Cooper charged with violent conduct at Reading
Tuesday, 4th Apr 2017 14:26 by Tim Whelan
Liam Cooper has been charged with alleged violent conduct after an incident in Saturday’s game at Reading.
In the 74th minute of the game at the Majesdki, Cooper’s boot came into contact with Reece Oxford’s head while the Reading man was lying on the floor. Cooper was racing back downfield, after he’d gone up for a set piece and then needed to get back into a defensive position as soon as he could.
The incident wasn’t seen by the match officials at the time but caught on video, and a panel of three former elite referees have now reviewed the footage and concluded that it was a deliberate kick. Cooper has until 6pm today to reply to the charge, should he wish to dispute the ruling that he acted intentionally.
Given that there is still the possibility of an appeal and that the length of suspension has yet to be announced, we can assume that Cooper will be available for tonight’s game at Brentford. But the FA has also said that the standard punishment that would otherwise apply for the misconduct committed by the Leeds defender is ‘clearly insufficient’.
Which suggests that he could be heading for a five game ban, as they made a similar statement before announcing the penalty for Tyrone Ming’s alleged stamp on Ibrahimovic. That case might have set a precedent, although Marcos Rojo was let off in similar circumstances a few weeks later, so perhaps the rules are that you are OK as long as you play for Man United.
My gut feeling at the time was that it was an accident, although on the footage Cooper’s leg does seem to make a bit of a backwards motion once he’s gone past Oxford. After the game Garry Monk said "I've not seen it yet but I know Liam very well and he's 100 per cent not that type of lad. He's not in any way that type of player and, in my opinion, it would definitely be an accident or one that he didn't mean to do."
A few Leeds fans have said that we would benefit from Cooper being suspended, to force Monk to bring Pontus Jansson back into the starting line-up. But we still don’t know why Jansson was dropped to the bench for the last two games (including Saturday, when he was then withdrawn through injury on the morning of the game).
Was his absence just to stop him picking up the two bookings that would take him to 15 for the season and trigger a three match ban? Or is there some other problem behind the scenes? We don’t yet know if he will be facing Brentford, as Garry Monk told the Yorkshire Post yesterday "We'll assess all the players overnight and tomorrow.”
It goes without saying that in the circumstances we could do with getting Pontus Jansson back to full fitness ASAP, though at least we now have the option of playing Luke Ayling in central defence now he’s completed his own ban.
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