Written by Alex Baker
Barely 24 hours on from receiving the PFA Young Player of the Year Award, Dele Alli is now facing what could be a season-ending ban for violent conduct.
Replay cameras clearly showed the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder turning and throwing a punch into the mid-rift of West Bromwich Albion’s Claudio Yacob during the two teams 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane on Monday. While it went undetected at the time by referee Mike Jones, the FA is currently reviewing the incident.
Violent conduct incidents such as these are typically punished with a three-match ban. This could mean Alli missing out on Spurs’ three remaining fixtures this season; further compounding the misery for a Tottenham team that saw its slim hopes of overhauling Leicester City in the title race all but evaporate with Monday’s dropped points.
Moments before kickoff, the 20-year-old Alli had paraded his award before the crowd at White Hart Lane.
Alli, who joined Spurs from MK Dons last summer and will represent England at this summer’s Euros, is developing something of a reputation for reacting to provocation.
In January, Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew accused Alli of deliberately stamping on Yohan Cabaye. The following month, in a Europa League clash with Fiorentina, Alli launched a kick at defender Nenad Tomovic.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted that Alli’s growing reputation could make him a target for provocation.
“You know sometimes the opponent tries to find him and to provoke him as they know he has a strong character and can maybe react,” said Pochettino, speaking to The Telegraph. “But I did not see. I don’t know what happened.”
The Alli incident is the latest in a number of high-profile disciplinary issues and talking points regarding referees that we’ve seen in both the EPL and Major League Soccer this season.
The draw for Tottenham puts Leicester City firmly in the driver’s seat for the Premier League title, with the Foxes needing only three points from their remaining three matches.
(Photos courtesy of ISI, BPI, and Joe Toth).