By Tony Hughes
Moussa Dembele “hasn’t got a leg to stand on” over his FA violent conduct charge, according to former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp.
The Belgium international is set to be slapped with a lengthy suspension for his attempt to gouge Diego Costa’s eye during the explosive 2-2 draw between Tottenham and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.
Television replays appeared to show Dembele claw at the eye area of Costa during a half-time touchline bust-up that involved players and management staff from both teams.
Redknapp recognises that the Spurs midfielder is not an aggressive character but claims he deserves a spell on the sidelines as punishment.
“Dembele hasn’t got a leg to stand on,” Redknapp wrote in his Evening Standard column. “Dembele won’t play again this season and rightly so. It didn’t look like he actually hurt Costa or properly gouged him but that isn’t the point — you can’t react like that no matter what the provocation.
“Mousa isn’t an aggressive person or that type of character — he doesn’t go around kicking people every week. But he was out of order and will have to take his punishment.”
FA chiefs deem the offence worthy of a greater punishment than the standard three-match suspension that usually applies to violent conduct charges.
That means, if found guilty, Dembele, who has until 6pm on Thursday to respond to the charge, will miss the two games left this season and the opening weeks of the next.
According to the Mail, the indications are that the central midfielder could be banned for as many as seven matches.
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If Dembele was slapped with a seven-match suspension, he would miss the last two games of this season and the first five domestic matches of 2016-17, sidelining him until September.