Eboue hit with three-match ban

Last updated at 17:15 01 March 2007

The problems mounted for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger this afternoon when defender Emmanuel Eboue was handed a three-match ban and he was asked to explain his latest outburst against match officials by the Football Association.

The Gunners boss' tirade over the fallout from the mass brawl which marred

Sunday's Carling Cup final with Chelsea has resulted in him being asked by the

governing body to explain his claim "the whole system is not honest", in

reference to the disciplinary procedures of the FA.

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And his comments that the assistant whom referee Howard Webb consulted before

sending off Adebayor was a "liar" are not being taken likely at Soho Square.

"Questioning the integrity of a match official and accusing them of lying is

a very serious claim to make as it questions the whole integrity of the game,"

said an FA spokesman.

"We also reject any accusations of bias or dishonesty within our disciplinary

system. We will be asking Arsene Wenger to explain these comments."

It is not the first time this season Wenger has put himself in direct conflict

with the powers that be.

A date for his personal hearing into the charge of improper conduct after a

confrontation with referee Steve Bennett at the Emirates Stadium in December is

still not finalised, while the Frenchman was fined £10,000 and warned about his

future conduct for a touchline bust-up with then West Ham manager Alan Pardew at

the end of November's Barclays Premiership game at Upton Park.

This latest incident is also likely to result in a hefty fine, with the

outcome of the charge already on file possibly even resulting in a touchline


The immediate impact of the affair, however, is to rob Wenger of another of

his first-team regulars just when the campaign is entering a crucial stage.

Right-back Eboue, 23, was found guilty of violent conduct, despite denying a

charge of striking Chelsea defender Wayne Bridge during the closing moments of

Sunday's final in Cardiff.

Eboue will now miss Premiership fixtures against Reading on Saturday, at Aston

Villa on March 14 and at Everton four days later.

Centre-half Kolo Toure and striker Emmanuel Adebayor will be available for the

trip to Goodison Park after their suspensions began ahead of last night's FA Cup

tie at Blackburn.

Wenger will at least be able to call on midfielder Cesc Fabregas and defender

Johan Djourou for the visit of the Royals.

However, Tomas Rosicky (groin) and captain Thierry Henry (foot) are still

sidelined, which is of some concern ahead of next week's Champions League tie

against PSV Eindhoven, which Arsenal trail 1-0 after the first leg in Holland.

Abou Diaby (ankle), Justin Hoyte (hamstring) and midfielder Mathieu Flamini

(foot) are also still not match fit.

At least Wenger will have his suspended trio available for the visit of the

Dutch side, as domestic bans do not apply in UEFA competitions.

Gilberto, meanwhile, maintains togetherness will see Arsenal through the most

testing part of their season so far.

Having seen their FA Cup hopes ended at Blackburn, the Gunners return to

Premiership action against Reading on Saturday looking to keep in touch with the

top three, having played two matches fewer than both Liverpool and leaders

Manchester United.

And although their European hopes remain in the balance midfielder Gilberto

knows focus on the pitch is now all that matters.

"The next few days will not be easy for us, especially because we have a few

players out of the team, but we need to handle it," said the Brazilian, captain

last night at Ewood Park.

"We need to change our situation and start to win games again. We have to

stick together as a group, this is an important time for everybody - the

youngsters and the experienced players."

Gilberto, 30, added: "It has been a frustrating few days with defeats in the

two cup matches.

"But we all need to carry on because now we have another tough game against

Reading in the Premiership at home and then next week there is the Champions

League game with PSV.

"We have to put our heads up, but it will be hard because we [only] have a

few days to save the rest of our season."

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