LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05: Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea is spoken to by referee Howard Webb during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on February 5, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
What a shocker. Chelsea right back Branislav Ivanovic has been banned for three matches after the FA dismissed his appeal of a violent conduct charge, which came following an apparent punch of Wigan Athletic midfielder Shaun Maloney during the Wigan-Chelsea match last week. Fortunately, his appeal wasn't considered frivolous by the FA and therefore did not result in another match being added to the ban, but he'll still miss the FA Cup semifinal against Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea's trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal and then the home match against Queens Park Rangers.
That's obviously not good. Consensus around these parts after watching the video of the incident, which appears to show him slugging Maloney in the stomach off the ball, is that the ban's deserved even though the punch came after provocation. Hopefully Jose Bosingwa is up to the challenge of dealing with three straight London derbies. At least Ivanovic will be around to punch Andres Iniesta, right?