Updates from Monday, March 31
Mark Ogden of The Telegraph reports Marouana Fellaini will not be punished in wake of his alleged action:
Mike Keegan of Manchester Evening News reports:
The pair have already entered into some gentle verbal sparring, after Fellaini’s elbow floored Zabaleta during Tuesday’s Manchester derby encounter.
However, extended footage now appears to show Fellaini empty his mouth—intentionally or otherwise—in the direction of the Argentinian. Rich Walters provides a still image of the incident:
Zabaleta had complained of Fellaini’s over-zealous challenge in the aftermath of the match, saying “it was a red card” after being clattered by the Belgian’s elbow, per the Mirror’s David Anderson.
However, Fellaini protested his innocence, claiming he was merely protecting the ball when he aimed his left arm in the direction of his City rival. The Daily Mail’s John Edwards quoted him saying:
I certainly didn't do it on purpose. I put my arm up to try and protect possession of the ball, and Zabaleta bounced (his jaw) against it. He was unlucky to make contact.
The movement by me was not in an aggressive manner. It was a defensive move to protect the ball.
101 Great Goals captured an image of the challenge. Cast your own judgment:
Following confirmation that the FA will investigate the spitting allegation, Fellaini could face at least a three-match ban if found guilty of the offence.
El-Hadji Diouf, back during his Bolton days, received a three-game layoff after he pleaded guilty to spitting at Portsmouth’s Arjan de Zeeuw, per BBC Sport.
It would cap a nightmare first season for Fellaini at United. Following his £27.5 million move from Everton, the midfielder has yet to open his account and was jeered off against City.
David Moyes holds a pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon, when he will no doubt face media questioning on the latest developments surrounding his big-money summer signing.