his options in defense are so stretched that earlier this week veteran center back Joleon Lescott signed a short-term contract until the end of the season.
Below is the statement the FA released confirming Djilobodji’s ban.
Papy Djilobodji will serve a four-match suspension with immediate effect after his violent conduct charge was found proven.
It was alleged the Sunderland defender was involved in a 86th-minute incident with West Bromwich Albion’s Darren Fletcher on Saturday [21 January 2017] which was not seen by the match officials but was caught on video.
He denied the charge, however it was found proven following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing.
The suspension includes the additional standard game as it was the player’s second dismissal this season.