Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic avoids FA charge for head butt on Everton’s James McCarthy

As reported by ITV Football, Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has escaped charge from the FA for violent conduct committed on Everton midfielder James McCarthy.

The Serbian international was seen wrestling the Everton man with his arm around his neck, and appeared to push his head into McCarthy’s while the referee was dealing with a mass melee of players. The incident was reviewed by an independent panel, but was judged to have not been a sending off offence. Chelsea won the game 1-0, following a late goal from winger Willian, which maintain their lead above Manchester City in the table.

Following the game, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho failed to give comments about Ivanovic’s conduct, and has been critical of referees this season, suggesting the Premier League leaders are being unfairly targeted too often. But replays of the head butt do certainly show intent from the Blues right-back. Ivanovic was perhaps fortunate McCarthy made nothing of the contact, as a negative reaction would have gone against the Serbian. But the Republic of Ireland man didn’t go to ground or retaliate, and the incident eventually fizzled on the pitch.

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