The dominoes are beginning to fall at Stamford Bridge, and if Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo doesn't act swiftly, he could lose control of this team for good.
While the Italian manager handled the bombardment of Cole and Terry related questions with class and dignity, the hint of frustration in his voice was evident.
Cole made headlines last week when he made his feelings known about the Independent Regulatory Commission's decision on teammate John Terry. Following the judgement, Cole took to Twitter in a rant that included referring to the FA as a "bunch of t****."
The actions by the FA left Di Matteo with no choice but to hand out a punishment of his own.
He ultimately decided to dock Cole two weeks wage—around 240,000 pounds.
Earlier this week, the FA visited with the English national team and introduced their new code of conduct for all English players to abide by. Among other things, the code specifically touches on the responsibility each player has when maintaining their social media presence.
Di Matteo also took the opportunity to issue a warning to his team. He made it clear that any player who failed to live up to the high standards set by the club would face disciplinary action.
Not soon after, another Chelsea defender made headlines.
This time it was youngster Ryan Bertrand.
After having to withdraw from the national team's upcoming qualifiers, Bertrand was frustrated with the backlash he seemed to be receiving over his decision.
Like Cole, he took to Twitter to respond.
“Just to clarify… It’s not a ‘sore throat’,” Bertrand tweeted. “I’m ill, swollen glands in my neck and constant headache for three days now and freezing cold.
“Do you think a ‘sore throat’ could stop me being a part of a match for my club or country? #yourf**kingnuts this is what every boy dreams off.”
Bertrand deleted the tweet immediately, offered an apology and has since closed his account. But just like Cole, the damage had already been done.
While Bertrand's irresponsible use of words has been highly scrutinized by the media, the FA has announced that it will not be charging the defender.
However, this doesn't mean Di Matteo has to turn the other cheek.
Having two players display public outbursts is bad enough. But when they're in the span of less than two weeks? Then it's a problem. It not only shows a lack of discipline in the locker room, but also a lack of respect towards the manager.
Even though Bertrand escaped the clutches of the FA, it is imperative for Di Matteo to come down hard on the 23 year old.
All of this has brought Di Matteo to an important crossroads in his career.
He can take the lesser-traveled road and take action, showing the rest of the team that he's to be taken seriously. Or he can take the easier road and let Bertrand slide, sending the message that he's a walkover.
It's a decision that can have a significant impact on the remainder of the season.
What is Di Matteo's best course of action?
You can follow Sebastian on Twitter at @SP7988
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