Patrick Vieira faces trial by video – and a possible three-match ban – after the Football Association last night charged him with violent conduct for allegedly kicking Stoke City's Glenn Whelan early in Manchester City's 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium on Tuesday night.
Vieira, 33, was five minutes into only his second start for City since signing from Internazionale when he was brought down by Whelan. He aimed a kick at the Stoke midfielder, appearing to catch him in the groin, a reaction that could have left Roberto Mancini's side to play for 85 minutes with 10 men. Despite being spoken to by the Staffordshire referee Alan Wiley, he escaped a yellow card.
Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, did not name Vieira but alluded to the incident when he suggested that the referee should ask the FA to study the evidence. One of his own players, Robert Huth, was suspended for three games after being caught on video punching West Ham United's Matthew Upson in October and Rio Ferdinand was also banned after being spotted retrospectively using an elbow to fell Hull City's Craig Fagan last month.
Vieira is no stranger to the FA's disciplinary regime, having been sent off 10 times and cautioned 100 times during his nine years with Arsenal. He returned to English football last month on a free transfer after four and a half seasons playing in Italy, where he was dismissed on his debut for Juventus in 2005. He was booked on his first appearance for City, at Hull, and again at Stoke following a separate incident.