Arsenal winger Alexander Hleb will miss the rest of the Gunners’ season after accepting Wednesday a Football Association (FA) charge of violent conduct.
The 26-year-old Belarus international was involved in an off-the-ball clash with Reading captain Graeme Murty during Arsenal’s 2-0 Premier League win at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Hleb appeared to strike the Royals defender with his open hand, but the incident was missed by referee Peter Walton.
The FA decided to take action after reviewing video footage as the incident was not seen by referee Peter Walton.
Hleb will now miss Arsenal’s Premier League games against Derby, Everton and Sunderland – the only first team games they have to still to play this season following their exits from European and domestic Cup competitions.
His ban is the same Hleb would have received had Walton sent-him off during the game itself.
An FA statement said: “Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb has admitted a charge of violent conduct and will serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect.
“Hleb was charged for his involvement in an incident with Reading defender Graeme Murty during the second half of the match at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday 19 April.
“The incident was not seen by referee Peter Walton. Having now watched video footage of the incident, Walton has informed The FA that, had he seen it at the time, he would have shown Hleb a red card for violent conduct.”
Hleb’s ban is the latest blow to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who, during the past two months, has seen his side’s hopes of Premier League and European Champions League glory evaporate after they had looked well-placed for success.
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