Another match at Hull City, another head-butting incident.
Two weeks after Newcastle manager Alan Pardew head-butted Hull player David Meyler, it appeared as though Manchester City keeper Joe Hart did the same to Hull City's George Boyd after the latter appeared to simulate contact in the box to earn a penalty.
Hart and Hull substitute George Boyd were involved in a furious stand-off in which their foreheads clashed after the home man went down claiming a penalty in Manchester City’s 2-0 win.
Pictures appeared to show spittle coming out of Boyd’s mouth as they angrily confronted each other, though Hart later said he had not been spat at.
Bernstein has more:
Later, with the visitors leading 1-0, Hart unwisely pushed his head towards Boyd after seemingly accusing him of diving in order to win a penalty. The pair ended up leaning their foreheads into each other and engaged in a screaming match.
A Manchester City insider said: "We saw the television pictures and spoke to Joe for clarification on what happened. Joe said he hadn’t touched Boyd and was equally adamant that he wasn’t spat at."
One thing is clear—Hart was incensed. Check out this image, passed along by Squawka Football:
Joe Hart was absolutely livid with that George Boyd dive. pic.twitter.com/ZLzZsElFJX— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 15, 2014
From this view, it certainly seems as though Hart made contact to Boyd's face with his forehead.
It's important to keep in mind that Pardew was banned seven games for his head-butting incident, though Hart likely wouldn't receive that level of ban. For one, Hart appeared to push his head toward Boyd's while screaming at him, not leveling a full-on attempt to bash him with his head.
For another, he's a player, not a manager. Physical scraps between players are common (which isn't to justify them, but the Football Association likely will take that into consideration). Scraps between players and managers, however, are completely inappropriate.
Boyd could also be facing disciplinary action if the FA determines he indeed spit at Hart. The fact that Hart denies such an occurrence happened seems to indicate that any spit flying in any direction was a result of the players screaming at one another, not an intentional act, but the verdict is now in the hands of the FA.
City certainly can't afford to be without Hart. They were already going to be without Vincent Kompany for one game after he was sent off with a straight red versus Hull, but according to Bernstein, he could face further discipline if he indeed made an obscene gesture toward fourth official Anthony Taylor, as has been reported.
With the Citizens chasing Chelsea in the Premier League title race—and Arsenal and Liverpool nipping at the Blues' heels as well—they can't afford to lose their skipper and their first-choice keeper for any duration of time.
They may have beaten Hull on Saturday, but the losses they sustained in the match could ultimately be very costly.