Tottenham fans are under investigation for the manner in which they reacted to Theo Walcott's gloating as he was stretchered off the pitch during Arsenal's 2-0 victory over Spurs on Saturday.
After sustaining an injury to his knee that will rule the England international out of action for up to four weeks, Walcott made a 2-0 gesture toward the crowd with his hands.
Portions of the away support at the Emirates Stadium abruptly started showering the forward with coins, a water bottle and other missiles, but referee Mark Clattenburg has also included in his report that chants of "let him die" were heard prior to Walcott's gesture.
That's according to Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail, who adds that the Football Association will now examine video footage of the match in an attempt to identify the offending members of the crowd.
Walcott was defended by his manager Arsene Wenger for the fairly innocent action as he left the pitch. Phil McNulty of BBC Sport reported the Frenchman saying:
I don't think he will be in trouble, he was not aggressive and he was smiling.
The doctor said to me coins had been raining on his head and they had to protect him and that is maybe why he did that.
People will look for every single incident. It is a reaction but he didn't offend anybody.
My response to the suggestion that he could be in trouble is to say the FA will have seen the pictures on television. If they judge it as offensive what can I do?
It's even more worrying that Wenger says the missiles were being thrown prior to any Walcott gesture, in what was a sordid twist to an otherwise entertaining North London derby.
Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph agreed with the Arsenal boss and quotes Jack Wilshere commending his Gunners team-mate:
Walcott almost certain to escape FA charge for 2-0 gesture. Wilshere's verdict? "He's given a bit back. He'll be an Arsenal legend now."— Jeremy Wilson (@JWTelegraph) January 5, 2014
Fans, of course, head to such high-profile matches with the full knowledge that their side may not always triumph, making it difficult to see any sense in how some sections of the Spurs support handled their club's defeat.
Does Walcott deserve punishment for his gesture?
Derbies often see emotions spill onto the pitch, but to go about seeking the harm of an opposition player is somewhat more lamentable than Walcott's harmless gesture. Furthermore, the alleged "let him die" chants are disgusting, if true.
Back in November, BBC Sport reported that Wilshere would serve a two-game ban as a result of a middle-finger sign made toward a section of Manchester City fans, but one could hardly look upon Walcott's as being an equivalent in terms of offence caused, even if it was inflammatory.
Spurs' FA Cup run may have already come to its end, but it is possible that the after-effects may yet be felt as a result of this heated rivalry.
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